The Weekly: Groupe Bernard Tapie and the DOJ, PokerStars' 10th Anniversary, and More

The Weekly Turbo

For the week's top stories in poker from India and around the world, you've come to the right place. In this edition of the Weekly Turbo, we bring you an alleged deal in principle between Groupe Bernard Tapie and the Department of Justice in regard to Full Tilt Poker, a milestone Anniversary at PokerStars, and more.

Alan Meltzer Passes Away

On Monday, the poker community was sad to learn that recreational high-stakes poker player Alan Meltzer had passed away. According to friend David "Viffer" Peat, Meltzer died at his home. "It was just his time," Peat wrote via Twitter.

Meltzer was a wealthy music executive who made regular trips to Las Vegas to compete in some of the toughest cash games in the world. In 2009, Meltzer made an appearance on High Stakes Poker and played several pots against the likes of Tom Dwan, Phil Laak, Eli Elezra and Doyle Brunson. He played one memorable pot with Dwan and saw more than $500,000 end up in the middle.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Meltzer's family and close friends. Here are a few reactions from the poker community after learning of Meltzer's death:

PokerStars 10th Anniversary

PokerStars, which will celebrate its 10th Anniversary next month, will mark the milestone by hosting the biggest Sunday Million ever. On Dec. 18, 2011, the site's weekly flagship event will offer a guaranteed prize pool of $10 million — the largest ever for a Sunday Million — and still with a buy-in of just $215. The winner will collect a colossal top prize of at least $2 million.

PokerStars will also be giving away 100 packages to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, which takes place from Jan. 5 through Jan. 14, 2012, in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

"Amazing that it’s been 10 years! I'm very proud of my association with PokerStars, and this December's 10th Anniversary Celebration is going to be a doozy!” said Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu. “There will be tons of cash prizes for bankrolls of all sizes, plus giveaways and a $10 million Sunday Million event.”

Read the story at PokerNews for more info.

Jennifer Harman is the Hottest Woman in Poker

In response to an article in WPT Magazine that listed the “Top 20 Hottest Women In Poker,” Woman Poker Player magazine came up with its own list of the "hottest female poker players" this week. This list, though, isn't ranking women by their physical attributes. Writer Earl Burton orders the women based on their accomplishments at the poker table.

Two-time bracelet winner Jennifer Harman topped the list, and Annie Duke came in at No. 2. Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst was listed third, and Kathy Liebert and Linda Johnson rounded out the top five. Johnson, who was recently voted into the Poker Hall of Fame, doesn’t measure up to the aforementioned women as far tournament earnings go, but we're not about to question the merit of the "First Lady of Poker" on any poker-related top 10 list.

The bottom half of the top 10 was occupied by J.J. Liu, Victoria Coren, Barbara Enright, Lucy Rokach and Cyndy Violette, respectively.

We were a little surprised to see Liv Boeree, Annette Obrestad and Vanessa Rousso missing from the list. Obrestad and Rousso are both among the top five on the all-time money list for women, and Boeree isn't far behind. And where is Shaun Deeb?


Groupe Bernard Tapie Strikes Deal with DOJ

According to a report Tuesday by Subject:Poker, Groupe Bernard Tapie and the U.S. Department of Justice have come to an agreement that could allow for repayment of players at Full Tilt Poker.

The deal, which would allow GBT to continue its acquisition of Full Tilt Poker, is subject to approval by the shareholders of FTP. If the shareholders agree to the sale of the company, the deal with the DOJ will provide for payment of all players worldwide.

According to sources, Tiltware CEO Ray Bitar sent an email to shareholders breaking down the agreement and the next steps needed to complete the acquisition with Groupe Bernard Tapie.

To read the full e-mail from Bitar, check out the story posted at

Pius Heinz joins team PokerStars

On Friday, PokerStars announced that 2011 World Series of Poker November Niner Pius Heinz is the newest member of Team PokerStars. The German poker pro is set to compete for his first bracelet and $8.7 million at the upcoming WSOP Main Event final table.

Heinz, 22, is a rising star in the game with more than $700,000 in online tournament earnings, plus another $100,000-plus in earnings on the live felt. He made his first WSOP final table in a $1,500 buy-in event in June, and followed it up with an impressive run in the Main Event.

“I’m pretty relaxed about the game," said Heinz, who enters the Main Event final table seventh in chips. "There are a lot of tough players left but I’m confident I can win it. Joining PokerStars has given me an extra lift, too. I’m looking forward to being part of the team.”

Heinz joins the likes of Sanda Naujoks, Sebastian Ruthenberg and Boris Becker as a Team PokerStars member from Germany.

Read the full story here at

PokerStars Cracks Down on U.S. Players

In April, PokerStars came to an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice that forced the site to stop taking bets from U.S. players. That decision prompted many Americans to leave the country to resume their poker careers. However, it appears some players have ignored the site's new terms of service and have been playing from their homes in the States.

According to PokerStars VIP Manager Steve Day, several poker players in the U.S. have been logging in and playing real-money games by using Virtual Private Network (VPN), a method by which a player's Internet connection is routed through another country to mask his or her IP address. Day joined the TwoPlusTwo Pokercast last week and said that some players have avoided detection of PokerStars security, but others have had their accounts suspended and funds frozen.

Day says that PokerStars is enforcing the use of VPN networks and, while he isn't sure what the ultimate consequences will be, the penalties could be extremely severe.

“We're not really sure what will happen (to the suspended accounts) yet,” said Day. “The accounts get frozen, and then we wait for guidance from the independent moderator who was appointed by the Department of Justice as to what to do with the funds in these accounts and the ability to play in the future.”

The PokerStars Terms of Service clearly states that real-money play is not allowed from the U.S. under any circumstances. It reads, "Players who attempt to play for real money from inside the US with the aid of VPNs or other technical workarounds will lose their playing privileges and/or funds in their account."

Day recounted one example of a player who was trying to earn Supernova Elite status and was told by friends that it was safe to play on a VPN. The player then had his account suspended and his the status of his funds are now in question.

“Tell all your friends — it’s a mistake to try to do this,” Day added. “Many people are getting caught, and the consequences are severe. We have to enforce the rules.”

Listen to the full interview at TwoPlusTwo.

MGM and Boyd Gaming Stike Deal with Bwin.Party for Online Poker Venture

On Monday, MarketWatch announced that MGM Resorts International and Boyd Gaming joined forces with Bwin.Party to create a new company in anticipation of legalized online gambling in the U.S. The joint venture marks the latest in a long line of companies looking to join the race for a share of the online gambling market in the States.

MGM Chief Executive Jim Murren says that if online poker eventually becomes legalized in the U.S., MGM would be “very interested” in using Bwin’s software to develop sites for their properties.

“We know there are millions of U.S. citizens risking billions of dollars at unregulated, illegal sites,” Murren told MarketWatch. “And there is no way to enforce good behavior, and that has to change.”

Get more on the story here at

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