Posts Tagged ‘Case’

U.S. Supreme Court Says ‘No’ To Poker Case

The U.S. Supreme Court decided to reject the appeal of Lawrence DiCristina, who was convicted of running an illegal gambling business thanks to spreading a poker game in a New York warehouse. The operation had a five-percent rake and employed people such as dealers.

Some people were worried that the case could signal the federal law being broadly applied to other poker games, but the government has said that the case in no way means that home games are criminal. In other words, DiCristina was considered large-scale, meeting certain significant conditions, such as bringing in more than $ 2,000 in revenue daily.

The case also involved some debate over whether poker is a game of skill, but the courts weren’t actually making a ruling on that muddled topic, either. It simply was relevant in DiCristina’s case to know whether poker would be considered gambling. If it wasn’t, the government’s case wouldn’t work. However, it was determined that since the state of New York considers poker to be gambling, the federal law would be applicable.

Poker has as significant skill component, but also does contain large amounts of luck.

The 1970 federal law was originally intended to combat organized crime, a fact that some said was worth noting because DiCristina was in no way acting as a gangster. According to Bloomberg, the federal government used the statute to prosecute 334 people nationwide from 2007 to 2011. There’s no official tally on how many were for poker, like DiCristina.

Originally convicted in 2012, DiCristina at one point had his conviction overturned.

DiCristina had garnered support from the poker world, including the Poker Players Alliance. Card lovers, including bridge players, reportedly felt the case had significance.

The Supreme Court offered no comment in its rejection of hearing the case.

DiCristina faces 10 years in prison.

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CardPlayer Poker News


Published on 11:30 am by Administrator

Category: Poker

Tags: , 'No', Case, Court, Poker, Says, Supreme, U.S.

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Poker Player Gets Prison In Illegal Gambling Case

Poker player Edwin Ting (more than $ 80,000 in career tournament earnings) was sentenced in New York on Tuesday to five months in prison for his role in the high-stakes gambling ring that was busted by the feds in April of last year.

He was among nearly three dozen individuals charged in the case.

In addition to his sentence, Ting has been ordered to forfeit $ 2 million. He plead guilty in August to operating an illegal gambling business, which in this instance the feds said were high-stakes underground poker games. More than two dozen of the defendants have so far plead guilty for the respective roles in the scheme.

Tens of millions have been forfeited to the government already.

The feds alleged that the ring, which also included a far-reaching sports betting operation, had links to the Russian mob.

Other poker players accused of wrongdoing in the federal case were Justin Smith, who was recently sentenced to probation, John Hanson, Abe Mosseri, Bill Edler, Peter Feldman, Arthur Azen and Vadim Trincher.

Molly “Poker Princess” Bloom and Hollywood producer Bryan Zuriff were also charged with crimes. Both have plead guilty as well.

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CardPlayer Poker News


Published on 5:31 pm by Administrator

Category: Poker

Tags: , Case, Gambling, Gets, Illegal, Player, Poker, Prison

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Poker Pro Justin Smith Receives Probation, Forfeits $500,000 In Gambling Case

High-stakes poker pro Justin “Boosted J” Smith has received his sentence after pleading guilty to one count of accepting a “financial instrument for unlawful Internet sports gambling” in connection with a massive operation that the feds busted in the spring of last year.

The poker and sports betting ring was alleged to have links to the Russian mob.

After facing up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the initial charges levied against him, Smith recieved two years probation, with a special condition of three months location monitoring (home detention) and 200 hours of community service, according to court documents.

He also has already forfeited $ 500,000, court documents filed Monday said.

Dozens of individuals were named in the indictment, including the likes of Vadim Trincher, Molly “Poker Princess” Bloom, Hollywood producer Bryan Zuriff, John Hanson, Abe Mosseri, Bill Edler, Peter Feldman, Eddie Ting and Arthur Azen.

