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The Nightly Turbo: Nikolay Evdakov Passes Away, Viktor Blom's Blog, and More

Viktor Blom

The Nightly Turbo is bringing you the biggest news around the poker world. In this edition, we bring you sad news about the death of high-stakes regular Nikolay Evdakov, a blog from Viktor "Isildur1" Blom, and more.

In Case You Missed It

Poker on television took a big hit after Black Friday. Even so, MMA veteran Blair Thein is attempting to develop a reality TV show that brings together poker, pool and MMA.

Triple Crown winner Jake Cody is a new blogger here at PokerNews. In his first entry, Cody discusses his trip to the World Poker Tour event in Ireland.

Will the ill-advised lending habits of Full Tilt Poker have an effect on the future of loans in the poker world? Rich Ryan gives his take on the matter in the latest Five Thoughts piece.

The World Poker Tour is back this week with the WPT Venice Grand Prix Main Event. Eighty-nine of the 153 runners survived Day 1, and a familiar face emerged as the chip leader.

Vadzim Kursevich won the 2012 European Poker Tour Deauville Main Event. Read about his rocky journey to the top in our final table recap.

Nikolay Evdakov Passes Away

On Tuesday, the poker world was sad to learn that high-stakes poker player Nikolay Evdakov had passed away at 47. Evdakov's death was made public by his wife, Nataliya, who posted the news at Russian poker forum The funeral will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at the Troekurov Cemetery in Moscow.

Evdakov's biggest claim to fame was his record-setting performance at the 2008 World Series of Poker. He cashed 10 times during the series, breaking the record of eight held by Michael Binger, Chad Brown, Phil Hellmuth and Humberto Brenes. Evdakov still holds the record today.

Several of Evdakov's close friends and peers expressed their condolences on Tuesday. For more on the story, check out

Isildur1 Blogs About PCA

It's nice to see Viktor "Isildur1" Blom coming out of his shell a bit more these days. On Monday, the high-stakes superstar posted a rare blog about his experience at the2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, where he took down the $100,000 Super High Roller event for $1.2 million.

Blom, who said he wasn't feeling well upon arriving at the Atlantis Resort, acknowledged that he "ran really well" during the two-day event. When it was over, he went back to his room to sleep, saving the celebration for later in the week.

"When I woke up the next day, I started to feel really good, and the win started to sink in," Blom wrote. "The win feels great. I hope it isn't my last."

We hope this blog isn't his last, either. You can find it at the PokerStars Blog.

Palms Ordered to Pay $18,500 to Michael DeVita

As first reported by QuadJacks on Tuesday, the Nevada Gambling Control Board ordered the Palms Casino Resort to pay $18,500 to Micheal DeVita, the man who had an Epic Poker League Main Event seat stripped from him because he was a registered sex offender.

In September, in light of his criminal past, DeVita was barred from playing in the $20,000 Epic Poker League Main Event that he qualified for and was refunded his $1,500 buy-in for the Pro-Am event. DeVita, however, felt he was still owed the remaining value of the $20,000 seat. He then took the matter up with the Nevada Gambling Control Board on Oct. 4, 2011.

QuadJacks reports that the NGBC ruled in favor of DeVita on Jan. 12, 2012. DeVita said that he drove to Las Vegas Tuesday morning to collect the check from the Palms, which did not appeal the decision.

Read more about this story at

Senator Responds to Online Poker Comments on Facebook

Since Black Friday, the poker community has been active in making its collective voice heard by lawmakers in regard to online poker legislation. On Tuesday, Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) posted a response to the pro-poker comments that he's been receiving on his Facebook wall.

Said Boozman, "Back in June of 2011, I noticed an uptick in posts on my Facebook page from advocates of online poker legislation. From the activity on my Facebook page in the past 24 hours, I can see that it this issue remains a concern to many Americans. I would like to thank you those of you from around the country for sharing your thoughts about this issue with me."

Read Boozman's full response at his Facebook page, and be sure to leave a comment!

888poker Revenues Up 58 Percent

888 Holdings announced Tuesday that its business-to-consumer online poker operation earned $61 million in revenue in 2011, up 58 percent over revenues produced in 2010. For the fourth quarter alone, 888poker's revenue climbed by 76 percent to $19 million, compared to $11 million in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Overall, the firm's revenue for 2011 was up 26 percent to $331 million compared to $262 million in 2010.

“We are delighted with 888′s strong performance over the last year and in particular Q4," said 888 Deputy Chairman Brian Mattingly. "Q4 revenue is the highest on record and represents five consecutive quarters of revenue growth.”

Last month, shares in 888 Holdings rose 11 percent after the company announced a deal with Caesars Interactive Entertainment to supply the gambling giant with an online poker platform. The move could ultimately open the doors for 888 and Caesars to claim a major space in Nevada's online gaming market once their application is approved by state regulators.

Financial Times has more.

Unibet Eyes Australian Market

On Tuesday, Unibet Group announced it has signed an agreement to acquire Australia-based bookmaker Betchoice Corporation Pty Ltd for an initial price of AUD$20.0 million (£13.6 million). The deal, which is subject to approval by Australia’s Northern Territory Racing Commission, will allow Unibet access to the fast growing Australian online market and position it well for the anticipated opening of live betting products in the country at some point in the future.

Unibet says it will rebrand the Betchoice platform to Unibet after a short transition period, and will “invest significantly in improving the Australian product portfolio and in marketing to establish the Unibet brand in the fast growing Australian market.”

“This strategic acquisition gives Unibet immediate access to the regulated Australian market, which is currently open to sports betting and horse racing," said Unibet CEO Henrik Tjärnström.

“We intend to rebrand the business quickly to Unibet. Betchoice already has a strong offering and market position in horse racing and through Kambi, Unibet has the opportunity to enhance the quality and performance of Betchoice’s sports betting offering and so to deliver revenue growth and margin improvements.”


WPT Returns to the Sunshine State

On Friday, Feb. 10, the World Poker Tour returns to theSeminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, for the debut of WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open. The new event features a $3,500 and a re-entry option on Day 1b and is expected to draw many of the game's top talents such as Andy Frankenberger, Jason Mercier and WPT Player of the Year leader Will Failla.

While the event won't be televised on Fox Sports Net, the final table will be streamed online on Tuesday, Feb.14. Tony Dunst and a special guest will provide expert commentary and analysis for viewers. WPT commentator Mike Sexton and the Royal Flush Girls will also be in attendance.

The WPT returns to FSN on Sunday, Feb. 12 with the first of 37 episodes covering Season X. Among the new features viewers can look forward to this season is a Ones to Watch segment, which follows the game’s rising stars both in and out of the poker room. Another new segment, On the Road, will give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of the WPT cast.

The first episode will preview the action from Season X, giving viewers a glimpse of what to expect in the coming months. Here's a sneak peek of the footage with the one and only Doyle Brunson:

Calling the Clock on Luca Pagano

In a special Valentine's Day edition of Calling the Clock, Sarah Grant asks Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano about his love life.

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