The Nightly Turbo: Phil Ivey Hires New Recruits, Rafael Nadal Plays PokerStars ESCOOP

Phil Ivey

PokerNews learned Tuesday that Phil Ivey's new online poker site is scheduled to launch on Jan. 14, 2013. We're bringing you the latest on that story, plus Rafael Nadal's first run at an online poker tournament title, in this edition of the Nightly Turbo.

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The EPT Prague Main Event resumed Monday with the second of two Day 1 flights. Vadim Belov led the way with 179,300 chips.

#TeamIvey Set For Launch

Phil Ivey has recruited seven more players to his talented team, which already includes Patrik Antonius, Cole South, Greg Merson, James Dempsey and Jennifer Harman.

Ivey announced the new additions to his team via Twitter on Monday:

The seven players will serve as pros and instructors at, which is in the final stages of developing an "innovative social poker game." According to John Eames, the site will officially launch on Jan. 14, 2013.

Here's a closer look at the new additions:

Josh Brikis — The Pittsburgh native earned his spot on the team with three WSOP final tables and close to $1.5 million in live tournament winnings. His latest achievement was placing sixth at a WSOP Circuit event at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City for $4,464.

Jonathan Tamayo — One of Tamayo's earliest poker achievements was making Supernova Elite status on PokerStars in 2009. Since then, Tamayo has crushed both live and online play by cashing for more than $1.5 million in live tournaments around the globe.

Gillian Epp — The Canadian is a successful high-stakes no-limit cash-game player who contributes to various poker publications around the world.

Matt Giannetti — Giannetti earned his biggest score at the 2011 WSOP Main Event where he finished fourth for just over $3 million. Despite spending most of his time at the cash-game tables, Giannetti has more $4 million in tournament cashes live and online.

John Eames — The British poker pro has made final tables at the WSOP and EPT. Eames has three career tournament titles and more than $1.1 million in winnings.

David Peters — While he's quiet at the tables, Peters has a loud and aggressive playing style that has helped him collect more than 200 cashes on the live tournament circuit. Peters has more than $3.5 million in live tournament winnings, plus another $2.9 million online.

Balazs Botond — The Hungarian pro has three deep EPT runs and more than $500,000 in live tournament earnings. His biggest score on the EPT came this year in Campione, where he placed fourth for $208,256.

For more on the Team Ivey, visit

Rafa's Run at PokerStars' ESCOOP

Team PokerStars SportStar Rafael Nadal made his real-money online poker debut over the weekend at the Spanish Championship of Online Poker (ESCOOP), the first series of its kind at since the official launch of Spain's online poker market in June.

The Nightly Turbo: Phil Ivey Hires New Recruits, Rafael Nadal Plays PokerStars ESCOOP 101

The €200 buy-in Main Event attracted a field of 1,842 players, all of whom had an opportunity to play in the same tournament as the tennis icon. Nadal went into the event as a complete novice, but he held his own early on with the help of some big hands. He eliminated one player with a set of tens against a pair of aces to increase his stack to 25,900 (starting stack was 20,000), and then won a big pot with {k-Hearts}{k-Spades} against {q-Hearts}{q-Diamonds} to eclipse 31,000 in chips.

But Nadal then ran into a disastrous spot which cost him his entire stack. Our friends at PokerNews Spain reported that Nadal was all in with {a-Spades}{k-Hearts} on a {3-Hearts}{a-Diamonds}{j-Hearts} flop against two opponents; one had {j-Clubs}{j-Diamonds} for middle set and the other had {3-Clubs}{3-Diamonds} for bottom set. The {a-Hearts} on the turn gave Nadal some extra outs, but the {2-Hearts} on the river ended his first tournament on PokerStars.

The Nightly Turbo: Phil Ivey Hires New Recruits, Rafael Nadal Plays PokerStars ESCOOP 102

The winner of the inaugural ESCOOP Main Event was "Tonet_1981," who collected the bracelet and €49,994 after making a heads-up deal with "caponata1."

Check out the full coverage of the ESCOOP Main Event at PokerNews Spain.

Online Poker Traffic Report

Online traffic dropped 3.2 percent last week as numbers declined at the top two poker rooms, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.

PokerStars had a big jolt in traffic last week from its 90 Billionth Hand celebration, but the world's leading poker room returned to normal after the event ended. According to, traffic at PokerStars dropped 10 percent since last week but remains 5 percent ahead of where it was before the promotion began.

Traffic at Full Tilt Poker dropped another 10 percent last week, bringing the total slide to 53 percent since the site relaunched on Nov. 6. Even with the ongoing traffic loss, Full Tilt still ranks second worldwide, but the iPoker Network and PartyPoker are gaining as each week passes.

PartyPoker rose 10 percent following the Advent Calendar promotion that started Dec. 1. Players have until Christmas Eve to have a shot at prizes by opening the doors of the Advent calendar every day.

MPN, formerly known as the Microgaming Poker Network, jumped 20 percent last week after falling 17 percent over the last two weeks. According to, the numbers indicate that MPN lost players from the PokerStars 90 Billionth Hand promotion and gained them back once the celebration ended.

Here's a look at the online poker traffic rankings as of Tuesday:

RankSite7-Day Average (Real-money ring players)
2Full Tilt Poker4,300

Check out the full report at

Catching the Holiday Spirit in Prague

British poker pro Craig McCorkell was spotted wearing a very festive sweater during Day 2 of the European Poker Tour Prague Main Event. Sarah Grant caught up with McCorkell to find out more about his get-up, and how his life his changed after winning a World Series of Poker bracelet this summer.

Merry Christmas from PokerStars

Staying with the holiday spirit theme, members of Team PokerStars Pro are wishing everyone a Happy Merry Christmas.

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