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The Nightly Turbo: MGM CEO on Federal Online Poker, PokerStars Anniversary, and More

The Nightly Turbo

Are you looking for the day's biggest poker stories? Well, you've come to the right place. In this edition of the Nightly Turbo, we bring you comments from MGM and Boyd game about the future of federal online gaming in the U.S., a big celebration coming from PokerStars next month, and more.

In Case You Missed It

Melanie Weisner leads the field after Day 2 of the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour Copenhagen Main Event. Michael Tureniec is also still alive and looking to become the first double winner in EPT history.

Which poker tournaments should you have on your bucket list? Take a look at our top 10 can't miss tournaments during the year.

Matthew Weber won the World Series of Poker Circuit event in Tunica last week. Chad Holloway caught up with Weber to talk about his road to the title and how he got his start in poker.

Just like the rest of our body, our ears are not invincible. Lynn Gilmartin explains why players should be careful with headphones at the poker table.

MGM's Murren Optimistic About Federal Online Poker in 2012

Despite reports that federal online poker has more than likely been shelved until at least 2013, MGM CEO Jim Murren said in a conference call on Wednesday that he believes it will still be legalized at some point this year.

"It's not easy, not because it's a complicated issue," Murren said on the call, according to Reuters. "It's becoming a clearer issue. It's because Washington is becoming more complicated.

"We'll be one of the first horses out of the gate when it's approved."

Meanwhile, MGM's partner, Boyd Gaming, stated during a Q4 earnings call on Wednesday that federal online gaming in the U.S. appears "further off than we hoped," hinting that the joint venture between MGM, Boyd and bwin.party would have to enter the market at a state level first.

"We believe the best approach is for Congress to enact legislation that creates a national, well-regulated environment for Internet gaming," said Boyd Gaming CEO Keith Smart. "And while we believe federal legislation is profitable, we will consider entering the market on a state-by-state basis if that's how the issue plays out. We've already applied for an interactive gaming license in Nevada."

Where does the third component in this joint venture, bwin.party, stand on the issue? We'll be speaking with bwin.party CEO Jim Ryan in the coming days, so stay locked in to PokerNews.com.

Happy Birthday, Sunday Million!

PokerStars is celebrating the sixth anniversary of the Sunday Million on March 11, 2012, and for one-week-only the site has increased the guarantee of its flagship event from $1 million to $6 million, with at least $1 million going to the champion.

The event will kick off at its regular time of 1430 EST (1930 GMT) with a direct buy-in of $215. As always, players can qualify for a seat by using their Frequent Player Points or through a wide variety of reasonably priced satellites. There will also be a special 1,000-seat guaranteed satellite running just before the big Sunday Million kicks off, with feeder satellites starting from only $1.

You can expect to see all of your favorite Team PokerStars Pros participating in the event, including Liv Boeree, Johnny Lodden, Lev Velduis, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and Jason Mercier.

"When I think of the Sunday Million, I think back to being a 19- to 21-year-old kid, grinding mid-stakes, looking for that big tournament score," Mercier said. "I would get excited every week to play the Sunday Million, hoping that would be the day that I would have my first six-figure score."

For more information, check out our story at PokerNews.com.

Duhamel Leads Global Poker Index Player of the Year

Team PokerStars Pro Jonathan Duhamel held the top spot in the Global Poker Index Player of the Year standings again this week. The award, which is presented by PokerNews, honors the player who has the strongest performance in live tournaments during the calendar year, according to the USA Today Global Poker Index point system.

There were no changes in the Top 10 from last week, but there was plenty of movement in the Top 100. Among the biggest climbers were Noah Schwartz (up 36 sports to No. 19), Marko Neumann (up 67 spots to No. 21), Harrison Gimbel (up 113 spots to No. 33) and Barry Greenstein (up 60 spots to No. 49). Gimbel's huge rise came by way of a ninth-place finish at the World Poker Tour Lucky Hearts Poker Open. Schwartz took 18th in that same event.

