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The Weekly Turbo: Vanessa Selbst Makes History, Antonius Returns to Full Tilt Poker

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 Vanessa Selbst making history at the PCA, Patrik Antonius returning to the high-stakes games at Full Tilt Poker, and more.

Poker Players

Chasing Vanessa

On Monday, Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst won the 2013 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $25,000 High Roller Event to become the winningest female player in the history of tournament poker. Selbst defeated Russian Vladimir Troyanovskiy heads-up for the High Roller title for $1,424,420, and now leads former No. 1 Kathy Liebert by more than $1.1 million.

2013 PCA $25,000 High Roller Results

1Vanessa SelbstUnited States$1,424,420
2Vladimir TroyanovskiyRussia$792,180
3Mike WatsonCanada$462,320
4Ole SchemionGermany$354,860
5Shaun DeebUnited States$289,880
6Bryn KenneyUnited States$229,900
7Tobias ReinkemeierGermany$174,940
8Micah RaskinUnited States$129,940

Selbst said she had never run as good as she did to win this tournament, and it held true up to the very last hand. With the blinds at 30,000/60,000/10,000, Troyanovskiy raised to 125,000 on the button with two kings, Selbst three-bet to 290,000 with {a-Hearts}{q-Spades}, and Troyanovskiy tanked for the better part of a minute before four-betting to 550,000. Selbst moved all in for effectively 1.735 million, and Troyanovskiy snapped it off.

Selbst's rail cheered for an ace, but the {2-Hearts}{2-Clubs}{8-Diamonds} flop changed nothing.

The final table area became quiet as the {10-Diamonds} turned, and Selbst, who had stood up to sweat the hand, sat back down to start cutting out chips.

She shot back up out of her chair when the {a-Clubs} spiked on the river, however, as she realized she was the winner of the $25,000 High Roller.

"I'll take it," she said with a shocked look on her face. "I'd rather be lucky than good."

For complete highlights of the final table, read our recap here at

The Return of Patrik

Since the relaunch of Full Tilt Poker in November 2012, we've slowly seen the high-stakes games revert to the glory days of years past. Viktor "Isildur1" Blom, Gus Hansen, Ben Sulsky, Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, and others have returned to the nosebleed games in recent months. And on Thursday, Patrik Antonius showed his face on the site he once represented.

Antonius waiting for action on Friday
Antonius waiting for action on Friday

According to, Antonius lost around $300,000 during his first session at the new Full Tilt Poker. But the Finn bounced back by profiting $485,000 on Thursday, putting him in the black by close to $200,000.

Antonius is one of online poker's biggest cash-game winners of all time, and he holds the record for winning the biggest pot in history. In November 2009, Antonius won a pot worth $1,356,947 against Viktor Blom at $500/1,000 pot-limit Omaha. To this day, that pot stands as the biggest ever played on the Internet.

With Blom already boosting his bankroll by $3 million in 2013, we're expecting to see fireworks between the two superstars again soon.


Grinder Poker Series

The Turlock Poker Room, in the heart of California’s Central Valley, has named DeepStacks Pro and two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi as its official poker ambassador for 2013.

Mizrachi will make regularly scheduled appearances at the Turlock Poker Room, hosting live tournaments and cash games, as well as representing the poker room at all major live events throughout the year.

His first appearance at the room will be on Saturday, Jan. 19, the starting date of the Grinder Poker Series. All participating players will earn points throughout the eight-tournament series, and the top 16 point earners will face each other in the Grinder Showdown — a heads-up, bracket-style tournament — for the chance to take on Mizrachi one‐on‐one for a $15,000 guaranteed prize.

"I’m excited to start my ambassadorship at the Turlock Poker Room,” Mizrachi said in a press release. "The room is beautiful, the staff is second-to-none, and they really know what it takes to run a first-class operation. Together, Turlock and I are going to have an outstanding and memorable 2013.”

For more on the Grinder Poker Series and the Turlock Poker Room, visit

Poker Tournaments

Get Your Brackets Ready

On Friday, Caesars Interactive Entertainment Inc. announced the entire 64-player field for the 2013 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. Joining the first 32 players announced earlier this week were notables Phil Hellmuth, Michael Mizrachi, Phil Laak, Viktor Blom, and Gaelle Baumann.

