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The Nightly Turbo: Blom Versus Haxton Part II, U.K. Firm Interested in FTP, and More

Viktor Blom

As you probably know by now, Full Tilt Poker board member Ray Bitar broke his silence on Tuesday. Unfortunately, Daniel Negreanu was already putting the final touches on his weekly video blog, so we'll have to wait a week to hear Kid Poker's take on that. In this edition of the Nightly Turbo, we're bringing you this week's rant from Negreanu, a rematch in the PokerStars SuperStar Showdown, and more.

In Case You Missed It

Day 1b of the 2012 World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event concluded on Tuesday. Micheal Mizrachi was among the Shooting Stars who finished near the top of the leaderboard.

According to New Jersey Sen. Ray Lesniak, legislation to allow for Internet gambling to be approved by both houses of the state legislature later this month. In an exclusive interview with PokerNews, Lesniak said the approval should lead to online poker being played in New Jersey by Sept. 1.

Jonathan Duhamel remained on top of the Global Poker Index Player of the Year standings this week. While Duhamel maintained his big lead, Noah Schwartz climbed into second and made up some room on the Team PokerStars Pro.

Do you like to travel around the world for poker tournaments? Lynn Gilmartin explains why you should take advantage of frequent flyer programs in the latest PokerNews Jet Set.

Another Interested Buyer?

According to the iGaming Post, three reliable sources have confirmed that a U.K. private-equity firm may be interested in purchasing Full Tilt Poker's software if the pending deal with Groupe Bernard Tapie falls through.

The poker community learned about GBT last September, and the French investment firm has since been working on a deal to purchase the embattled online poker room. Several obstacles have caused a delay in a potential agreement, and many insiders are wary of Tapie's intentions.

The iGaming Post reports that the U.K. firm is reportedly willing to offer between $30 to $35 million for Full Tilt Poker's software. That money would then be deposited in a neutral account for administrators of the company to distribute to creditors of FTP, according to sources.


PokerStars SuperStar Showdown Rematch

In December 2010, before he was even revealed to be Isildur1, PokerStars Pro Viktor Blom faced off against Isaac "philivey2694" Haxton in the very first Superstar Showdown on PokerStars. Railbirds of all nationalities and bankroll sizes flocked to the tables and watched as Haxton took Blom for $41,701 over the course of their 2,500-hand match across four $50/100 no-limit hold'em tables.

On Sunday, March 11, Blom will get a change to avenge his loss. Blom and Haxton are set to play another 2,500-hand match, but this time the stakes have been raised to $100/200. And now, Blom goes in gleaming with confidence having won eight of his last 10 SuperStar Showdowns.

SuperStar Showdown Breakdown

Dec. 19, 2010Isaac "philivey2694" Haxton-$41,7010-1
Jan. 2, 2011Antanas “Tony G” Guoga+$44,2801-1
Jan. 30, 2011Daniel “w00ki3z” Cates+$51,1962-1
Feb. 13, 2011Eugene “MyRabbiFoo” Katchalov+$111,7503-1
Feb. 27, 2011Attila “DodgyFish72” Gulcsik+$104-1
March 20, 2011Daniel “KidPoker” Negreanu+$150,0005-1
March 27, 2011Daniel “KidPoker” Negreanu-$26,5005-2
April 3, 2011Scott “urnotindangr” Palmer-$5,4255-3
April 10, 2011Scott “urnotindangr” Palmer+$66,6076-3
April 24, 2011"Mastermixus"+$1,2797-3
June 19, 2011Rui "PepperoniF" Cao+$150,0008-3

Total SuperStar Showdown Profit: $501,496

Can Haxton cool the Swede's heater? You can watch on PokerStars starting at 1200 ET (1700 GMT) on Sunday. For more information, visit the PokerStars Blog.

Ray Bitar Speaks

Nearly 11 months after being indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on Black Friday, Tiltware CEO and Full Tilt Poker board member Ray Bitar finally broke his silence in an interview with PokerStrategy on Tuesday.

Bitar requested that the interview be focused on his apology to all those affected by the events of Black Friday, but he also touched on the repayment of players and his dealings with the Department of Justice.

“I have been fully dedicated to this cause and am doing everything possible for a beneficial outcome,” he told PokerStrategy.

"As a manager of Tiltware, I have been cooperating fully with the DOJ so they can complete their investigation," Bitar continued. "Beyond that, I spend a good deal of my time making sure that FTP survives and that the players get repaid. I know that these events have hurt a lot of innocent people and it’s my main job to make things right. I continue to work on these issues, day and night until we resolve them."

For a closer look at the interview, plus comments from Groupe Bernard Tapie lawyer Behnam Dayanim about the pending FTP/GBT deal, check out the story at

Truly a Premier League

As if Erik Seidel, Patrik Antonius, Vanessa Selbst, Luke "Full Flush" Schwartz and Tony G didn't already provide enough star power, PartyPoker announced on Wednesday that Tom Dwan, Phil Laak and Dan "Jungleman" Cates have been added to the $125,000 buy-in Premier League Poker V Main Event from April 4 through 10 in Vienna, Austria.

The 16-player event is part of the World Poker Tour Vienna festivities and will award the winner with a massive top prize plus entry into the $25,000 WPT World Championship at Bellagio. The event will showcase the customary Premier League format, with the top three point earners from each eight-player group advancing to the final table, and the fourth and fifth seeds in each group squaring off in a series of heads-up matches for seats at the eight-handed finale.

“The Big Game, Premier League, and a WPT event all in one place and all at one time? Vienna here we come,” Laak told the PartyPoker Blog. “The Big Game is a 48-hour cash game you say? Well then, I had better stay up for two days before we get started — otherwise it just wouldn’t be fair.”

Read more on the story at

Shooting Stars vs. Business Stars

While Michael Mizrachi and other Shooting Stars were playing Day 1b of the World Poker Tour event at Bay 101 on Tuesday, several players participated in the second annual Silicon Valley Poker Challenge. The event pitted executives at companies like Intel, LinkedIn and Oracle against top poker pros in a charity tournament at the Bay 101 casino.

Poker pros like Daniel Negreanu, Liv Boeree, Dywte Pilgrim and Will Failla busted from Day 1a of the Bay 101 Shooting Star event and were invited to play in the charity tournament, which was emceed by Phil Hellmuth.

With several Silicon Valley higher-ups in attendance, the Bay 101 Casino raised more than $30,000 throughout the night for WPT Foundation, the new philanthropic organization created by World Poker Tour.

The event was won by CrowdFlower's Rich Arnold, who defeated poker pro Darren Elias for the title. Last year, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Jack Tretton won the inaugural Silicon Valley Poker Challenge, giving the Silicon Valley execs two straight years of bragging rights over the poker pros.

The official launch of the WPT Foundation's new philanthropic poker series will be on Sunday, March 11, at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. Check out the WPT Foundation website for more information.

Daniel's Weekly Rant

Daniel Negreanu was back with another video blog on Wednesday, and with a new HD camera to boot! This week, Daniel talks about Epic Poker, Jean Robert Bellande, Phil Ivey, and his new reality TV crush.

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