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Weekly Poker News In Brief: Sam Stein Regains Player of the Year Lead, Casino Bills Progress

NBC Cancels National Heads Up Poker Championship

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Not everyone has the time to stay on top of all of the news that breaks daily in the poker world, but that doesn’t mean you have to be out of the loop entirely. Every week, Card Player will bring you everything you need to know to stay informed about your favorite events, players and industry happenings.

Here’s a look at this week’s poker news.


Card Player Launches New Poker Tour

In the absence of online poker in the U.S. the demand for live tournaments has increased and a new poker tour was launched on Wednesday to help satisfy that demand – the Native American Casino Poker Tour.

Card Player has partnered with Native American casinos across the country to offer a wide variety of games with buy ins to suit all pockets – with the main event final table streamed live at CardPlayer.com.

The first stop on the tour is at Choctaw Casino Resort, Durant, Oklahoma from December 1 to 11, 2011 with the $930 + $70 main event starting on December 10.


Massachusetts Senate Approves Gaming Expansion

Masslive.com reported Thursday that the state Senate voted to approve a gaming bill that would allow for three casinos and a slot parlor.

The vote ended a six-day period of debate and sends the bill toward a final draft. The state House of Representatives and the Senate will work on a version to send to the governor’s desk.


NBC Cancels National Heads Up Poker Championship

After seven seasons on NBC, Sports Senior Director of Communications Adam Freifeld has announced that the National Heads-Up Poker Championship has been canceled.

According to Wicked Chops Poker, the annual event will not take place in 2012, but NBC has not ruled out the possibility of it returning in the future.

The invitational event at Caesars Palace was a popular staple of the tournament circuit which pitted 64 of the world’s best players against each other in a single-elimination heads-up format. Phil Hellmuth won the inaugural event in 2005 and was followed by notable winners such as Ted Forrest (2006), Paul Wasicka (2007), Chris Ferguson (2008), Huck Seed (2009), Annie Duke (2010) and Erik Seidel (2011).


Doyles Room Acquired By Americas Cardroom

DoylesRoom, the well-known online poker brand previously fronted by poker legend Doyle Brunson, has been acquired by Americas Cardroom.

When visiting DoylesRoom.net (DoylesRoom.com was seized by the U.S. Department of Justice as part of its ongoing crackdown on online poker) players are automatically redirected to AmericasCardroom.net where the FAQ section states, “Over the last few months, DoylesRoom has become one of the most popular online poker sites in the United States thanks to its reputation for superior software and a strong focus on the US market. Americas Cardroom, launched in 2001, was one of the original online poker card rooms.


Sam SteinSam Stein Regains Player of the Year Lead

The European Poker Tour London festival is is the books. The series played host to 30 events, with buy-ins ranging from as low as £300 all the way up to the £20,000 high-roller.

Two key players in the 2011 Player of the Year race had good showing in event no. 12, a £2,000 no-limit hold’em tournament that drew 189 players, creating a $573,085 prize pool.

Sam Stein, who briefly fell to second place in the overall standings, has regained the lead by finishing seventh in this event for $21,257 and earning 171 POY points. He now leads Marvin Rettenmaier by a mere 63 points.


South Florida Pushing for Casino Expansion

A Florida appeals court ruling regarding slot machines licenses spells good news for South Florida gaming, as the industry is on its way toward expansion thanks to a casino bill that would allow three resort casinos in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, according to the Miami Herald.

The ruling suggested that additions to the industry could happen without a referendum vote. With the state gearing up to offer Las Vegas-style games in the future, some of the world’s largest operators, including Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands, have expressed interest in the Miami area.


California Online Poker Association Launches Free Online Poker Site

The California Online Poker Association (COPA) announced Monday the launch of CalShark.com, a free-play online poker site available globally.

The site is operated by COPA, a coalition consisting of 60 California tribal governments and card clubs that operate the majority of the poker tables in the state. CalShark is powered by Playtech and will be supported by Sciplay — a joint venture between Scientific Games.

The CalShark game allows users to invite and add friends, giving the site a path for transitioning to a future Facebook application.