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The Nightly Turbo: Maria Ho Re-signs with WinStar, John Duthie Leaves EPT, and More

Maria Ho

The live tournament circuit hit a lull during the holiday season, but poker players are packing their bags this week for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and the World Poker Tour stop in Ireland. While several members of Team PokerNews landed in the Bahamas on Wednesday, a few of us stayed behind to cover the day's biggest stories. In this edition of the Nightly Turbo, we bring you Maria Ho's deal with a casino property, John Duthie's exit from the European Poker Tour, and more.

In Case You Missed It

Ryan Daut won the 2007 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event, but he has since removed himself from the poker spotlight. We caught up with Daut to find out what he's been up to for the latest edition of Where Are They Now.

Are you planning a trip to Deauville, France, for the PokerStars European Poker Tour? Lynn Gilmartin tells you everything you need to know about the city in the latest PokerNews Jet Set.

Casino executives have big plans in store for 2012. Inside Gaming takes a look at some of the changes that have already occurred this month.

Maria Ho Gets Contract Extension

Poker pro Maria Ho has parlayed her 2011 success on the felts into a contract extension with the WinStar World Casino. Ho, who compiled more than $650,000 in live tournament earnings last year, will team up with Greg Raymer to act as a celebrity spokesperson for the WinStar property in Thackerville, Oklahoma.

As part of the deal, Ho will participate in The River Series, which guarantees $3 million plus in prize money, and make multiple appearances at the WinStar World Casino throughout 2012. She will also be featured in commercial spots for The River Series and represent the property in tournaments around the globe.

"I am ecstatic to be back representing WinStar World Casino," Ho told PokerNews. "Over the last year, the players who I have had the chance to meet and play with on property showed me such a good time and possessed such a heartfelt love for the game of poker which really reignited my own passion for the game. Jay Wiles and the entire team at WinStar go out of their way to create a personal experience and a genuine relationship with their players, and that's just one of the reasons I'm so proud to represent them."

You can find more information about WinStar World Casino poker room at

Duthie Says Goodbye to EPT

Just days after his departure from Team PokerStars, John Duthie announced Wednesday that he has given up his role as CEO of the European Poker Tour. Duthie explained in a thread at TwoPlusTwo that he is excited to take on new challenges, especially with the U.S. preparing to open an online poker market in 2012.

"It is time to move on and to leave the EPT in the capable hands of the existing management team," Duthie said. "It has been a fascinating and challenging seven years and I have watched the EPT grow phenomenally in that time, thanks to the support of the players and the professionalism of a great team on the ground."

Duthie founded the EPT in 2004 and helped turn it into Europe's premier poker tour. Now in its eighth season, the EPT rivals some of the biggest tours in the world. The EPT is set to touch down in the Bahamas this week for the always popular PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

Read more about Duthie's exit from the EPT at

France Forces ISPs to Block Unlicensed Gambling Sites

According to a decree published by the French government on Jan. 1, all French Internet service providers (ISPs) must block gamblers from playing on any operators not licensed by the Autorité de Régulation Des Jeux en Ligne (ARJEL).

Effective immediately, all service providers must filter access to certain domains in order to prevent French residents from gambling on blacklisted sites. Several major online poker rooms hold licenses with the ARJEL, including PokerStars, PartyPoker, iPoker, 888, and Everest Poker.

Similar regulations were recently implemented by the Belgian Gaming Commission, which approved PokerStars and two other online poker sites for an operating license. All unauthorized sites, such as PartyPoker and the iPoker Network, will be blocked despite their belief that the new law is "unenforceable."

Read the full story here at

William Hill Study Questions U.K. Tax Proposal

A study commissioned by online bookmaker William Hill has found that U.K. government proposals for a 10 percent "point of consumption" tax on online gambling could result in U.K. gamblers moving to unregulated sites.

William Hill submitted the report to the U.K. Treasury, which is reviewing a new tax regime for remote gambling. Accounting firm Deloitte, which carried out the study, showed that a 10 percent tax could result in as much as 27 percent of current revenues disappearing into unregulated market. Deloitte also suggested that a 15 percent tax could see that figure rise to 40 percent. The report was confidential but was leaked to various U.K. media outlets.

U.K. gamblers currently spend about £1.7 billion per year with online operators and do not pay any tax on gambling winnings.

The Daily Telegraph has more on this story.

Another "Hot" List

We've seen several lists like this before, but Woman Poker Player has unveiled its own version of the 10 Hottest Men in Poker. The criteria for this one: "Talented, sexy, and of course a big bankroll."

Sorry, Jean-Robert.

Among the players included in the list are Patrik Antonius, Dragan Galic, Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Pius Heinz, and even Doyle Brunson. We're not all that surprised — Doyle has always been good with the ladies.

Check out the full list at

Tim Tebow's Name Used in Poker Scam

Using Tim Tebow's name to scam others seems downright sacrilegious. However, that's apparently what one person has been doing this week to promote an alleged charity poker tournament.

Someone behind the Twitter name "BigMoneyPoker" has been tweeting the following message to high-profile poker pros:

"Plz RT to show your support tebow playing poker for @AmericanCancer charity before the main event!"

The idea of Tebow playing a poker tournament seems impractical considering the NFL's policy on gambling. The bonehead behind the "BigMoneyPoker" account should have done research before wasting time with this particular stunt.

The Carbon Poker blog has more.

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