The Nightly Turbo: Mercier Tops ESPN's The Nuts, Spain Awards eGaming Licenses, and More

Jason Mercier

While the World Series of Poker is going strong in Las Vegas, Spain is gearing up for a brand new regulated online gambling market this week. We'll have that story, plus the latest edition of ESPN's The Nuts, right here in the Nightly Turbo.

In Case You Missed It

Poker pros Leif Force and Cory Zeidman won bracelets on Thursday, and Daniel Negreanu reached his first final table of the World Series of Poker. Get the details on all of Thursday's events in our daily WSOP recap.

Which story lines should you be watching for at the WSOP on Thursday? Read about them in the latest WSOP What to Watch For.

Marvin Rettenmaier's recent success pushed him into the Top 10 of the Global Poker Index this week. Mickey Doft takes a look at the biggest movers and shakers in the GPI ranking.

How was the high-stakes action at the PokerStars tables this week? Read the Online Railbird Report to find out the week's biggest winners and losers.

Jason Koon finished runner-up in the $3,000 Heads Up No-limit Hold'em/Pot-limit Omaha event on Thursday. Before his final match, Koon sat down with Kristy Arnett to discuss heads-up play, diet and exercise during the WSOP for the Strategy with Kristy podcast.

Looking for a fun, behind-the-scenes perspective of life at the WSOP? The Muck is providing several daily stories from inside the Rio, so check it out!

ESPN's The Nuts

The latest edition of ESPN's The Nuts has been released. The monthly blog post ranks the best poker players in the world at the moment. The 10-person panel includes Elaine Chaivarlis, PokerNews' editor in chief; Don Peters, PokerNews' tournament reporting manager; and ESPN's Andrew Feldman, Gary Wise, and Bernard Lee, among others.

Jason Mercier held the top spot in the rankings for the 12th consecutive month, receiving six of the 10 first-place votes from the panel. Phil Ivey collected the other four first place votes and landed at No. 2 in the monthly rankings. Team PokerStars Pros Jonathan Duhamel, Vanessa Selbst and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier rounded out the top five, respectively.

Fellow Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu cracked the top 10 again this month, occupying the No. 9 spot in the rankings. Negreanu had a brilliant run at the PokerStars Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final, making two final tables and cashing for close to $1.2 million. Negreanu made the final table of Event No. 5 at the WSOP on Thursday, and a bracelet could certainly help vault him into the top five of next month's ESPN rankings.

Steve O'Dwyer entered the top 10 for the first time this month, landing at No. 6 after a fifth place finish at the WPT Championship for $192,176. O'Dwyer has made seven final tables in 2012 and has more than $2 million in tournament earnings leaving the U.S. on Black Friday.

If you want to find out what the rest of the list looks, check it out at

Licensed and Ready to Roll

Online poker in Spain will have a completely new look starting this month. On Friday, we began to see how the new regulated online gambling space is going to take shape.

PokerStars, and 888 were among more than a dozen companies awarded operating licenses on Friday. Under the new gambling guidelines, all licensed operators will be permitted offer legal online gambling under a "dot-es" domain. The online poker player pool will segregated initially, meaning players in Spain may only play against other residents of the country.

"We are happy to confirm that PokerStars was today granted a license to operate in Spain and we plan to launch on June 5,"said PokerStars spokesman Eric Hollreiser. "For now, Spanish players can continue to compete on as normal and don’t need to take any action.

"As always, PokerStars is committed to providing players with a superior customer service, software and security. You can rest assured that your funds in this transition are totally safe and available. We will provide more details on the transition next week."

The Spanish Gambling Commission has not provided a list of licensed operators, but Ladbrokes, Betfair, Codere, Cirsa, Jaxx, bet365 and Sportingbet are among the companies that have confirmed their license approvals.

For more, read our story here at

The Revolution is Now

On Thursday, Lock Poker officially exited the Merge Gaming Network and combined with the Cake Poker Network to launch the Revolution Gaming Network. Lock purchased Cake earlier this year to create a new network aimed at "driving technology, marketing, player rewards and implementing a richer tournament schedule."

Lock Poker players had smooth transition to the new network when it opened. The new software was available on May 31, and players' real-money balances and VIP points were left right where they left them in the Lock Cashier.

As expected, the shift to the newly rebranded network had a considerable impact on the traffic at Merge on Thursday. Lock Poker was the largest skin on the Merge Network, accounting for 40 percent of Merge's traffic. At one point on Friday, Revolution had more real-money players than Merge, according to tracking site

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JRB vs. E-Fro

Jean Robert-Bellande and Eric Froehlich were seated at the same table during Thursday's $5,000 Mixed-Max event at the WSOP. Kristy Arnett pitted the two poker pros against each other in the latest edition of Versus.

Follow PokerNews on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news.

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