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The Nightly Turbo: Jason Mercier Tops The Nuts, WPT Poker Readers' Awards, and More

Jason Mercier

Phew. We made it through a day without an indictment, a guilty plea or a bankruptcy filing. However, there was still plenty going on around the poker world, including the release of ESPN's The Nuts rankings, WPT Magazine's Readers' Awards winners, and more.

In Case You Missed It

Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian continued to unload shares of MGM Resorts International this week. For the latest on MGM, as well as Caesars' 4Q revenues, check out Inside Gaming.

Vanessa Selbst surged into the top 5 of the Global Poker Index this week. Mickey Doft takes a look at the biggest movers and shakers on the GPI.

Last year, several participants of the Montreal Open were left empty-handed after the event's sponsor, Full Tilt Poker, failed to pay the winners. Chad Holloway recently spoke with Morden C. Lazarus who played a major role in organizing the event.

The 2012 World Series of Poker Circuit Africa came to a close this week. For a complete look at all the winners, check out our recap.

What adjustments need to me made when transitioning from online cash games to live cash games? In the latest Strategy with Kristy podcast, Kristy Arnett talks to two live poker coaches, along with their current student, about the major differences between the two settings.

ESPN's The Nuts

The latest edition of ESPN's The Nuts was released Thursday. 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.

Jason Mercier held the top spot in the rankings for the ninth consecutive month, receiving seven of the 10 first-place votes from the panel. Mercier has been quiet on the tournament scene in 2012 but he has supposedly booked some major cash game wins during his travels, most recently at the Commerce Casino in L.A.

Erik Seidel and Phil Ivey landed at No. 2 and No. 3 in the rankings, respectively. Seidel has been slumping a bit this year, at least by his standards, but Ivey stormed back onto the live tournament scene by taking 12th place in the Aussie Millions Main Event and winning the $250,000 buy-in Aussie Millions Super High Roller. Ivey made his return to the U.S. last week at the World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic but bubbled the Main Event in 55th place.

Rounding out the top five in this month's rankings were Eugene Katchalov and Jonathan Duhamel. The 2011 WSOP Main Event champ moved up three spots following an impressive finish at the LAPC $5,100 no-limit hold'em event last week.

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

The Votes Are In

The World Poker Tour Magazine readers have spoken. On Thursday, the U.K. publication unveiled the winners of the 2011 WPT Poker Readers' Awards, which will be featured in the March issue of World Poker Tour Magazine.

Among the honorees were November Niner Sam Holden for Best British Player, Ben Lamb for Best International Player, and Tatjana Pasalic for Best Poker Personality. Probably the biggest surprise went to the U.K.'s Kevin "kevsteele" Steele for Best Online Player. Steele, who won the PokerStars Sunday Million twice within a four-month period last year, beat out top online grinders like Chris "Moorman1" Moorman, Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen and Jordan "jymaster11" Young.

AwardWinnerRunner Up
Best British PlayerSam HoldenJake Cody
Best International PlayerBen LambErik Seidel
Best Online PlayerKevin "kevsteele" SteeleMickey "mement_mori" Petersen
Best UK Card RoomDusk Till DawnCircus Casino
Best Online ForumA World of PokerPuntersLounge
Best Poker PersonalityTatjana PasalicKara Scott

For a closer look at the winners, check out WPTMag.com.

Cruisin' for a Brusin'

According to reports out of Cyprus, a group of elderly women have been summoned to court to face gambling charges stemming from a 2009 police raid.

It's estimated that 40 women were playing a friendly small-stakes game of poker and bridge when police arrived to break up the game, according to the daughter of a 98-year-old woman who received a court summons this week. The women now face up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine, but most of the women are "amused" by the matter, according to reports.

"My mother has never done anyone harm and we hope she continues playing because it keeps her mind sharp," said Yioula Diakantoni, the daughter of the 98-year-old.

Kudos to the Cyprus police for getting these scallywags off the streets.

The Associated Press has the story.

