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The Nightly Turbo: Phil Galfond's College Years, Zoom Poker's Official Launch, and More

Phil Galfond

Looking for the day's biggest poker stories? You've come to the right place. In this edition of the Nightly Turbo we're bringing you Phil Galfond's latest blog, the official launch of PokerStars' Zoom Poker, and more.

In Case You Missed It

Shaun Deeb has been crushing tournaments during the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker. Rich Ryan discussed that and more in his latest Five Thoughts piece.

Kurt Jewell has been a monster on the World Series of Poker Circuit since the 2010-2011 season. Jewell sat down with Chad Holloway to discuss his recent success.

Fifteen players won PokerStars SCOOP titles on Monday. Martin Harris and Mickey Doft break down all of the winners in the Day 9 SCOOP recap.

Galfond's Early Years

Phil Galfond's introduction to poker certainly doesn't compare to the exhilarating tales of most old-school gamblers, but the high-stakes wizard's ascension to the nosebleed games should still be fascinating to most poker enthusiasts.

On Tuesday, Galfond shared his story in a blog entry titled My Poker (+other) Story. The 5,000-plus word entry includes Galfond's first taste of online poker during college, his decision to drop out of school to become a poker pro, and the surprising relationships he's built because of that decision.

Here's a particularly funny excerpt from the blog:

I’m an introvert, so I enjoy my alone time. Actually, I need my alone time. I like people, sure, but too long in a crowded environment with no chance to get away is debilitating. I need my alone time to reset. My room was poker plus alone time – heaven.

My heaven was part of a three bedroom apartment. I shared it with two girls, one of whom was sure I was gay for the majority of that year. I think it was because I had a small poster on the outside of my door of a cat with a tiara that read “I’m a Princess” (I thought it was funny), and because she never saw me with a girl.

Galfond is a gifted writer and his story will hit home with a lot of poker grinders out there. You can find his blog at

Zoom Poker Launches

PokerStars has officially launched Zoom Poker after a successful beta release that resulted in skyrocketing traffic numbers on the world's leading online poker site.

PokerStars says it dealt more than 300 million hands of the fast-action Zoom Poker during the two month beta phase. Zoom was originally only available for low stakes no-limit hold'em, but it is now available in Omaha, Omaha hi/lo and five-card draw with stakes ranging up to $2.50/5.

“Zoom Poker offers people a different way to play poker," said Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu. "Recreational players, who want more constant action, will be able to fold instantly and wait for better hands, while pro grinders will be able to get in hundreds of more hands an hour and win more. On top of all that, it’s just so much fun to play!”

In addition, Zoom Poker Mobile has been released on the Android platform for players on, and The new Android app also includes scrollable lobby menus to ease navigation, improved search, a new auto-rebuy function, and various other improvements.

For an in-depth look at Zoom Poker, check out Matthew Pitt's review here at

Full Tilt Poker Staffers Decline Tapie's Offer

According to Gaming Intelligence, Full Tilt Poker employees in Dublin have declined an offer from Groupe Bernard Tapie to join a new online poker venture in Paris.

One day after GBT's deal with the U.S. Department of Justice fell through, Laurent Tapie emailed high-ranking FTP staff members with a job offer, according to a report by Diamond Flush Poker. In the email, Tapie laid out plans to write a new poker software platform and relaunch using a new brand.

Apparently, Tapie's offer wasn't tempting enough to lure key FTP employees from company headquarters in Ireland. Gaming Intelligence reports that the employees have been told that the deal with PokerStars is moving forward. PokerStars has remained mum about the deal other than to reiterate that discussions with the DOJ are ongoing.

Read the full story at Gaming Intelligence (paywall warning).

Mizrachi Signs Extension with Breeders' Cup

DeepStacks Pro Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi has renewed his contract with the Breeders' Cup through 2012. "The Grinder" will resume his role in helping raise awareness of the Breeders' Cup within the poker community.

The two-time World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour champ will take part in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and will actively encourage his fellow poker pros to participate in the $10,000 handicapping event. The Breeders’ Cup will take place Nov. 2 through 3 at Santa Anita Park outside of Los Angeles.

“Partnering with the Breeders’ Cup has been amazing" said Mizrachi. "I look forward to fine-tuning my handicapping skills as I prepare for the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge. Check my Twitter and Facebook accounts for updates as I plan to visit a number of tracks throughout the summer.”

As part of his deal last year, Mizrachi hosted the inaugural DeepStacks Poker Tour Breeders’ Cup Celebrity Invitational, which attracted big names like Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, John Racener, David Williams and Karina Jett, as well as NBA players Brian Cardinal, Jermaine Taylor and Carl Landry. The second event will be held later this year.


A Record Made to be Broken?

Is Phil Laak's Guinness World Record for sleep deprivation consecutive hours playing poker in jeopardy? Barry Denson seems to think so.

The Manchester, U.K., native will take a shot at Laak's feat at the G Casino in Manchester beginning on Sunday, July 1, 2012. Denson, an ex-Territorial Army soldier, will attempt to raise money for Help For Heroes, a charity aimed at helping Britain's soldiers that have been wounded since September 11, 2001.

"One of the biggest challenges will be finding enough players to play me," said Denson. "Guinness World Records will only allow other players to play for up to four hours at a time so we need as many players as possible to come along and take part, especially in the early hours or the mornings!"

Laak played 115 straight hours at the Bellagio in Las Vegas in 2010. He could barely put together a sentence by the end of the marathon, as you'll see in this interview with PokerNews' Kristy Arnett.


Illinois Joins Online Poker Race

Illinois made history in March by becoming the first state to offer online lottery tickets on the Internet. Now, legislation has been introduced that could ultimately allow the state to offer other forms of online gambling like poker.

On Tuesday, Senate President John Cullerton proposed an amendment to a bill that would create the division of Internet Gaming within the Illinois Lottery. Illinois officials estimate the state would gain hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue under the new legislation.

Cullerton says that the bill has to be approved by May 31 in order to qualify under legislation pending in the U.S. Senate.

Cullerton's proposal comes nearly five months after the Department of Justice changed its position on the Wire Act of 1961. On Dec. 22, the DOJ released a response to Illinois and New York regarding the Wire Act's effect on intrastate sales of lottery tickets via the Internet. In the memo, the DOJ found that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting.

Reuters has more.

The Return of Durrrr?

Even though he's been playing the biggest games in the world in Macau, Tom Dwan is getting the itch to play online poker again.

During his trip to the Philippines for the Manilla Millions, Dwan told's Tatjana Pasalic that traveling and finding games to play is becoming a grind, and that game selection is proving much more difficult than on the virtual felts. Dwan also discussed U.S. legislation, the Epic Poker League, World Series of Poker bracelet bets, and the downfall of his former employer Full Tilt Poker.

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