The event will be filmed at Caesars Palace Las Vegas Jan. 24 through 26, with the first round on each day starting at 1:30 p.m. local time. The draw party – named “Selection Wednesday” – will be held on Jan. 23 at 9 p.m. at Cleopatra’s Barge in Caesars Palace Las Vegas.

The 2013 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship

Gaelle BaumannJean-Robert BellandeAndy BlochViktor Blom
Liv BoereeJustin BonomoDoyle BrunsonOlivier Busquet
Dan CatesMohsin CharaniaJoseph CheongShaun Deeb
Jonathan DuhamelTom DwanEli ElezraAntonio Esfandiari
Will FaillaAndy FrankenbergerPhil GalfondMatt Glantz
Barry GreensteinBertrand “ElkY” GrospellierJennifer HarmanBrian Hastings
Isaac HaxtonPhil HellmuthJohn HenniganMaria Ho
Phil IveyFaraz JakaKyle JuliusEugene Katchalov
Phil LaakBen LambAndrew LichtenbergerMatt Matros
Mike MatusowJason MercierGreg MersonMichael Mizrachi
Chris MoneymakerJohn MonnetteChris MoormanCarlos Mortensen
Daniel NegreanuDavid OppenheimGreg RaymerVanessa Rousso
Rob SalaburuMatt SalsbergNick SchulmanHuck Seed
Erik SeidelScott SeiverJoe SerockMike Sexton
Sam SimonDan SmithJustin SmithJason Somerville
Jennifer TillyYevgeniy TimoshenkoDavid Qualifier

For a look at our our surprises and snubs from the list, check out the article by Donnie Peters.

Aussie Millions Under Way

The 2013 Aussie Millions Poker Championships began Thursday at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia. The first of the 26 events on the schedule was an $1,100 buy-in No Limit Hold'em tournament with a Repechage format, allowing players the option to re-enter during the second or third Day 1 flight if they bust.

After three days of play, a final table was set in the first event, with defending champ Brendon Rubie still in contention to repeat. Rubie was joined by Martin Finger and Rupert Elder, as well as chip leader Ashley Warner.

Also taking place this weekend was the $1,000 Shane Warne Foundation Charity Event. Other events coming up on the schedule are Event #2: $1,100 Pot Limit Omaha (Monday, Jan. 21), and Event #3: No Limit Hold'em Shootout (Tuesday, Jan. 22).

PokerNews' live coverage of the 2013 Aussie Millions Poker Championships will begin on Jan. 27 with the $10,000 buy-in Main Event. We'll also be providing live updates during the $25,000 Challenge, the $100,000 Challenge, and the massive $250,000 Challenge.

Keep it locked in to the PokerNews Live Reporting page for exclusive coverage from the 2013 Aussie Millions! For the complete schedule of events, visit

Polito Wins WPT National Paris

Laurent Polito was crowned the 2013 World Poker Tour National Paris winner on Monday after topping a field of 229 over four days for €74,500 ($97,313).

Polito's win in Paris follows up his victory last August at the European Poker Tour Barcelona High Roller for €270,229 ($332,017). With his latest achievement in France, his live earnings have jumped to $910,743. Polito entered the week ranked 262nd in the Global Poker Index, and he's sure to get a boost after his big score in Paris.

Polito, who started the final table third in chips, faced a tough table that included 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event third place finisher Antoine Saout, who ended up finishing fourth for €24,750.

After 90 minutes of heads-up action between Polito and Stéphane Benadiba, it was Polito who took the title, the prize money, and a €7,500 ticket to the WPT Grand Prix de Paris.

The final-table payouts were as follows:

1Laurent Polito€82,000

2Stéphane Benadiba€52,000

3Omar Lakhdari€33,400

4Antoine Saout€24,750

5Huicun Qiao€18,600

6Yossi Iffergan€14,850

7Florent Estegassy€12,340

8Damien Lhommeau€9,900

Borgata Winter Poker Open

Major tournaments are popping up everywhere this month. Although most of the attention is being given to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and Aussie Millions, the Borgata in Atlantic City is putting on a massive series of its own.

