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The Weekly Turbo: Full Tilt Prepares for Relaunch, Poker Hall of Fame Finalists, & More

Weekly Turbo

Did you miss any of the top poker news stories this week? Well you've come to the right place to get caught up. We're covering the latest in Full Tilt Poker's relaunch efforts, the 10 finalists for the 2012 Poker Hall of Fame, and more.

Poker Business

Preparing For (Re)Launch

With the official relaunch of Full Tilt Poker less than two months away, the company is now looking for a number of new employees to fill its marketing and information technology departments.

Rational FT Services, which provides technology, marketing and comprehensive consulting services for Full Tilt Poker, is seeking "talented professionals for a range of jobs in areas including information technology, marketing, design, customer support, finance and administration." Nearly a dozen job listings have been posted, all of which will require relocation to FTP headquarters in Ireland.

"As a member of one of our specialist teams, you’ll have the opportunity to work in a fast-paced environment alongside some of the industry’s most experienced innovators and visionaries," the listing says.

According to members of the online poker community, Full Tilt Poker has been also sending emails to customers requesting ID verification ahead of the site's upcoming relaunch.

Customers have been asked to send in photo identification and address verification in accordance with the "anticipated Isle of Man regulatory requirements." According to the email, once Full Tilt Poker's relaunch is complete and players have provided the necessary documents, they will have unrestricted access to their account, including all cashier functionality and poker games.

The emails are totally legit and have been confirmed by Shyam Markus, Poker Room Manager at Full Tilt Poker. So far, it seems that only a small percentage of Full Tilt Poker customers have been notified, but the wheels are certainly in motion in order for the site to open its doors by Nov. 6, 2012, as promised.

More info can be found at

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.

Justice Department Issues Second Amended Complaint

On Monday, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a second amended civil complaint in the case involving =poker indictments filed on April 15, 2011.

The amended complaint introduces new forfeiture charges against Howard Lederer, alleging he purchased assets with “illegal proceeds” from Full Tilt Poker. Records indicate that Lederer used illegal funds for retirement funds, mortgage payments, property taxes, and to purchase numerous vehicles, including a 2008 Maserati GranTurismo, 2008 Audi Q7, and a 2012 Audi A8L, which was purchased on or about June 30, 2011 — two and a half weeks after Black Friday.

Because the listed expenditures can be traced to an “illegal enterprise,” the Department of Justice is seeking forfeiture of $42.5 million from Lederer. Forfeitures have also been listed for former FTP board members Chris Ferguson ($42 million), Ray Bitar ($40.8 million) and Rafe Furst $40.8 million).

In addition, the second amended complaint added the Travel Act 18 U.S.C. § 1952 as a Federal criminal statute in support of their forfeiture request. The Travel Act essentially forbids the use of “interstate and foreign travel of transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises.” The inclusion of the Travel Act gives the DOJ another statute to rely on in addition to the IGBA and Wire Act.

Read more in the story here at

Venetian Opens New Poker Room

The Venetian Las Vegas has officially launched the largest poker room on the Las Vegas Strip. The brand new Sands Poker Room at The Venetian boasts 59 tables across a plush 14,000 square feet of space, giving poker players one of the best atmospheres in all of Las Vegas to play their favorites games.

“The new Sands Poker Room at The Venetian is a player’s room in every way,” said Kathy Raymond, Venetian executive director of poker operations. “We have carefully integrated new poker room features and services — keeping poker player needs front-of-mind. We believe that the atmosphere and addition of innovative and value-centered promotions and tournaments will give players of all levels a poker experience like no other.”

As part of the grand opening, the Venetian is offering a number of new promotions. From 10 to 11 a.m. and from 5 to 6 p.m., every Sunday through Thursday, the Venetian Happy Hour program allows players to take advantage of rake-free play at the tables. And beginning Sept. 17, the poker room will infuse “Bad Beat” Jackpots into the daily schedule.

Additional promotions will be announced later this month, along with full details of the celebratory Grand Opening Event. See the Sand Poker Room website for more details.

Poker Players

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

Tony G Invests in Jungleman

On Tuesday, Tony wrote in his blog that he will be fronting Cates' buy-ins for live and online tournaments and cash games. Cates has reportedly won more than $6 million playing online poker in his brief career and is considered among the best heads-up no-limit cash-game players in the world.

"I think this guy could turn $5 million into $100 million — he’s a genius," Tony wrote. "I started off by backing him for the WPT Grand Prix de Paris and intend to back him live but predominantly online."

Read Tony's blog in its entirety at

Poker Tournaments

Au Revoir, Partouche

The Partouche Poker Tour crowned its final champion last Sunday. Three days after CEO Patrick Partouche announced the end of the series due to a controversy involving the prize pool, Germany's Ole Schemion took down the €8,500 Main Event for €1,172,850.

Schemion outlasted a field of 489 players, including a tough group of players at the final table. Poker pros Dan O’Brien and Aaron Lim finished in fourth and third place, respectively, leaving Ole Schemion heads-up with Karen Sarkisyan. Schemion held a 13.5 million to 3.5 million chip advantage when the match began, and it was over after just 20 minutes. On the final hand of the match, Sarkisyan was all-in with {A-Hearts}{9-Clubs} on a {7-Hearts}{8-Hearts}{9-Hearts}{6-Clubs} board against Schemion's {K-Hearts}{2-Hearts}. Schemion's king-high flush held up on the river and he claimed the honor of being the last winner in the tour's history.

With the victory, Schemion joins Alain Roy, Jean-Paul Pasqualini, Vanessa Selbst, and Sam Trickett as Main Event winners of one of France's most popular poker tournaments over the past five years. Unfortunately, the circuit now bids adieu to the Partouche Poker Tour.

Here's a look at the final table results of the final Partouche Poker Tour Main Event:

1Ole Schemion€1,172,850
2Karen Sarkisyan€693,494
3Aaron Lim€417,499
4Daniel O’Brien€341,991
5Marcello Marigliano€267,492
6Fabrice Touil€223,498

Get more details from the final table at the Partouche Poker Tour website.

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 Legislation

Summary of Federal Online Poker Bill

A summary of a federal online gaming bill put forth by Sens. Harry Reid and Jon Kyl has been circulating through the online poker community this week. The bill, entitled the Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2012, calls for a restriction of most forms of online gambling, with the exception of online poker.

The Reid/Kyl bill would look to modify the 1961 Wire Act and the 1970 Illegal Gambling Business Act so that they "clearly apply to modern technologies and to all forms of unlicensed Internet gambling.” However, the measure would permit licensed online poker, in addition to off-track horse-race wagering and online lottery tickets.

Should the bill become a law, it would take a minimum of 15 months before an online poker market would be open in the U.S. The activity would be allowed only in states or on tribal lands that opt in to the law. A tribe can only opt in if the state in which it resides also opts in.

Despite recent optimism about the prospect of a federal online poker bill, the future of the measure was threatened this week because of a heated conflict between Reid and Senator Dean Heller, who has been working with Kyl to coax Republican leaders and GOP senators into supporting the bill. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Reid had given Heller a deadline of Sept. 10 to secure the 60-vote majority in the Senate to move the bill through Congress before it recesses in November. Heller responded by saying that it would be beneficial for the House of Representatives to first address this issue. Kyl sided with Heller, and questioned Reid's motives in creating the deadline.

For a closer look at the bill, read the summary right here at

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