WSOP 2018
2018 World Series of Poker

The Nightly Turbo: Octo-Niners Hire Poker Coaches, Full Tilt's FTOPS Returns, and More

Russell Thomas

Were you excited about the relaunch of Full Tilt Poker before this week? If so, you'll love the news released on Monday and Tuesday. We'll bring you that, plus October Niners preparing for the WSOP Main Event final table, in this edition of the Nightly Turbo.

In Case You Missed It

Would the federal online poker bill introduced by Senators Harry Reid and Jon Kyl be the best option for poker players in the U.S.? PokerNews' Matthew Kredell gives his take.

On Tuesday, Full Tilt Poker announced that it has received an operating license in the Isle of Man. Read the full story here at

What steps did Full Tilt Poker need to take before it received its Isle of Man gaming license? PokerNews' Rich Ryan spoke with Gambling Supervision Commission CEO Steve Brennan to find out that and more.

Dan Heimiller won the 2012-13 World Series of Poker Circuit Horseshoe Southern Indiana Main Event on Monday. Read about his road to victory in our WSOPC recap.

Many pros had success during the side events at EPT Sanremo. Chad Holloway takes a look at all of the winners.

Russell Thomas Hires Somerville

Since the inception of the November Nine in 2008, we've heard many stories about the training and studying players have done in the months leading up to the World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table. Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu and other high-profile players have even been hired as coaches for November Niners.

This year is no different. Chip leader Jesse Sylvia told the PokerNews Podcast crew last week that he's hired Vanessa Selbst to give him pointers ahead of the final table. And on Tuesday, we learned that Russell Thomas has appointed Jason Somerville as his October Nine coach.

To make the experience more memorable, Somerville is filming the entire process and sharing it with the poker community. Said Somerville via Twitter, "I've spent more time on this project than anything else I've ever done and I'm really proud of it. My sincere thanks to all who've contributed!"

Thomas will enter the final table fourth in chips with 24.8 million. Here's a look at Part I of his training process with Somerville and others:

FTOPS XXI Coming in December

With an operating license in its pocket and a relaunch set for Nov. 6, Full Tilt Poker is gearing up for the next edition of the popular Full Tilt Online Poker Series (FTOPS) in December.

According to FTP poker room manager Shyam Markus, FTOPS XXI is scheduled to run from Dec. 2 through 16. The quarterly series became a staple on the poker site's annual calendar and the company is wasting little time in restoring it to the schedule.

The official slate of events for FTOPS XXI hasn't been announced, but players can likely expect a similar variation of games and buy-in, as well as the flagship Main Event to round out the series. Earlier this year, more than $9 million was awarded in the $640 buy-in FTOPS IX Main Event alone, with Blair Hinkle collecting the largest share ($1.1 million) after negotiating a deal at the final table. The most recent series, FTOPS XX, ran post-Black Friday and saw much small prize pools because of the absence of U.S. players.

For more information on the relaunch of Full Tilt Poker, visit Shyam Markus' thread at

ESPN's The Nuts

The latest edition of ESPN's The Nuts was released on Tuesday. 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.

Phil Ivey maintained the top spot again this month, but his reign is being threatened by the game's all-time WSOP bracelet leader. Phil Hellmuth won his 13th bracelet at the WSOP Europe Main Event last week, giving him two bracelets in 2012 and an excellent shot at WSOP Player of the Year. Hellmuth received two first-place votes from The Nuts' panel; Phil Ivey received seven, and Jason Mercier earned one after his victory in the $10,300 WCOOP 8-Game Championship at PokerStars last month.

Antonio Esfandiari climbed into the top 10 this month following his own second bracelet win of 2012. Esfandiari sits at No. 6 in the rankings after winning the € 1,100 re-entry event at the WSOP Europe. Esfandiari won the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop this summer for $18 million, making him the game's all-time tournament money winner.

Here's a look at the top 10 for October.

1Phil Ivey
2Jason Mercier
3Phil Hellmuth
4Michael Mizrachi
5Dan Smith
6Antonio Esfandiari
7Marvin Rettenmaier
8Vanessa Selbst
9John Juanda
10Sam Trickett

For more analysis on The Nuts rankings, check out

Lo Toney Leaves Zynga

On Tuesday, PokerNews learned that Laurence "Lo" Toney has left his position as general manager of Zynga Poker. Toney spent three years at Zynga, two as the manager of the poker division, before making his exit this year.

In an interview with All Things D, Toney said his departure is less about Zynga and more about other opportunities that have been offered to him. "I have been approached by several organizations to lead teams and companies that I find exciting and compelling," he said. "It is the right time for me in my career to move on.”

Toney leaves the company while it is still a free-play service, but Zynga CEO Mark Pincus said earlier this year that that real-money gaming would be a "natural fit." The company, which currently raises revenue through advertising and the sale of virtual goods, has been in discussions with several partners about a shift into the real-money online gambling market.



ESPN's coverage of the World Series of Poker continues Tuesday night with action from the penultimate Day 7 of the Main Event. The broadcast begins at 9:30 p.m. ET and will focus on the remaining 27 players battling for a spot at the final table.

The coverage will feature two women — Elisabeth Hille and Gaelle Baumann — reaching the final 27 players for the first time since 2000, when Annie Duke and Kathy Liebert made deep runs, only to fall short of the final table. They'll begin the broadcast chasing French-Canadian Marc-Andre Ladouceur, who began Day 7 as the chip leader. Others still in the field entering the day were Greg Merson, Paul Volpe, Jamie Robbins, Daniel Strelitz, Yuval Bronshtein and Steven Gee.

If you happened to miss any of the action during our Day 7 coverage in July (spoiler), here's a teaser of tonight's broadcast:

ElkY, Katchalov Pedal into Sanremo

A lot of players made the trip from Cannes to Sanremo to play in the European Poker Tour Main Event. But Team PokerStars Pros Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and Eugene Katchalov did it on bikes! Sarah Grant caught up with Katchalov, Grospellier, and their trainer to discuss the unusual trip to Italy.

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