December 17th – Weekly News Update

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Welcome back to another edition of our Weekly News Update. I’m your host, Sean Gibson, and we’ll be talking about the biggest headlines for the week. Let’s get to the news!

On Thursday morning, Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas told Poker News Daily that the bill introduced by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid legalizing and regulating online poker is dead. A move to add the bill’s language to the tax relief act debated in Congress this week failed to come to fruition.

Pappas told Poker News Daily that a highly charged debate over the tax bill was largely to blame:

“When the tax package fell through and things became much more political for it – not related to our bill – it became clear that another controversial addition to the tax bill could sink it.”

Reid’s bill would have opened the online poker market in the United States to current operators like Caesars Entertainment, which owns the rights to the annual World Series of Poker. Pappas added that hope is not lost:

“The online poker bill that was floating around needs some improvement, so the PPA wants to go back to Senator Reid [in 2011] and talk about how we can improve on his current draft. There’s going to be a renewed focus in the Senate and we’ll be taking some of the legislation in a different direction so that’s it not focused on the Financial Services Committee, where we have a known opponent.”

Party Gaming co-founder Anurag Dikshit, who admitted to violating the Wire Act of Nineteen Sixty-One two years ago, was sentenced to one year of probation by a New York court on Thursday, according to Forbes. He has also coughed up three hundred million dollars and agreed to cooperate in an ongoing Federal investigation.

U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff determined Dikshit’s fate on Thursday and the possibility of two years behind bars hung in the balance. In the end, Rakoff told the court, “I am persuaded that no jail time is appropriate here.”

Dikshit’s admission marked one of the first times that online poker has ever been associated with the Wire Act, which has traditionally applied to sports betting. In October Two Thousand Nine, Dikshit sold his remaining shares in Party Gaming for around two hundred million British Pounds, which amounted to a twenty eight percent stake.

Party Gaming vacated the U.S. market in 2006 after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. The publicly traded company has since inked a non-prosecution agreement with the United States Government and forked over a one hundred five million dollar fine.

Last week, PokerStars announced that the mysterious high-stakes phenom Isildur1 had signed on to become the latest member of Team PokerStars Pro. At the same time, a new promotion, the SuperStar Showdown, was launched, allowing all comers to take on Isildur1 in a nosebleed stakes heads-up match. On Tuesday, Isildur1′s first opponent was revealed.
This Sunday at Six PM Eastern Time, Isaac Haxton will put one hundred fifty thousand dollars on the line as he takes on Isildur1 at four tables of Fifty / One Hundred No Limit Hold’em. Haxton is well known throughout the poker community and, in addition to his cash game success, has put together an impressive record on the live tournament circuit.

The matches will last either twenty five hundred hands or until one of the players goes bust, whichever happens first, and the winner is the player who ends up with the most money. Anyone who is willing to pony up fifteen hundred big blinds can issue a challenge to Isildur1 by e-mailing PokerStars.

Full Tilt Poker pro Jonathan “xMONSTERxDONGx” Karamalikis bested a field of two hundred eighty nine players to win the Asia Pacific Poker Tour Grand Final in Sydney, Australia last weekend. The twenty two year old online superstar from Adelaide earned four hundred fifty nine thousand Australian Dollars, his biggest score ever.

The star-studded final table included Team PokerStars Pro member Daniel Negreanu, live poker Triple Crown winner Roland de Wolfe, and former APPT champion Eddy Sabat. Negreanu, who took a short stack to the final table, was the first to exit after running top pair into de Wolfe’s set of threes. His ninth place finish earned him thirty-six thousand Australian Dollars. By the way, De Wolfe finished in eighth place.

Staying with the live tournament circuit, PokerStars announced details on Thursday for Season Four of the Latin American Poker Tour. The fourth LAPT season will begin in February and has five events on the schedule so far, including stops in Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile, and Colombia.

The new LAPT Player of the Year awards will recognize excellent performances throughout the season. The awards, much like the PokerStars European Poker Tour awards, will be handed out at the end of the season based on results in not only Main Events, but also most of the side events. The EPT gives trophies yearly to the top overall player as well as the top Omaha player, Mixed Games player, heads-up player, and qualifier. There is also an award given to the country that performs the best during the season.

The first stop of Season Four will be in Sao Paulo. Here’s a look at the schedule so far:

February 16-20: Sao Paulo, Brazil (R$5,000 buy-in)
March 17-20: Vina Del Mar, Chile ($1,100 buy-in)
April 12-17: Lima, Peru ($2,500 buy-in)
June 1-5: Rosario, Argentina ($2,500 buy-in)
August 3-7: Bogota, Colombia ($1,100 buy-in)

Thanks for tuning in to the Poker News Daily Weekly Update and be sure to check back with us every day for the latest in poker news.

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