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Poker News | The Inside Shuffle

The Inside Shuffle – PCA Reports, Poker in Macau, US Wire Act Clarification, and More

Phil Hellmuth Hosts 2nd Agrace HospiceCare Charity Event
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In today's edition of The Inside Shuffle PokerWorks brings you all the latest poker news from around world – major live tournaments, gambling resorts, and the United States' fight with its online poker issues. The European Poker Tour's PokerStars Caribbean Adventure saw two of its biggest events crown their winners over the weekend and we have the stories. In other news Phil Hellmuth raises money for charity in his second annual Phil Hellmuth's Hold'em with Agrace HospiceCare event, and Gus Hansen is up by $3 million in Macau Big Game.

Dibella Victorious in PCA

One of the biggest events in the entire European Poker Tour circuit, the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure crowned its new champion – John Dibella. On his way to the Main Event title, a 43-year old stock trader from New York outplayed the field of more than 1,000 players featuring a number of big poker names. One of them – the 2010 WPT Player of the Year, Faraz Jaka was leading through almost the entire event, however, he didn't manage to maintain his advantage to the very end and left the tournament in third place.

Although Dibella began the final table fifth in chips, step by step he climbed all the way through and finally beat Kyle Julius heads-up and collected the PCA title. Not only did Dibella win his career-first major poker event, he also took home the cash prize of almost $2 million along with the trophy.

Here are the final 2012 PCA standings:

*1John DibellaUSA$1,775,000
*2Kyle JuliusUSA$1,500,000
3Faraz JakaUSA$755,000
4Xuan LiuCanada$600,000
5Mark DroverCanada$468,000
6Anthony GreggUSA$364,000
7David BernsteinCanada$260,000
8Ruben VisserThe Netherlands$156,600

*denotes heads-up deal leaving $275,000 to the winner


Leonid Bilokur Wins PCA High Roller

Russian Leonid Bilokur was another big winner this weekend at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. He came out victorious in the $25,000 High Roller event collecting the cash prize of over $1 million. In the final play Bilokur outplayed the 2010 WSOP Main Event Champion Jonathan Duhamel who also finished in fourth place at the PCA Super High-Roller just a few days ago.

A Team PokerStars Online member Randy “nanonoko” Lew, who recently beat a new Guinness World Record, was at the final table as well, however, he had to leave early in the game after being eliminated by Jason Koon. Despite sending Lew to the rail, Koon, a former chip leader, did not last until the end and was eliminated in fourth place by the future champion, Bilokur.

The Russian scored the biggest win of his career collecting a first place prize of $1,134,930 and the trophy.

These are the final standings of PCA High-Roller:

1Leonid BilokurRussia $1,134,930 
2Jonathan DuhamelCanada$634,550
3Isaac HaxtonUSA$380,730
4Jason KoonUSA$271,950
5Nicolas FierroChile$217,560
6Govert MetaalThe Netherlands$181,300
7Michael TelkerUSA$145,040
8Randy LewUSA$108,780

Phil Hellmuth Hosts 2nd Agrace HospiceCare Charity Event

Just before Christmas, on December 17th, the Second Annual Phil Hellmuth's Hold'em with Agrace HospiceCare Charity Event took place in Madison, Wisconsin. PokerNews' reporter Chad Holloway attended the tournament and put his thoughts on the event into a poker news article.

Apparently the event was a success – it gathered a lot of local celebrities including professional golfer Jerry Kelly, NFL and UW Badgers football player Derek Engler, NBC 15’s Carleen Wild, Charlie Shortino and Leigh Mills, and UW Badgers women’s hockey coach and member of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team Mark Johnson. A number of poker pros attended the tournament as well – 2007 World Series of Poker Europe Champion, Annette Obrestad, 1998 WSOP fourth-place finisher, Dewey Weum, online pros Anthony "D1rtyR1v3r" Nardi, Mark "P0ker H0" Kroon and, of course, the Poker Brat himself.

Laura Schultz was crowned the champion of the event which raised $110,000 for Agrace HospiceCare – “a nonprofit, community-based hospice dedicated to providing expert physical, emotional and spiritual support to patients and families dealing with life-limiting conditions.”