In one of the most dramatic tidbits to come out of the case, the feds alleged that a couple defendants used MMA fighters to collect on debts from the underground poker games.

Smith, winner of more than $ 2.3 million lifetime in poker tournaments, resides in Hollywood, California, according to his Twitter account.

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CardPlayer Poker News


Published on 11:30 am by Administrator

Category: Poker

Tags: , $500000, Case, Forfeits, Gambling, Justin, Poker, Probation, Receives, Smith

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‘Poker Princess’ Pleads Guilty In Gambling Case

Earlier this month, yet another defendant in the massive gambling bust that happened in April plead guilty in federal court. This time it was Molly Bloom. (Here’s a look at the indictment.)

Bloom, dubbed the “poker princess” by her poker-playing clients, reportedly hosted private games in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami and New York for years. Celebrities rumored to have appeared in a Bloom-run poker game somewhere in the United States include Tobey Maguire, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Alex Rodriguez and Leonardo Dicaprio.

The games that got Bloom into hot water recently were the ones in New York. According to the New York Post, she admitted in Manhattan Federal Court to moving the poker games from Los Angeles to Manhattan in 2010 and running them out of two hotels.

Her work in those Manhattan hotels was part of an alleged $ 100 million gambling operation that also included sports betting. The ring allegedly had links to the Russian mob. None of the aforementioned celebrities have been accused of any wrongdoing or linked to the games that were part of the gambling ring that the federal government ended up shutting down.

Bloom had been on the hook for up to five years in prison. However, thanks to her deal she will get anywhere from probation to six months. She also agreed to forfeit $ 125,000, some of the money that she apparently received for her poker hostess work.

She will be sentenced in April 2014.

Arguably the most famous poker player involved in the whole case is World Poker Tour champion Vadim Trincher. He admitted to being involved with the sports betting tentacle of the illegal gambling ring. Trincher could see around two years in jail for his role.

Bloom and Trincher were two of 34 individuals to be charged by the feds.

Image via Associated Press.

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CardPlayer Poker News


Published on 11:30 am by Administrator

Category: Poker

Tags: , Case, Gambling, Guilty, Pleads, Poker, Princess'

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Poker Pros To Plead Guilty In Gambling Case

Justin SmithA pair of high-stakes poker players have accepted plea deals in connection with an underground poker and spots betting ring that was busted earlier this year.

Justin Smith, 25, and Edwin Ting, 41, will plead guilty to reduced charges, according to the New York Daily News. Smith with admit to taking a payment for Internet gambling while Ting will admit to operating an illegal gambling business.

The two men could each face up to five years behind bars.

They will appear in court next month.

According to the indictment, poker players (those with major tournament cashes) John Hanson, Justin Smith, Abe Mosseri, Bill Edler, Peter Feldman, Vadim Trincher (whose two sons, Illya and Eugene were also named), Eddie Ting and Arthur Azen were involved in illegal activity.

The operation is alleged to have links to the Russian mob.

Trincher, Hanson and Azen appear to be the poker players facing the stiffest of penalties. Trincher could spend 90 years in prison if convicted; Hanson could find himself with 92; and Azen is on the hook for a whopping 115 years.

Edwin TingA total of 34 individuals were accused of misconduct in the April crackdown.

The poker games in question, one of the many tentacles of the case, allegedly ran in or around New York City. According to a statement from New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, proceeds from these games were allegedly “funneled to organized crime overseas.”

Earlier this month, William Barbalat, 42, admitted to hosting illegal underground poker games in his apartment, as well as helping facilitate wire transfers to players in different states. He could face up to 10 years in prison for the crime.

In July, Hollywood producer Bryan Zuriff became the case’s first defendant to plead guilty. Zuriff faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

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CardPlayer Poker News


Published on 6:30 pm by Administrator

Category: Poker

Tags: , Case, Gambling, Guilty, Plead, Poker, Pros

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Feds Seize Chinatown Building In Gambling Case

Last week, the federal government of the United States claimed a six-story New York City Chinatown building valued at about $ 17 million in a case related to illegal gambling.