Here's a look at the Top 10 of the Global Poker Index Player of the Year standings:

Current GPI Player of the Year Top 10

PlacePlayerTotal Score
1Jonathan Duhamel465.55
2Jason Koon284.24
3Ruben Visser258.03
4Sam Chartier244.05
5Faraz Jaka242.17
6Oliver Speidel238.23
7Daniel Chevalier228.35
8Corey Burbick228.03
9Luca Pagano227.52
10Erik Cajelais212.19

For the full GPI Player of the Year standings, head on over to EpicPoker.com.

Keith Ferrera Wins Venetian DeepStacks Extravaganza I

Las Vegas poker pro Keith Ferrera took down the $2,500 Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza I Main Event on Tuesday, earning $139,720 for his three days of work. Ferrera, who was coming off a sixth-place finish at the World Poker Tour Lucky Hearts Poker Open for $42,185, continued his heater this week by besting 254 players at the Venetian, including a final table that featured Will "The Thrill" Failla, Francois Safiedinne and Paul Lieu.

Here's a look at the final results from the Venetian:

Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza 1 Final Table Results

1Keith Ferrera$139,720
2John Taitt$86,161
3Kenneth Auker$58,217
4Will "The Thrill" Failla$41,334
5Kenny Shih$32,019
6Francois Safieddine$26,198
7Paul Lieu$21,831
8Hasan Aslanai$18,338
9Guy Maxtone Graham$15,136

WPT Heads to Los Angeles

The World Poker Tour heads to the City of Angels this week for the Los Angeles Poker Classic at the renowned Commerce Casino. The $10,000 Main Event gets under way on Friday, Feb. 24, and will play down to a champion on Wednesday, Feb. 29.

Last year, Greg Brooks burst onto the live tournament scene by outlasting 681 players to win the LAPC Main Event for $1,654,120. Brooks bested a loaded final table that featured Carlos Mortensen, Steve Gross, Vivek Rajkumar, Amir Lehavot and Daryll Fish.

Other winners of the prestigious event includePhil Ivey, Alan Goehring, Michael Mizrachi, Antonio Esfandiari and Gus Hansen.

Stay tuned to PokerNews.com as we bring you recaps from each day of the LAPC. For more information about the event, check out the World Poker Tour Blog.

Get Hog Wild

If you live in the U.S. and are looking for a way to qualify online for the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event, HogWildPokerLeagues.com is giving away a free $13,000 package at the end of May. And all you have to do is compete in Hog Wild's Staking Series.

"Players in our leagues love the fact that their game improves rapidly when they compete in our league format," says HogWild CEO Jeff Amrein. "Along the way almost every player has a dream to be staked as a pro and we wanted to give many players that experience, rewarding them for their demonstrated skill over multiple games. Nearly 50 players will live that chance in the next three months thanks to this series."

Read more about Hog Wild Poker in the press release.

Atlantis Internet Group Launches First Legal Intranet Gaming Platform

On Wednesday, the Atlantis Internet Group Corp. (ATIG), a Nevada-based gaming innovator, announced the launch of the first form of legal Intranet gaming within the United States.

The Coushatta Casino Resort in Louisiana and Coyote Valley Casino in California became the first two Indian casinos to sign with ATIG’s Tribal Gaming Network, allowing ATIG to pioneer intrastate poker.

"We have a huge leg up on the competition, having mastered play-for-fun marketing sites since 2003,” said ATIG President and CEO Donald L. Bailey. “Now, based on the NIGC opinion, to date ATIG is the only gaming company that can legally offer online linking games other than bingo, nationwide for live cash, such as poker and progressive jackpots. This is a new technology that has never been offered in the gaming Industry before today."

Read more at PokerNews.com.

Daniel's Weekly Rant

You probably saw Daniel Negreanu's first video blog about Jason Somerville and the Full Tilt Poker board members. If you haven't you'll definitely want to check it out.

On Wednesday, Daniel released his second video blog, discussing topics such as his deep run at theLAPT Grand Final, Doyle Brunson defending Howard Lederer, and more.

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