The Nightly Turbo: GPI Player of the Year Award, Thor Hansen Charity Event, and More

The Nightly Turbo

Once again, the poker community has rallied together to raise money for a great cause. This time, it's for one of our own. In this edition of the Nightly Turbo, we bring you a charity tournament benefiting the Thor Hansen Fund, as well as a new poker Player of the Year award, and more.

In Case You Missed It

Are you planning a trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil for the PokerStars.net Latin American Poker Tour? Lynn Gilmartin tells you everything you need to know about the city in the latest PokerNews Jet Set.

Twenty-seven players survived Day 2 of the World Poker Tour Venice Grand Prix. Online superstar Marcel Bjerkmann was leading the way, but former November Niner James Akenhead wasn't far behind.

The tournament scene in Las Vegas is heating up in February. Donnie Peters takes an in-depth look at the Las Vegas-based tournament series for the next month in The Las Vegas Grinder.

Global Poker Index Player of the Year Award

A brand new Player of the Year award was introduced to the poker world on Wednesday. PokerNews and Federated Sports + Gaming (FS+G) together announced the launch of the Global Poker Index Player of the Year Award, which will be presented annually to the player who has the strongest performance in live tournaments around the globe during the calendar year.

The GPI POY will track tournament results by using the USA Today Global Poker Index point system. The 2012 GPI POY will be awarded to the player with the most points between Jan. 1, 2012 and Dec. 31, 2012.

“We are thrilled to be able to apply the precision and quality of the USA Today GPI formula to a Player of the Year race,” said Annie Duke, executive vice president of FS+G and commissioner of the Epic Poker League. “The 2012 GPI POY will showcase the single player at the apex of the game.”

Read more at PokerNews.com.

Help Raise Money for a Legend

Last month, the poker world was shocked to learn that the "Godfather" of Nordic poker, Thor Hansen, had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The 64-year-old poker legend was told by doctors in Los Angeles that the cancer was untreatable and he likely has less than two years to live.

The poker community has responded by organizing a charity event hosted by Betfair.com to raise money for Hansen's medical expenses. The $1 buy-in tournament will be held on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 2130 CET (1530 ET), with the entire $10 in rake going to the Thor Hansen Fund. Betfair will double the tournament fees collected up to $2,500.

If you'd like to participate in this generous cause, more information can be found at PokerNews.com.

Get Your "Thrill" out of Bubble Protection

BubbleProtection.com, a company which offers tournament players the opportunity to purchase insurance against busting on the money bubble, announced a new addition to its team on Tuesday. Will "The Thrill" Failla, who has more than $4 million in live tournament earnings, signed on to join online poker superstar Chris Moorman as a company spokesperson.

“I am very pleased to associate myself with Bubble Protection,” said Failla, who leads the World Poker Tour Season X Player of the Year race. “I have known and trusted the principals of the company for many years. I understand and believe them when they state that Bubble Protection is a sustainable business model while simultaneously being positive EV for their users. I am a true supporter of the technology and I anxiously await the time when I can use Bubble Protection in the United States. Until that time I will proudly endorse the product in my travels both here and abroad.”

Bubble Protection is an online poker protection tool designed to capitalize on the hundreds of thousands of online poker tournaments played globally each week. The service is available to all non-U.S. players for all regularly scheduled tournaments on PokerStars, Party Poker and the iPoker Network.

Read the full press release for more.

PokerStars Granted Operating License in Belgium

PokerStars and Circus Groupe announced Wednesday that PokerStars.be has been granted a full operating license in Belgium. Going forward, Belgian players will be allowed to take part in all of PokerStars' international tournaments, including the Sunday Million, World Championship of Online Poker and Spring Championship of Online Poker, as well as cash games.

PokerStars partnered with Circus Groupe in 2010 to offer online gaming to Belgian players under the guidance of the Belgian Gaming Commission. That agreement, which began as a test phase, now permits PokerStars.be to offer online gaming services while the Belgian Gaming Commission actively prevents unlicensed operators from accessing Belgian customers.

“PokerStars is proud to be among the first fully-licensed operators in Belgium,” said PokerStars Head of Business Development Guy Templer. “We are delighted to be able to offer a locally licensed product to Belgian players through our partnership with Circus Groupe. This furthers our goal to obtain licenses in all newly-regulated markets and we look forward to working with the Circus Groupe and Gaming Board.”

PokerNews.com has more on this story.

APPT Returns to Cebu

The PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) is returning to Cebu, Philippines, for the final leg of the Season 5 schedule. Players will hit the felts from April 24 through 30 at the Waterfront Airport Hotel and Casino in Cebu for the PHP 100,000 buy-in Main Event, along with a series of side events.

Team PokerStars Pro Vivian Im will return to Cebu to defend her title in the Main Event. Last season, Im became the first woman to win an APPT Main Event by outlasting a field of 236 players, capturing a top prize of PHP 5.81 million.

Check out PokerNews.com for the full APPT Cebu schedule.

Elie, Campos Denied Motions to Dismiss Charges

Chad Elie and John Campos, two of the men indicted by the Department of Justice on Black Friday, have been denied a motion to dismiss all counts under the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA) and the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIEGA) by Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan.

Attorneys for Elie and Campos filed the motion on Monday, arguing that the DOJ's new interpretation of the Wire Act placed poker outside the scope of the IGBA and UIGEA. They also claimed that poker is not gambling. In response, the DOJ submitted a supplemental memorandum stating that their opinion of the Wire Act "is not relevant to the Court’s analysis of the pending motions and has no other meaningful implications for this case.”

On Tuesday, Kaplan chose not to dismiss any of the charges against Elie and Campos, stating “it would be inappropriate [to dismiss any count] for lack of proof at this point in time.” Their trial is scheduled for March 2012.

Read more at PokerNews.com.

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