The building’s owner — Won & Har Realty Corporation — had to forfeit the property after it was determined that it was aware of the illegal gambling going on and didn’t take any action to stop the operation. In other words, it wasn’t an “innocent owner,” as it tried to claim.

Won & Har will forfeit the building to the United States. The feds will sell the building, retain 65 percent of the proceeds of the sale after accounting for the costs of selling it, and then return the remainder of the proceeds to Won & Har Realty.

According to public documents filed in Manhattan federal court:

“For at least the two years prior to the filing of a civil forfeiture complaint in May 2012, the Building consistently hosted a group of illegal gambling operators offering various gambling options, including pai gow poker and computer-based slot machine games. For nearly a year after a search conducted by law enforcement in 2011, which resulted in the seizure of hundreds of thousands of dollars in gambling proceeds, illegal gambling continued to be conducted openly in the building, within full view of any passersby in the building’s public hallways. In addition, a large sign advertising gambling was displayed on the front of the building.”

In May of 2012, 11 individuals were arrested in the raid.

The case was handled by the office of Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Bharara was also the man behind the Black Friday indictments against the major offshore online poker sites and is generally not well-liked by the poker community.

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CardPlayer Poker News


Published on 6:31 pm by Administrator

Category: Poker

Tags: , Building, Case, Chinatown, Feds, Gambling, Seize

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Second Defendant Pleads Guilty In Federal Gambling Case With Alleged Links To Russian Mob

Another defendant in the high-profile illegal gambling case out of New York has pleaded guilty in federal court. The gambling operation was allegedly linked to the Russian mob.

According to the New York Daily News, William Barbalat, 42, admitted to hosting illegal underground poker games in his apartment, as well as helping facilitate wire transfers to players in different states. Barbalat is one of nearly three dozen individuals charged in the matter.

The move will spare Barbalat from a potential sentence of 10 years in prison. His deal reportedly will likely result in him spending six months to a year behind bars.

He will be sentenced in December.

In July, Hollywood producer Bryan Zuriff became the case’s first defendant to plead guilty. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said about the celebrity: “Bryan Zuriff spanned the coasts with his crimes, by operating his own illegal gambling enterprise in Los Angeles, and helping to operate a vast illegal gambling enterprise in New York. With his plea, he becomes the first defendant, but not the last, to be convicted in this sprawling script of criminal conduct.”

Zuriff faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and three years of supervised release. As part of his guilty plea, he agreed to forfeit $ 500,000.

His sentencing is scheduled for November.

Poker players accused by the government of some misconduct in the gambling operation include John Hanson, Justin Smith, Abe Mosseri, Bill Edler, Peter Feldman, Vadim Trincher (whose two sons, Illya and Eugene were also named), Eddie Ting and Arthur Azen.

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CardPlayer Poker News


Published on 6:31 pm by Administrator

Category: Poker

Tags: , Alleged, Case, Defendant, Federal, Gambling, Guilty, Links, Pleads, Russian, Second

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WSJ: Ray Bitar To Plead Guilty In Full Tilt Poker Case

The final member of the Full Tilt Poker team that federal prosecutors alleged, in September 2011, had been operating a “global Ponzi scheme” reportedly will plead guilty.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Raymond Bitar needs a heart transplant and this medical development has affected his criminal case.

“It’s a very unusual situation,” Bitar’s attorney told The Wall Street Journal. “We’ve been able to work out something with the government that takes into account the unique circumstances. We appreciate the government’s courtesy in this regard.”

It’s unclear what kind of “courtesy” has been dealt to Bitar. He was facing life in prison after being accused of a handful of financial-related crimes in running Full Tilt. He has been residing in California since being released on bond in 2012.

