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The Nightly Turbo: Online Poker Study in Iowa, ESPN's The Nuts, and More

Jason Mercier

The high-stakes action in Macau has been the talk of the poker world this week, but rumors of a $100 million tournament in were killed by a reputable source on Thursday. Meanwhile, a study on Internet poker was issued in Iowa, and ESPN released its latest edition of The Nuts. Read about those stories and more in the Nightly Turbo.

In Case You Missed It

On Dec. 17, Phil Hellmuth will host the 2nd Annual Hellmuth’s Hold’em with Agrace HospiceCare. Here's a look at what the charity tournament is all about.

In a span of two months, poker pro Kane "Nascar_1949" Kalas went from playing $.50/$1 cash games to becoming a regular at $25/$50. Kristy Arnett spoke with the "Poker Phenom" about about playing small pocket pairs in six-max no-limit hold'em cash games in the latest Strategy with Kristy Podcast.

The Global Poker Index released its rankings as of Nov. 28. The top 10 remained unchanged, but Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier is closing in on the top spot.

Iowa Study Could Open Door for Intrastate Online Poker

On Thursday, a study issued by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) outlined several ways the state could set up and regulate the online poker in the state. The report was requested by the Iowa legislature last session to determine the practicality and potential income Internet poker could generate for the state.

The objective of the report was to give the legislature information to work with if it ultimately decided to set up an online poker infrastructure in the next session. For example, based on the projections of the IRGC, approximately $13 million to $60 million in rake was paid annually by Iowa online poker players before Black Friday. Assuming a tax rate of 22 percent, the projections indicate approximately $3 million to $13 million in potential tax revenue for the state annually, according to the IRGC.

The commission also examined the different systems that could be put in place to offer an intrastate platform. The IRGC consulted with several experts to discuss measures and controls for online poker, including age verification, geo-location and money laundering. It also spoke with Iowa Lottery officials to get a perspective from lottery interests of internet poker regulation.

In March, a Senate committee approved a bill designed to make online poker legal in the state of Iowa. However, lawmakers weren't in complete agreement over the bill and requested the IRGC produce a report in order for the bill to be amended.

The full IRGC study can be found at Iowa.gov.

ESPN's The Nuts

The latest edition of ESPN's The Nuts was released Wednesday. The monthly blog post ranks the best poker players in the world at the moment. The 10-person panel includes PokerNews' Editor in Chief Elaine Chaivarlis, PokerNews' Tournament Reporting Manager Don Peters, ESPN's Andrew Feldman, Gary Wise, and Bernard Lee, among others.

Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier held the No. 1 spot for the sixth straight month as he was given six of the 10 first-place votes from the panel. Erik Seidel, who went all of November without cashing in a tournament, landed at No. 2 as he earned three first-place votes. Eugene Katchalov and Ben Lamb were ranked third and fourth, respectively. Lamb gained no ground on the top three despite finishing third in the World Series of Poker Main Event.

The biggest mover in the top 10 was Sam Trickett, who shifted five spots to No. 5 following a win at the Partouche Poker Tour for $1.3 million. Trickett now has more than $4.2 million in winnings in 2011 and recently passed David "Devilfish" Ulliott as Britain's all-time money earner in live poker tournaments.

Trickett's friend and fellow UK pro Chris Moorman picked up the final first-place vote and was seventh on the list, up two spots from last week. Moorman recently became the first player ever to surpass $7.5 million in online tournament earnings and added some more big scores to his total in November.

If you want to find out what the rest of the list looks, check it out at ESPN.com.

World's Richest Poker Tournament = Publicity Grab

In Wednesday's Nightly Turbo, we brought you a story about a rumored $100 million poker tournament in the works in Macau. We were skeptical right off the bat. Are 500 people going to put up $200,000 each to play a tournament when the Super High Roller events at the PCA and Aussie Millions barely reached 30 entrants?

Our doubts were confirmed on Thursday when Tom Hall, CEO of Asia Logic (which owns and operates the Asia Poker Tour), posted his thoughts on TwoPlusTwo.com:

"This to me seems to be utter garbage. Nobody sensible I know in Macau knows anything about it. None of the casinos, poker room managers, big game players, junket room operators or media guys has heard anything credible. You also have to get any poker event approved by the DICJ (Macau regulator) in conjunction with the hosting casino. Also, as gambling on TV is highly restricted in China and promotion of gaming generally frowned upon, why would Chinese institutions support it. Publicity grab."

There you have it. It doesn't appear this will ever get off the ground. It's a shame, too, because we were looking forward to hearing Daniel Negreanu's thoughts on the winner of the event taking over first place on poker's all-time money list.

Check out the entire thread at TwoPlusTwo.

Estrellas Poker Tour Returns for Season 3

Concerns about the future of the Estrellas Poker Tour were eased this week as PokerStars announced the return of the popular Spanish tour for a third season. There were worries that the tour would be cut due to the adoption of new online gambling regulations in Spain, but all doubts were dispelled with the release of the 2012 schedule on Tuesday.

Season 3 will feature five stops across Spain, kicking off in Madrid in January and culminating with the Grand Final in Barcelona in August. Each venue will host a €1,000 + €100 Main Event and a full schedule of side events.

Said Team PokerStars Spain Pro Ana Marquez: "I've only played a few Estrellas, because so far my career has focused on the U.S. Tour, but whenever I've taken part I've enjoyed playing against good players. So I look forward to the beginning of the third season, which will be the first whole season I play, and I'm hoping for some good results!"

Players can qualify for the Estrellas Poker Tour events in online satellites at PokerStars.com. Learn more by reading the PokerStars blog.

PokerStars 10th Anniversary e-Magazine

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, PokerStars has released an e-magazine looking back at the past 10 years of the world's largest poker site. The e-magazine is available in six languages and is packed with stories, interviews from players and people who have worked at PokerStars through the years.

We were especially impressed by the look and feel of the online mag, and the stories are a must-read for anyone who's played at PokerStars in the past decade. One story in particular that made us chuckle involved one-time poker room manager Lee Jones ordering pizzas to be delivered to players at a PokerStars high-stakes limit hold'em game because he was afraid they weren't leaving their seat to get food.

You can download the PokerStars e-magazine at the PokerStars Blog.

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