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The Nightly Turbo: Iowa Senator Supports Online Poker, Galfond Calls for Change, and More

Phil Galfond

The #StopSOPA protests were in full effect on Wednesday, but PokerNews is still here to bring you the day's biggest headlines. In this edition of the Nightly Turbo, we bring you an Iowa Senator planning to draft an online poker bill, Phil Galfond's suggestions to improve online poker, and more.

In Case You Missed It

Lee Nelson won the 2006 Aussie Millions Main Event, but he's been MIA for much of the past six years. We caught up with Nelson to find out what he's been up to for the latest edition of Where Are They Now.

This week, International Game Technology made a huge bet on the future of online gambling by purchasing Double Down Interactive for $500 million. Inside Gaming has the details on the acquisition of the social gaming giant.

Iowa Lawmaker Pushing for Online Poker Legalization

On Tuesday, Iowa Sen. Jeff Danielson said he intends to draft a bill soon to legalize online poker in the state. Iowa has been one of many states to show support for online poker since the Department of Justice changed its position on the Wire Act of 1961 last month. Iowa lawmakers also commissioned a study last year to determine the practicality and potential income Internet poker could generate for the state.

Danielson added that the DOJ's decision could also allow states like Iowa to join jurisdictions that have already approved the activity. Nevada approved regulations for in intrastate online poker last month, and states like New Jersey and California are likely to follow.

“We believe that because of the Department of Justice ruling, we can now have a multi-state compact,” said Danielson.

Read more at the


Phil Galfond's departure from Blue Fire Poker last month has prompted the high-stakes legend to launch his own blog at Galfond has already been busy; along with a video outlining his plans for the new site, he posted a blog this week that has captured the attention of the poker community.

Titled Let's Make Some Changes, Galfond makes several suggestions regarding the future of online poker. To improve the online games, Galfond says he believes the following goals need to be considered:

  1. Make playing poker an easy and fun experience for both pros and recreational players;
  2. Close loopholes that allow unethical players to gain an advantage over those who choose to be more honest; and
  3. Promote the play of more hands. Galfond then dove into each of the ideas with his own thoughts on how to improve the game.

The blog has been all over Twitter and even got a response from PokerStars:

PokerStars@PhilGalfond Some really great points in that post Phil, thanks for sharing it with us all. Certainly plenty to consider :)

You can find the blog in its entirety at

The Scoop on the TCOOP

In case it slipped your mind, we wanted to remind you that the inaugural Turbo Championship of Online Poker (TCOOP) will hit PokerStars on Thursday, Jan. 19. The series features 50 events, all in a fast-paced turbo structure, with $10 million in guarantees up for grabs.

Players can find buy-ins ranging from $5 all the way up to the $2,000 High Roller. The series begins Thursday at 1200 EST (1700 GMT) with a $22 Six Max NL Hold'em event, and culminates with a $700 Main Event on Sunday, Jan. 29. The flagship event features a $1.5 million guaranteed prize pool with more than $200,000 going to the winner.

The PokerStars Blog's Brad Willis discussed the upcoming series with Team PokerStars Pros Jason Mercier, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, David Williams, Ivan Demidov and Ana Marquez while at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure this month. The story can be found at

For the full TCOOP schedule, visit

Is it Time, Zynga?

Since it first introduced an online poker platform in 2007, Zynga has maintained that it has no interest in going after a real-money space. Zynga Poker manager Lo Toney told PokerNews recently that the company has had its "head down focusing on our existing business model," which is a free-to-play site catering to more than 30 million active users per month.

However, now that the Department of Justice has changed its stance regarding the Wire Act, we have to wonder whether Zynga will perform a flip-flop of its own. According to an article in Forbes, the online gambling market could be worth more than $40 billion by 2014, which could present a major opportunity for Zynga to generate billions of dollars in revenue from its casino games.

Zynga went public last month and has yet to see its stock price climb above its $10 initial public offering price. Could an interest in the real-money online poker market give the stock a significant boost?

Forbes has more.

On Your Bike, Shane Warne!

We're well aware of Tony G's obsession with bikes. So when cricket legend Shane Warne told Nicki Pickering about a run-in he had with a cyclist this week, Tony had an explanation.

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