Howard Lederer, Rafe Furst and Chris Ferguson, who were originally alleged to be part of the Ponzi scheme, all have settled their respective civil cases with the federal government. None of them admitted to any wrongdoing with running the online poker site.

Hundreds of millions were owed to former customers when the site shut its doors, as American victims are still waiting on compensation from the government.

Full Tilt Poker software is back in cyberspace thanks to a government-approved takeover by former rival PokerStars, which also fell into hot water on Black Friday in April 2011.

Stay tuned to CardPlayer.com for more on this developing story.

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CardPlayer Poker News


Published on 6:30 pm by Administrator

Category: Poker

Tags: , Bitar, Case, Full, Guilty, Plead, Poker, Tilt

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The Nightly Turbo: Virginia Supreme Court Addresses Poker Case, More Changes at ISPT

Nightly Turbo

Miss any of the day’s top poker stories? Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this edition of the Nightly Turbo, we’re bringing you a poker-related hearing at the Virginia Supreme Court, more changes at the International Stadiums Poker Tour, and more.

In Case You Missed It:

Daniel Negreanu and Gus Hansen have finalized plans for a Team PokerStars vs. Team Full Tilt Poker heads-up challenge. Read all about it here at PokerNews.com.

How was the high-stakes action at the online tables this week? Read the Online Railbird Report to find out the week’s biggest winners and losers.

Gambling has exploded in Macau over the past few years, and revenues are still climbing. Read all about it in the latest Inside Gaming.

Dylan “dintyo” Tollemache is a CardRunners instructor and a six-max no-limit hold’em specialist. In his latest free training video, Tollemache discusses four-betting ranges, balance and value betting while playing four online tables at a time.

Paul Klann won the 2013 World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic ended on Thursday night. Read about his road to victory in our WPT final table recap.

Poker’s Skill-Versus-Chance Debate

On Thursday, the Virginia Supreme Court decided not to rule on whether poker was a game of skill or chance, leaving the state far from introducing legalized gambling to its residents.

The ruling involved a poker club owner named Charles P. Daniels who had his establishment shut down in 2010 as part of Virginia’s anti-gambling laws. According to CBS Washington, Daniels filed a lawsuit in circuit court seeking to have the gambling law overturned. Portsmouth Circuit Judge Thomas S. Shadrick ruled that Virginia’s anti-gambling statute does cover Texas hold ‘em because “the outcome of any one hand is uncertain,” making it a game of chance. Daniels then filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.

Daniels argued that the state’s anti-gambling law is unconstitutionally vague. After considering testimony from poker pro Greg Raymer and several math experts, the Supreme Court upheld Shadrick’s ruling because “it provides fair notice and an individual of ordinary intelligence can discern its meaning.”

The Supreme Court also ruled that Shadrick wasn’t within authority to consider the issue because a court cannot intervene before someone is charged.

Last August, New York Federal Judge Jack Weinstein ruled that poker is a game of skill and is not illegal under the Illegal Gambling Business Act. Weinstein made the ruling in a case against defendant Lawrence Dicristina, a New York resident who had previously been convicted of running an illegal gambling business for operating a live no-limit hold’em game. The ruling overturned his conviction.

To read more, check out cbs.com.

ISPT Partners with Dusk Till Dawn

The International Stadiums Poker Tour (ISPT) has added another partner ahead of its inaugural event this spring. This week, the ISPT teamed up with the Dusk Till Dawn Poker Club to license, market and guarantee the ISPT tournament set to begin in June at Wembley field in London.

According to PokerNews UK and Ireland’s Matthew Pitt, Dusk Till Dawn Tournament Director Simon Trumper will serve as director for the ISPT event. Dusk Till Dawn has also guaranteed that at least €1,000,000 will go to the winner of the ISPT Wembley Main Event.