On Sunday, the Borgata Winter Open wrapped up its first event, a $560 buy-in no-limit hold'em tournament with an astonishing $1 million guaranteed prize pool. A total of 3,871 entries across two Day 1 flights generated a prize pool of $1,935,500.

The top honor went to Joseph Stiers, who won the tournament outright for $318,104. Here's a look at the final table results:

1Joseph Stiers$318,104
2Tanios Abi-Yaghi$209,158
3Samuel Taylor$137,261
4Mark Sykes$114,946
5Michael Belton$93,377
6Daniel Spirer$71, 901
7Anthony Campagna$51,359
8Henry Michael Borovetz$35,481
9Austin Johnson$23,343

Notable finishes: Dean Schultz (14th — $11,205), Eric Buchman (26th — $7,003), John Myung (27th — $7,003), Ylon Schwartz (48th — $4,202)

Yoshitaka Okawa Wins Red Dragon Main Event in Macau

This weekend, the 17th installment of the Macau Poker Cup concluded with the culmination of the Red Dragon Main Event at PokerStars Macau. The event attracted a field of 532 players, generating a prize pool of HK$5,222,325 (approx. US $675,000). The buy-in was HK$11,000 (approx. US $1,500).

Japan's Yoshitaka Okawa emerged as the victor, claiming the HK$1,123,000 (US $143,974) first-place prize. Team PokerStars Pro Vivian Im finished in 21st place and was the only Team Pro to cash. She took home HK$31,000 (US $3,974).

*PlacePlayerPrize (HKD)Prize (USD)
1Yoshitaka Okawa$1,123,000$143,974
2Zhenwu Wang$784,000$100,513
3Eemil Tuominen$462,000$59,231
4Homan Houshiar$353,000$45,256
5Kevin Zhehao Zhang$261,000$33,462
6Michael Marvanek$209,000$26,795
7Oliver Duran$170,000$21,795
8Shashank Rathi$130,500$16,731

Our friends at the PokerStars Blog have more.

Poker Business

Rational Group, the owner of online poker giants PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, is moving forward with the purchase of the Atlantic Club Casino in Atlantic City.

On Tuesday, Eric Hollreiser, Rational Group's head of corporate communications, confirmed to PokerNews that the company has agreed to acquire the casino from Resorts International Holdings. Hollreiser said the transaction is pending a grant of an Interim Casino Authorization by the relevant New Jersey authorities.

Those authorities have up to 90 days to conduct their investigation and file a report with Casino Control Commission. The commission then has up to 30 days to conduct the hearing and make a final decision. The sale would close after final regulatory approval from the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.

"The acquisition of The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel will secure up to 2,000 jobs and maintain the economic benefits the casino brings to New Jersey," Hollreiser said. "During this interim period, the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel will operate as normal under current management, who will be retained following completion of the acquisition.”

The Atlantic Club Casino could be the early focus of PokerStars' strategy to reenter the online poker market in the States. Last month, New Jersey lawmakers approved a bill that would authorize Atlantic City casinos to offer online poker and casino games. The bill is awaiting the approval of Gov. Chris Christie, who has until Feb. 4 to act on it.

For more, read the full story here at

Experience the WSOP in Your Home

On Wednesday, Microsoft Studios announced that a free-to-play World Series of Poker-branded video game will be available for Xbox and Windows 8 users this spring. ”World Series of Poker®: Full House Pro” will bring poker's most prestigious event straight to your home, allowing players to build their bankrolls as they compete against opponents from around the world while showing off flashy avatar accessories and chip tricks inside real-world casinos.

The game takes the Xbox LIVE Arcade hit “Full House Poker” to a new level by adding commentary from World Series of Poker on ESPN announcers Lon McEachern and Norman Chad, giving gamers the feel as if they were on ESPN playing in the WSOP. There are several different game modes, including single-table games and multi-table tournaments, giving users a wide variety of action to select from.

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