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The Nightly Turbo: Chris Ferguson's Civil Case, Mike McDonald Lectures MIT Poker Course

Mike McDonald

Will U.S. poker players soon learn more about their funds stuck on Full Tilt Poker? We'll bring you that story, plus Mike McDonald acting as a guest instructor for an online poker course at MIT, in this edition of the Nightly Turbo.

In Case You Missed It:

Day 2 of the Aussie Millions Main Event came to a close on Wednesday. Aussie poker pro James Obst led the 69 survivors, and Phil Ivey and Patrik Antonius were still alive.

The World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open is also going strong this week. Scott Herz was on top after Day 2 with 171 remaining.

Alex "AJKHoosier1" Kamberis is an instructor at PokerXFactor and one of the most successful online poker tournament players ever. In his latest video for PXF, Kamberis gives some insight for playing hands during the rebuy hour of online tournaments.

Ferguson Working on Settlement with DOJ

The U.S. government has been granted an extension to respond to a motion to dismiss filed by former Full Tilt Poker executive Chris Ferguson. The two sides have been engaged in "extensive settlement conversations" regarding Ferguson's pending civil case but were unable to reach an agreement by the deadline date of Jan. 28. The government will now have until Feb. 18, 2013, to respond to Ferguson's motion.

Late last year, former Full Tilt Poker board members Rafe Furst and Howard Lederer settled their respective civil cases, leaving only Ferguson and Ray Bitar seeking resolution to the Second Amended Civil Complaint filed by the Department of Justice in September 2011. Lederer settled his case on Dec. 18, forfeiting millions in assets to the government. Ferguson joined Lederer's motion to dismiss and has since been negotiating with the DOJ.

Furst, Lederer and Ferguson aren't facing criminal charges for their involvement with FTP, but Bitar is facing up to 145 years in prison on charges of conspiracy to violate the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and money laundering. Bitar turned himself in to U.S. authorities last July and was freed on $2.5 million bail.

Announcement Coming Soon for U.S. Players

Meanwhile, Full Tilt Poker's U.S. players are still waiting to be repaid by the U.S. government, which took on the responsibility of a remission process last July. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said in November that a third-party claims administrator would be hired to begin work on the repayment of players by the end of this month. While we're still waiting on details surrounding that process, a source at the Department of Justice told PokerNews on Wednesday that an announcement would happen "very soon."

Professor Timex

Former online poker pro Will Ma is instructing a three-week course at MIT that discusses the mathematical strategies needed to be a no-limit hold’em specialist.

Ma, who played at PokerStars as "CutiePi314," introduced the poker course to the university last year, and is now teaching the mathematical aspects of the game to his second group of students. As seen in his course syllabus, Ma covers topics like preflop ranges, bet sizing, implied odds, flop texture, polarization, variance and risk, and much more.

The course also features an assortment of guest lecturers like World Series of Poker bracelet winners Bill Chen and Matt Hawrilenko, European Poker Tour champ Mike McDonald, two-time women’s chess champion Jennifer Shahade, and others.

McDonald is the latest guest instructor to lend his knowledge to Ma's students. Here's a look at his in-depth lecture.

Bluff Europe has more.

TCOOP Finalist Takes a Shot

PokerStars' Turbo Championship of Online Poker (TCOOP) Main Event ended Sunday with “frma1103” taking the title and a prize of $326,880. But while “frma1103” took the lion's share of the prize money, it's the player who finished seventh in that tournament who is stealing headlines this week.

SennaBoris79 at the TCOOP Main Event final table (c/o
SennaBoris79 at the TCOOP Main Event final table (c/o

Earlier this month, Russia's “SennaBoris79” turned a $27 satellite victory into a $700 TCOOP Main Event seat, and then scored just under $193,000 Sunday after a seven-way chop at the Main Event final table. Now, according to, the Russian is taking shots at $50/$100 no-limit hold’em ring games at PokerStars.

On Tuesday, "SennaBoris79" lost a full buy-in ($10,000) in just 90 minutes playing against high-stakes regulars Tobias "KTPOKP" Kuder, Diogo "phounderAA" Veiga, Cort "thecortster" Kibler-Melby, Trueteller, Jacob "Lottenice" Rasmussen and "k0b0Ldm4k1." However, he ended the day a $27,000 winner after making deuces full of fours against "Trueteller" to extract a $20,650 pot.

"SennaBoris79" continued his hot streak at the tables early Wednesday morning when he jumped back into a $50/$100 session. After losing nearly three buy-ins in the first two hours, he scooped another massive pot against "Trueteller" to finish the day as a $30,000 winner. This time, “SennaBoris79” made a full house against his opponent's straight for a pot worth $53,800, but he potentially missed some value on the river, as you'll see in this replay.

Read more about "SennaBoris79's" run at the high-stakes tables at

WPT Returns to London

The World Poker Tour will return to England in March for the WPT National London festival, and organizers have provided PokerNews with some early details of the exciting events.

The official schedule has yet to be released, but UK PokerNews editor Matthew Pitt reports that the £1,500+£150 WPTN London Main Event will feature two starting flights, will be played to a re-entry format and will have late registration open for the first six levels. The structure for the tournament was created by renowned tournament director Matt Savage, giving players a lot of play for their dime.

Running alongside the WPT National London Main Event will be the PartyPoker Premier League Poker VI. The most recent version of the popular invite-only series saw Scott Seiver defeat a tough collection of pros that included Patrik Antonius, Sam Trickett, Tom Dwan, Dan Cates, Erik Seidel, and Tony G. Seiver received $500,000 and a seat into the World Poker Tour World Championship, the same event that he won the previous year.

For more on the festival in London, check out UK PokerNews.

Calling the Clock: Nate Silver

Nate Silver has become famous for his accurate projections in U.S. elections, but he's also a big poker enthusiast. Who is his poker idol? PokerNews' Lynn Gilmartin posed that question and more in the latest edition of Calling the Clock.

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