“This event is a ‘win-win’ for the UK Poker community,” said Dusk Till Dawn owner Rob Yong. “It will either be a great success with thousands of players or there will be a massive overlay. To put this guarantee into perspective, DTD’s monthly deep-stack pays £40,000 to the winner – 120-times the £336 buy-in – whereas the €1 million first prize at ISPT Wembley will be a staggering 3,333-times the €300 buy in.”

Last month, the ISPT introduced some changes to its groundbreaking format. Rather than running the entire tournament inside Wembley Stadium, Day 1 of the first-ever ISPT event will be held online between Feb. 3 and May 19. Up to 30,000 players will be able to compete in the €300 buy-in across several online poker rooms. The top 10% of the field at the end of each qualifier will advance to play on Day 2 of the event on the Wembley Stadium lawn. Players who make Day 2 will begin with the number of chips they had at the end of Day 1.

Later this month, a range of ISPT satellites will be running on Dusk Till Dawn giving players an opportunity to join the action for a smaller buy-in.

For more information, check out UK.Pokernews.com.

Global Poker Index Player of the Year

There wasn’t much change atop the 2013 Global Poker Index Player of the Year rankings this week. For the third consecutive week, Mike “SirWatts” Watson held the top spot ahead of Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Bryn Kenney, Ole Schemion and Tim Reilly.

Moving into the top 10 this week was Christian Harder, who jumped six spots to No. 8 in the rankings. Harder has three final tables to his credit in 2013, but his biggest score of $ 69,980 came at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $ 25,000 High Roller, where he took 16th. Harder is also ranked 49th in the overall GPI rankings, which track results from the past three years.

Landing on the top 10 bubble this week was Steven Silverman. Best known as “Zugwat” online, Silverman moved up 28 spots to No. 11 after a fourth place finish at the European Poker Tour Deauville €10,000 High Roller for €47,500. Silverman also made the final table of a $ 5,000 side event at the PCA, taking fourth for $ 69,040.

Here’s a look at the top 10 of the Global Poker Index Player of the Year race:

The Global Poker Index Player of the Year, presented by PokerNews, honors the player who has a strong performance as calculated by the USA Today Global Poker Index point system.

For the full GPI Player of the Year standings, head on over to GlobalPokerIndex.com.

Grosvenor UK Poker Tour London Main Event

The Grosvenor UK Poker Tour London Main Event commenced on Thursday with the £1,070 buy-in kicking off in high gear. Day 1a attracted 173 entries, surpassing the £200,000 guarantee with still another starting day taking place on Friday. Just 73 players pushed through to Saturday’s Day 2 including Day 1 chip leader Marc “dean23price” Wright with 113,425 in chips. Wright actually busted early on Day 1a but rebought and claimed the lead with his second bullet.

Other notables making their way to Day 2 were Marvin Rettenmaier (89,990), Surinder Sunar (88,750), Stuart Fox (87,525), Martin Jacobson (20,300), Chris Bjorin (60,100) and last year’s GUKPT London champion Robin Keston (26,000).

Here’s a look at GUKPT London Day 1a Top 10 chip counts:

For more, visit UK.PokerNews.com.

Doug Kim is Asian American

Many finalists of the World Series of Poker Main Event have vanished from the poker world. Chad Holloway has caught up with a few of them for his Where Are They Now pieces, but countless others have been erased from our minds.

One player you might recall is Doug Kim, who took seventh at the 2006 WSOP Main Event for $ 2.3 million. Based on a music video recently posted at TwoPlusTwo, it looks like Kim has switched his focus from poker to music:

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PANTTERAA

I wonder if these monthly fee poker sites could charge $ !,000 a month and win tokens that can be sold back to site for cash?

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Poker News Nightly Turbo


Published on 5:30 am by Administrator

Category: Poker

Tags: , Addresses, Case, Changes, Court, ISPT, More, Nightly, Poker, Supreme, Turbo, Virginia

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The Weekly Turbo: Ivey Dominates High-Stakes Action Online, Chris Ferguson’s Civil Case

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 Phil Ivey’s big week at Full Tilt Poker’s high stakes tables, the latest on Chris Ferguson’s civil case, and more.

