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Week in News Stars NETELLER, WSOP Starting Chips

Online Poker Debacles Continue

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This week in poker news, online poker continues to be in the headlines. However, online sites and poker players are fighting through the mess.

Poker Legislation

According to new legislation, online gambling by any unauthorized domestic or foreign company to citizens in Turkey is forbidden. Austria-based Bwin suspended its business activities in Turkey that incorporated its PokerRoom.com brand. BetssonPoker.com will likely do the same.

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NETELLER signed an agreement with the government that will allow it to return the approximate $55 million that was seized earlier this year during the crackdown on online poker to the company's former United States customers. A distribution plan will be revealed within 75 days. NETELLER has been negotiating with the government to allow it to return funds since February.

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Allyn Jaffrey Shulman encourages all Card Player readers to write their Congressmen. They need to know that American citizens do not appreciate the freedoms that have been infringed upon by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Recently appointed Poker Players Alliance chairman Senator Alfonse D'Amato suggests letting our voices be heard.

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The Neteller Customer Coalition (NCC) is a Yahoo! Group created by former NETELLER customers who have united to exchange information and put pressure on the company to return the approximate $55 million of U.S. citizens' money put on hold by the government. The group was founded by Eric Goldstein, who has around $1,400 stuck in his frozen NETELLER account. The group now consists of over 600 members.

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Online Promotions

Bodog's Calvin Ayre Wild Card series is looking for 12 contestants to compete for the biggest prize, at $2 million, in reality television history. Players can upload a one-minute audition video on Bodog's website. One of the 12 players will win a spot through free satellites on Bodog. The winner will receive $1 million and a contract worth another $1 million to become a member of Team Bodog.

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Full Tilt is looking to reward poker tournament consistency by using a daily progressive jackpot bonus to give players cash. The site is running two Daily Doubt tournaments with a buy-in of $12 that begin at nearly the same time. One dollar from each buy-in is contributed to the jackpot. Players who cash in both tournaments will share 3 percent of the jackpot's prize with the other players who do the same. The average best finish in both tournaments will take 2 percent. If a player makes the final table in both, he or she will receive 20 percent of the jackpot. In the event that a player wins both tourneys, he or she will receive 75 percent of the jackpot's prize pool.

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Tournament Results

Jason Fish of Cedar Rapid, Iowa, won the $82,545 first-place prize at the Heartland Poker Tour's event at the Meskwake Bingo Casino and Hotel in Tama, Iowa. The field consisted of 206 people, who each put up the $1,650 buy-in. The prize pool of $297,804 was a record high for the HPT. The final table will be televised.

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Bodog's Sunday tournament turned out a low number of entrants for the second week in a row and was forced to put an extra $24,000 to meet its $100,000 guarantee. The first-place finisher for $25,000 was "kice."

On Ultimate Bet, Fish991 won the $45,000 first-place prize in the site's $200,000 guarantee. Skattmann was the big winner in the $750,000 guarantee on Full Tilt.

The Poker Stars Million guaranteed event had a turnout of 6,964 players. Power2prut and kuparinen made a by-the-chips chop, but Power2prut won the heads-up match for the extra $30,000. Power2prut won $180,000 and kuparinen received $115,273 for second.

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The first Ladies Professional Poker Tour event took place at the Bicycle Casino's Winnin' O' the Green series. It was a $550 buy-in with a turnout of 91 women. Teresa Sanchez of Bakersfield, California took the $18,200 first prize. The total prize pool was $45,000.

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WSOP

All 2007 World Series of Poker events will begin with double the amount as last year of chips for the event's buy-in. The main event will have $20,000 in starting chips, and the $50,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. event will start with $100,000. Blind levels will also be affected. All changes were made in an attempt to allow more play.

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Miscellaneous

Retired FBI agent Joe Navarro will be giving his Decoding Poker Tells seminar at Caesars Las Vegas on March 31. The eight-hour instruction course will cover topics concerning nonverbal behaviors and how to use other players' "tells" to your advantage. Seating is limited, and the cost, regularly $999, is $799 for Card Player readers. The seminar will include breakfast and lunch.

To reserve a seat or obtain more information, call 800-989-9767.

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James Van Alstyne, J.C. Tran, Bill Edler, Ted Forrest, John Hennigan, J.J. Liu, and Randy Holland are all pros in the top 10 on the Card Player Player of the Year list with at least 1,500 points. All of these pros have major credentials. The year is a quarter of the way through, and these pros have a long year ahead of them to stay in contention to win the title.

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Phil Hellmuth is featured on Card Player TV discussing short-stack play. Hellmuth defines a short stack as one being less than 15 times the size of the big blind.

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The World Poker Tour's World Poker Challenge in Reno starts on Sunday at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino. Mike Simon won $1,052,890 for first place last year after outlasting 591 players in the $5,000 buy-in tournament. The final table will play on March 28. The next WPT event will be the Foxwoods Poker Classic.

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