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The Nightly Turbo: Jamie Gold Poker Room Closes, David Benyamine Joins ISPT, and More

Jamie Gold

Seven months after its flashy opening in Las Vegas, the Jamie Gold Poker Room is closed for business. We'll bring you that story, plus the latest ambassador for the ISPT, in this edition of the Nightly Turbo.

In Case You Missed It

Day 2 of the 2012 World Poker Tour Grand Prix de Paris wrapped up Wednesday evening. Philipp Gruissem leads the way, but the field is still stacked with well-known pros.

Kyle Cartwright recently tied Mark “Pegasus” Smith by winning his fifth WSOP Circuit ring. Cartwright spoke with PokerNews about his journey to the top of the record books.

How did Team PokerStars Online member Mickey Petersen get the nickname "mement_mori"? Find out that in more in the latest Q+A with hosts of the World Championship of Online Poker.

Did you miss ESPN's coverage of the World Series of Poker on Tuesday night? Get caught up in our weekly recap.

Gold Room Closes

Less than seven months after its grand opening, Tropicana Las Vegas has pulled the plug on the poker room named after 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event champ Jamie Gold.

"As part of our continuing transformation of Tropicana Las Vegas, we have decided to close our poker room in order to move forward with our construction plans for that section of our property," the casino said in a statement on Tuesday. "The hard work by our outstanding team members in the poker room has not gone unnoticed and we are currently seeking alternative opportunities for them at Tropicana Las Vegas."

The Tropicana closed its poker room in 2008 but re-opened its doors in April 2011. Late last year, it hired Gold to be its poker spokesperson and ambassador and named the room after him. Gold made regular appearances at the room to play cash games and tournaments.

The casino hasn't said what it plans to do with the space previously occupied by the poker room.

Read more at the Las Vegas Journal-Review.

ISPT Gets Stronger

The International Stadiums Poker Tour (ISPT) has added another superstar to its growing list of ambassadors, announcing this week that David Benyamine is endorsing the Europe-based tour. Benyamine joins Sam Trickett, Michael Mizrachi, Patrik Antonius and Liz Lieu as reps for the ISPT, which is set to kick off next May at Wembley Stadium in London.

Benyamine is known best as a cash-game specialist but has also enjoyed success in tournaments, cashing for more than $6.3 million around the world. He has wins at the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour, and is a European Poker Tour win shy of the Poker Triple Crown.

Benyamine, Antonius and Lieu were donning ISPT patches during the Partouche Poker Tour last week. The ISPT team was on hand to shoot a promo with its newest recruits.

For more info about the International Stadiums Poker Tour, visit

Poker Hall of Fame Finalists

On Wednesday, the World Series of Poker announced the 10 finalists for the 2012 Poker Hall of Fame. The finalists were chosen via a public nomination process on, and it will now be up to the current Hall of Famers and a panel of media members to select new members for induction next month during the WSOP Main Event final table festivities.

Here's a look at the finalists:

  • Chris Bjorin
  • David Chiu
  • Eric Drache
  • Thor Hansen
  • George Hardie
  • Jennifer Harman-Traniello
  • John Juanda
  • Tom McEvoy
  • Scotty Nguyen
  • Brian "Sailor" Roberts

Up to two of the aforementioned nominees will join an elite list of Hall of Famers like Johnny Moss, Puggy Pearson, Doyle Brunson, Jack Strauss, Benny Binion, David “Chip” Reese, Thomas Austin “Amarillo Slim” Preston, Stu Ungar, and Phil Hellmuth. Last year, Barry Greenstein and Linda Johnson were added to the prestigious club.

For more info on each nominee, read the story here at

Dan Smith Still Leads Global Poker Index Player of the Year Race

There were no changes atop the Global Poker Index Player of the Year standings this week, meaning Dan Smith maintained the top spot for the fourth consecutive week.

Smith, who has five major wins on the tournament circuit this year, added another nice score to his résumé last week when he finished seventh in the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event. Because that score hasn't yet applied to his GPI POY total, he'll likely extend his lead over Marvin Rettenmaier even further next week. Smith has more than $3.5 million in live tournament winnings in 2012 alone.

Among the big movers outside of the Top 10 this week was David Sands, who climbed 17 spots to No. 34 after a deep run at the WinStar World Casino River Poker Series Main Event. Joe Kuether also had a nice finish in that event and jumped 39 spots to No. 74 in the rankings this week. Kuether has flown under the radar despite winning four tournaments in the circuit this year.

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

PlacePlayerTotal ScoreChange in Rank
1Dan Smith879.44--
2Marvin Rettenmaier802.42--
3Jonathan Duhamel741.24--
4David Baker715.91--
5Andrew Lichtenberger713.68--
6Phil Ivey713.44--
7Daniel Negreanu661.97--
8Erik Cajelais639.54--
9Kyle Julius637.63--
10Jason Koon604.14

The Global Poker Index Player of the Year, 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.

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

PokerStars Macau Poker Cup Championship

The 2012 Macau Poker Cup Championship Main Event kicked off Wednesday at the Grand Waldo Entertainment Complex. Eighty-nine players ponied up the HKD$20,000 entry fee on the first of two Day 1 flights, and after six levels only 40 managed to advance to Day 2.

Among the notables taking part in the event on Day 1a were 10-time WSOP bracelet winner Johnny Chan and David Steicke, who won a preliminary event at the Macau Poker Cup Championship earlier this week. Steicke's shot at another title ended when we was all in with top pair against the flush draw and two over cards of Hoi Ting "Edmund" Lee. The river brought Lee his flush and sent Steicke packing. Chan was also eliminated on Day 1.

Lee ended the day as the leader with 119,175 in chips. Aimin Zhang was the only other player to hit the six-figure mark on Day 1a (101,500). Others taking nice stacks into Day 2 include Lei Zhang (76,350), Sparrow Cheung (73,925) and the 2011 Asia Player of the Year Hung-Sheng "Shaq" Lin (60,500).

Here's a look at the leaders after Day 1a:

1Hoi Ting "Edmund" Lee119,175
2Aimin Zhang101,500
3Rui Chen82,975
4Lei Zhang Zhang76,350
5Jeppe Drivsholm75,900
6Sparrow Cheung73,925
7Xibo Hu73,725
8Ryan Hong70,000
9Marius Le Roux68,675
10Brian Pearson67,325

For live updates from the 2012 Macau Poker Cup Championship, visit the PokerStars Blog.

Calling the Clock on Theo Jorgensen

Team PokerStars Pro Theo Jorgensen is working toward winning his second title at the World Poker Tour Grand Prix de Paris Main Event. But during a break on Day 2, Kristy Arnett put him on the spot by asking him rapid-fire questions for another edition of Calling the Clock.

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

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