Poker Players

Ivey Ivey Ivey

How does Phil Ivey cope with busting out of a major poker tournament? By making nearly $ 600,000 playing online cash games. That’s how.

Shortly after he finished 30th in the Aussie Millions Main Event on Thursday, Ivey hit the high-stakes tables at Full Tilt Poker and made $ 589,000 playing mixed games, pot-limit Omaha and no-limit hold’em. According to HighStakesDB.com, Ivey has made $ 818,000 on FTP over the last three days, bringing him out of the red for the first time since the site relaunched in November.

Ivey’s biggest win on Thursday came in a $ 300/600 no-limit hold’em heads-up match against Alex “IReadYrSoul” Millar. Playing under the name “Polarizing,” Ivey won more than $ 280,000 from the young Brit during a one-hour session. The session produced three six-figure pots, all of which were pushed to Ivey. The biggest came when Ivey’s {10-Diamonds}{10-Spades} held up against Millar’s {A-Diamonds}{K-Spades} after Millar called Ivey’s five-bet shove preflop. The board ran out {2-Clubs}{Q-Hearts}{2-Spades}{8-Clubs}{2-Hearts}, sending a pot worth $ 135,598 to Ivey.

For a full recap of Ivey’s big win, be sure to catch next week’s edition of the Online Railbird Report. You can also find more at HighStakesDB.com.

The Kid is Back

After being absent from the PokerStars tables since Black Friday, Team PokerStars Pro and former world champion Joe Cada recently made his return to the virtual felts.

This week, Cada wrote a blog entry about setting up a second residence in Canada to resume online poker at PokerStars. As a Michigan resident, Cada is only a 45-minute drive from the Canadian border, and he now he intends to make weekend trips to play the online game that he’s been away from for so long. He joins a slew of American players — including Team PokerStars Pros Chris Moneymaker, Chad Brown, Randy Lew and Isaac Haxton — who have made the move outside the U.S. to play poker.

“Don’t know why it took me this long to start back online poker,” Cada posted on Facebook about his first day back playing online. “Feels good to be motivated again and first day went really well online. I actually feel lucky to live in Michigan to be able to make the drive once or twice a week to play and be able to be home with family and friends. Now I need to find a way to play more live tournaments because I hate traveling most of the time for poker.”

Since Black Friday hit the U.S. on April 15, 2011, Cada hadn’t played a single real-money hand at PokerStars. Before that, he found tremendous success as a cash-game player and also had big scores in a number of tournaments. In the fall of 2009, shortly before becoming the youngest WSOP Main Event champion ever, he won the WCOOP 2nd Chance No Limit event to bag $ 28,872. After that, he won the Sunday $ 200 Rebuy in August 2010 for another $ 38,012.

Cada also blogged about an African Safari that he recently ventured on with fellow PokerStars pros Chris Moneymaker and Liv Boeree. According to Cada, the group had a chance to interact with giraffes, lion clubs, and observe other wild animals. “It was amazing, really a once in a lifetime experience,” Cada said about the trip.

Cada ended the blog in good spirits, saying: “It’s a new year with new opportunities on the horizon. Let’s hope it’s a good one.”

Read Cada’s full entry at the PokerStars Blog.

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 “Timex” 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.

Poker Business

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.”

Scientific Games Acquires WMS for $ 1.5 Billion

In a deal that could eventually have an effect on the online poker landscape in Nevada, Scientific Games Corporation has agreed to purchase slot machine operator WMS Industries Inc. for $ 1.5 billion.

According to a press release, the transaction “combines two leading companies in the gaming industry to create an organization that will supply an extensive range of products and services to public and private sector lottery and gaming customers throughout the world.”