Hansen Hot in Macau

Poker Portal Asia reports that some of the poker's biggest names including Phil Ivey, John Juanda, Gus Hansen, Andrew Robl, the local hero Winfred Yu and a contingent of Asian businessmen have gathered at the StarWorld Macau’s Poker King Club for some high stakes poker action. HKD $10,000/$20,000 games are running in 24-hour sessions and Hansen is the one with the biggest profit so far.

According to Hansen's blog, he was up by HKD $30 million (USD $3.86 million) after the third session. Andrew Robl was also reported to have been doing rather well, with an increase of HKD $3 million (USD $386,000) after the third day. Winfred Yu is also doing good being up by HKD $1 million (USD $129,000).

You can follow all the Macau Big Game action on Poker Portal Asia.

Wire Act Revision Increases Hope of Online Poker Legalization in the US

The recent change in U.S. Department's of Justice perception of the federal Wire Act of 1961 triggered new debates of online poker legalization in the States. On December 23, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it revised a long-standing opinion on the federal Wire Act of 1961 according to which all forms of Internet gambling were illegal. However, the new approach states that the Wire Act applies only to sports wagering, not to the sale of lottery tickets over the Internet.

The new DoJ explanation of the Wire Act was sought by the New York and Illinois lotteries who are now considering selling the State lottery tickets online. The new Wire Act perception also effects horse racing, casino gaming, and poker - all of which are now in hopes of becoming legal online businesses. However, the biggest issue still standing in the way of legal online gaming in the United States is the way in which the legislation will be passed.

James Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, spoke confidently about the prospects of online poker on CNBC. He said he was confident that internet poker will become a legal and regulated industry in 2012 and if Congress fails to come up with the bill, then the process will take the “state by state” path.

“It should be at the federal level, because that's where we can best regulate, prevent fraud, prevent underage gambling and get rid of the illegal gaming sites that still exist today with one uniform regulatory framework,” Murren said. “If the federal government fails to act, state after state after state will approve Internet poker and it will proliferate on that basis.”

However, not everyone in the gambling business have such high hopes of online gaming becoming legal in the nearest future. I. Nelson Rose, a gambling lawyer, consultant, and a senior professor at Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa, California says that despite the DoJ's ruling the new legislation will not hit as fast as many anticipate.

“This can't possibly be done that fast if it takes action of the legislature,” Rose says. “This ruling says the main federal statute doesn't apply to gambling that is legal under state law, except for sports-betting interstate. Therefore, we're going back to the way things have always been historically and traditionally — which is, it's up to the states to decide their public policy, not the federal government to impose its public policy on the states.”

International Game Technology to Buy DoubleDown Casino

One of the world's leading manufacturers of gaming machines and systems as well as online and mobile gaming, International Game Technology (IGT), announced plans to acquire Double Down Interactive LLC – a company running one of the most popular Facebook gaming applications – DoubleDown Casino. The Sacramento Bee reports that “the total consideration includes $250 million in cash, $85 million in retention payments over the next two years and up to $165 million in cash payable over the next three years subject to Double Down meeting certain financial performance targets. IGT expects to fund the transaction from cash on hand.”

DoubleDown Casino is currently one of the most popular social media games and the biggest online casino in the world with 4.7 million monthly active users. The application offers all of the most popular casino games including blackjack, slots, slot tournaments, video poker, roulette as well as a number of other casino games.

European Poker Awards Announce Nominees

The 11th annual European Poker Awards will take place at the end of the month – January 25th at the Aviation Club de France in Paris – rewarding the best of European poker in nine different categories. Jake Cody, Eugene Katchalov, Bertrand Grospellier, Pius Heinz, Andrey Pateychuk, and Sam Trickett are those nominated for the Player of the Year award.

Other categories will reward the Rookie of the Year, Leading Lady of the Year, Best Tournament Performance, Internet Player of the Year, and the Best Event of the Year. During the award ceremony a poker personality of the year will be honored as well by receiving the Rob Gardner Memorial Award. The Lifetime Achievement Award will also be handed out to one winner, although the nominees for the award will only be announced during the award ceremony.

You can find all the nominations and the nominees by visiting the European Poker Awards official page.

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