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The Poker Year In Review - July 2012

Ray Bitar Surrenders, Euro Ladies Fail In Final Table Push And PokerStars Confirms Full Tilt Deal


Ray BitarThe news the poker world had been waiting for finally materialized – Full Tilt Poker chief executive officer Ray Bitar surrenders to U.S. authorities.

Perhaps unsurprisingly he pleaded not guilty and was eventually released on bail.

Despite this the poker world kept on turning and the last week or two of the World Series of Poker continued in Las Vegas provided some of the biggest and best victories of the summer including:

Vanessa Selbst

Greg Merson

Dominik Nitsche

The lead in to the final table of the main event provided one of the most dramatic moments in poker this summer when two European women – Galle Baumann and Elisabeth Hille – bubbled the last nine when it looked a certainty that at least one of them would be the first female player to make the final table since Barbara Enright in 1985.

Greg Merson emerged as the chip leader with nine players set to return in October to play for over $8 million.Greg Merson

Arguably the biggest poker story of the year outside of Black Friday and the return of Full Tilt Poker was Antonio Esfandiari’s $18 million win in the $1 million buy in Big One for One Drop tournament organised by Guy Laliberte.

Real money Zynga poker continued to move closer as company struggled to supply its shareholders with value while Ladbrokes sacked a product director over strategy errors which may have contributed to a halving of the company’s online profits.

The 5050Poker saga continued as its owner opts for liquidation and Betclic buys GigaMedia’s shares in Everest Poker and the once mighty poker room which was a major sponsor at the WSOP might even lose its brand such was its fall from grace.

UK poker player Barry Denson steals poker marathon record from Phil Laak with 120 hours and 20 minutes of poker with no sleep while online poker was banned in Cyprus .

More news we’d all been waiting for arrived when it was finally confirmed that PokerStars had struck a deal to buy Full Tilt Poker and all players would be paid. The poker world rejoiced and Ray Bitar said goodbye to the billion-dollar company he built then destroyed.