Last July, online gaming operator WMS announced a strategic partnership with 888. The deal will see the launch of a real-money online poker offering once the licensing and regulation process is completed in Nevada and other U.S. states.

Under the terms of the partnership, WMS will market and distribute 888’s online poker platform to land-based casino customers in venues in the U.S., initially with a play-for-free offering. The joint offering will be ready to go as soon as a real-money platform is given the green light by gaming authorities.

WMS was granted a Nevada online gaming license in September. 888 has applied for a license and is waiting to meet with state regulators.

“The combination of Scientific Games and WMS yields tremendous benefits to our customers, shareholders and employees,” said WMS chairman and CEO Brian R. Gamache. “We view this transaction as the next logical and strategic step in offering continued innovation in gaming.

Read more here.

Poker Legislation

PPA Lobbies Gov. Chris Christie

Time is running out for Gov. Chris Christie to act on a New Jersey Internet gambling bill, and the Poker Players Alliance is now asking its members to urge Christie to sign the bill into law before the Feb. 4 deadline.

“The New Jersey legislature voted in near unanimity to revive the state’s gaming economy by making New Jersey an epicenter for online gaming and poker,” the PPA said in a statement on Monday.

“Thousands of New Jersey residents have contacted the Governor urging him to sign the bill into law,” said John Pappas, executive director of the PPA. “In addition to providing New Jersey poker players with a safe and regulated online poker market, this important legislation will add millions in state revenue and thousands of jobs to the state. New Jersey has the opportunity to be a leader in a vibrant and thriving 21st Century industry, and we hope Governor Christie recognizes the many benefits this bill will bring to this state and its citizens.”

Christie has until Feb. 4 to sign, veto, or allow the legislation to go through without action. Christie vetoed a similar bill in 2011 and remains undecided on the issue. In an interview with a New Jersey radio station last week, Christie expressed his concerns about online gambling driving traffic away from Atlantic City, as well as the potential creation of a new generation of problem gamblers.

New Jersey Sen. Ray Lesniak, the main sponsor of the bill, responded to Christie’s comments by telling PokerNews that the governor is “clueless” about online gambling. “He thinks he knows better than all the Atlantic City casinos, because they know it will help their bottom line and keep their jobs and money going,” Lesniak said. “There are economic studies that this will generate business and doesn’t drive traffic away.”

Read the full PPA statement about New Jersey at theppa.org.

Iowa Eyes Online Poker

Legislators in Iowa have reintroduced a bill that could legalize online poker within state lines.

Last week, Iowa Senate Study Bill 1068 was proposed by Iowa State Senator Jeff Danielson and co-sponsored by Sens. Wally Horn and Randy Feenstra. The poker-only bill proposes that Iowa consider establishing requirements for the issuing of Internet gambling licenses.

Study bills in Iowa are generally developed to evaluate political reactions to a proposal before it is formally introduced in the legislature. Study Bill 1068 is “an Act authorizing licensees authorized to conduct gambling games on an excursion boat, gambling structure, or racetrack enclosure to operate internet wagering on poker and making penalties applicable.”

Last year, the Iowa Senate approved a similar study bill to legalize and regulate intrastate online poker. However, the bill never moved through the House of Representatives due to a “general lack of interest” on the issue, according to House Speaker Kraig Paulsen.

The legalization of online poker in the Hawkeye State could generate between $ 3 million and $ 13 million in state tax revenue, according to a study by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission last year.

Iowa Senate Study Bill 1068 can be viewed in full at Iowa.gov.

Poker Tournaments

Seiver, Negreanu Enter Premier League

Scott Seiver and Daniel Negreanu have confirmed they will be participating in the PartyPoker Premiere League VI in Stratford City, London March 17 through 23. They are the first two entrants of the 16-player field who will partake in the $ 125,000 buy-in event.