Chiligaming Merges with Poker770

It's been an eventful three weeks at Chiligaming headquarters. The French online gaming operator has been working hard to enhance its brand in the U.S., and on Thursday the company announced that its iPoker-based platform ChiliPoker.com was being moved over to Poker770.com.

Chiligaming CEO Alexandre Dreyfus announced on his blog that the migration over to Poker770 is expected to be complete by Friday, March 2. All Chilipoker accounts will automatically be transferred over to Poker770 as soon as players log in to the Chilipoker client, and Dreyfus assured players that all bankrolls and player points will be safe

The announcement comes just weeks after the company agreed to provide a free-to-play poker platform for the Las Vegas Golden Nugget, followed by a deal to offer its business-to-business gaming platform to Bally Technologies.

Read more at PokerNews.com.

Duhamel Leads Global Poker Index Player of the Year

Team PokerStars Pro Jonathan Duhamel increased his lead in the Global Poker Index Player of the Year standings this week. The award, which is presented by PokerNews, honors the player who has the strongest performance in live tournaments during the calendar year, according to the USA Today Global Poker Index point system.

Duhamel finished second to Vanessa Selbst in the $5,100 no-limit hold'em event at the 2012 L.A. Poker Classic for $121,115, marking his fourth six-figure score in 2012. Duhamel has 552.10 points in the GPI POY, nearly double the total of his closest competitor, Faraz Jaka.

Jaka jumped three spots to No. 2 in the rankings after third place finish in the same $5,100 LAPC event. Jaka has now made three final tables in 2012, including a third-place finish at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event for $755,000.

Sam Chartier, Jason Koon and Ruben Visser rounded out the top 5, respectively. Here's a look at the Top 10 of the Global Poker Index Player of the Year standings:

GPI Player of the Year Top 10

PlacePlayerTotal ScoreChange in Rank from Last Week
1Jonathan Duhamel552.10--
2Faraz Jaka308.35+3
3Sam Chartier305.80+1
4Jason Koon284.24-2
5Ruben Visser258.04-2
6Oliver Speidel238.23--
7Daniel Chevalier228.35--
8Corey Burbick228.03--
9Luca Pagano227.52--
10Erik Cajelais212.19--

For the full GPI Player of the Year standings, head on over to EpicPoker.com.

The Country Club Murders

Last May, former professional poker player Ernie Scherer III was sentenced to life in prison after a judge found him guilty of murdering his parents. Authorities believed Scherer killed his parents because he faced financial pressure from gambling debts in Las Vegas and stood to collect a $1.5 million inheritance once his parents passed away.

On Saturday, Scherer will be the focus of a 48 HOURS MYSTERY story called The Country Club Murders on CBS. The show will air at 10 p.m. and feature interviews with Scherer's wife and sister, both of whom helped investigators uncover the mysterious second life of their loved one.

Here's a sneak peek:

Life Rolls On

On March 10, Life Rolls On founder Jesse Billauer will join Annie Duke and others for the 2nd Annual "A Night of Poker” at the Hustler Casino in Gardena, Calif. The event will benefit Billauer’s Life Rolls On Foundation, which works to provide the inspirational message of achievement for those with spinal cord injuries.

The $225 No-Limit Hold’em charity tournament will award a 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event seat to the winner. Several other prizes will be handed out during the evening, including a Corum watch to the second- and third-place finishers.

Billauer founded the Life Rolls On Foundation in 1996 after suffering a tragic spinal cord injury while surfing.

More information on the event and the foundation can be found at liferollson.org.

Sh#t Poker Bloggers Say

The "Sh#t People Say" craze on YouTube has spread faster than KevMath retweet. Last month, Sarah Grant brought you Sh#t Poker Players Say. Today, commentator Jesse May posted a "Sh#t Poker Bloggers Say" meme on the PartyPoker Blog:

We're pretty sure all the bases have been covered now. Unless, of course, Howard Lederer wants to record "Sh#t Board Members Say."

One time?

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