Seiver will return as the defending champion because he won the Premier League Poker V last year, defeating top talents like Dan Cates, Phil Laak, Sam Trickett and Patrik Antonius at the final table. His victory came with a $ 500,000 grand prize and a seat to the World Poker Tour World Championship. On returning to the Premier League this year, Seiver said, “I really enjoyed the interesting format last year and it was great to win. I am looking forward to defending my title.”

Negreanu’s last appearance was in Season IV when it was held in Las Vegas. Talking about his return to the event, he said: “I’m really excited to be back playing the Premier League this year! I love the format and unique events like this are great for poker. I’m honored to be invited and happily support the event and plan on winning it!”

According to a PartyPoker press release, the event will feature “16 players split up into two groups of eight in the Main Event, each competing in four league matches showcasing the famous point system ($ 2,000 per point). The top three from each group will automatically go through to the final table, while the fourth and fifth seeds will square off in a series of heads-up matches (best of three) for spots in the eight-handed finale.”

The inaugural £1,500 WPT National London Main Event will run alongside the Premier League VI from March 15 through 19.The tournament will offer re-entries and have two Day 1 starting flights. Qualifiers and weekly satellites will be offered to give players a chance to enter the Main Event on a freeroll. The $ 3,400 package includes a WPT National London Main Event buy-in and $ 750 spending money.

For more on the Premier League VI, visit the PartyPoker Blog.

PokerStars TCOOP Sets New Marks

The second annual PokerStars Turbo Championship of Online Poker (TCOOP) ended on Sunday, Jan. 27 and the overall numbers from the series were enormous.

The 50 fast-paced turbo events proved to be a huge success as 240,321 total entrants generated a combined prize pool of more than $ 24 million — about $ 4.5 million more than last year’s inaugural series.

Sunday’s TCOOP Main Event drew in 5,060 entrants (about 1,300 more than last year). The $ 3,364,900 prize pool shattered the $ 2 million guarantee, and Sweden’s “froma1103,” was the eventual winner, collecting $ 326,880 after a seven-way deal that saw all seven players pocket six-figures.

The TCOOP Player of the Series was awarded to “Tjepan,” who made two final tables and scored 12 cashes to earn a total of $ 79,819 across 46 events. “Tjepan” won the champion’s trophy and a 2014 PCA package worth $ 16,500. The TCOOP leaderboard runner-up was “Tinas21,” who received a 2013 SCOOP ticket worth $ 5,200 after making three TCOOP finals tables.

2013 TCOOP Lederboard

Team PokerStars Pro Marcel Luske also enjoyed a nice series after taking third place in Event #42, a $ 27 No Limit Hold’em [2x-Turbo], for $ 58,510.24. Luske is off to a great start in 2013; at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure earlier this month, he managed to win the $ 1,100 8-Game event ($ 13,810) and the $ 1,100 H.O.R.S.E. event ($ 18,500).

More on the TCOOP series can be found at the PokerStars blog.

UKIPT Releases Season 4 Schedule

On Friday, the UK and Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT) unveiled the schedule for its upcoming fourth season. The UKIPT has some big changes in store for this year, opting to venture out of the U.K. entirely, and promises a £500,000 guarantee for every Main Event.

The UKIPT also partnered with the Estrellas Poker Tour to bring the first stop of the season in Marbella on the Costa del Sol in Spain. It will be held at the Casino Marbella and feature a Main Event with a €1,100 buy-in.

The tour will then move on to Galway and showcase a two-week festival during Galway Race Week, playing host to a cash-game event, the Irish Bridge Masters, and the inaugural UK vs. Ireland Heads-Up Championship.

The UKIPT will then stop in London at the Connaught Rooms, followed by the Isle of Man at the Villa Marina in November. The season will close in Nottingham at the Dusk Till Dawn Poker Club in December. That last series will host the first six-max Main Event in the history of the UKIPT. All stops will feature the same €1,100 buy-in for the Main Event.

Here is the full schedule:

More information can be found at the PokerStars Blog.

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