Feb 14 2012

Lock Poker adds Portuguese poker pro Pedro Maia to roster

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One of the flagship online poker rooms on the Merge Gaming Network, Lock Poker, has been very busy thus far in 2012, signing a slew of talented poker players to their already impressive roster of Team LockPRO Elite. The latest addition to the roster at Lock Poker is Pedro Maia, better known as “pls3betme” in online poker circles.

Maia is a Portuguese poker player who has been taking the Portuguese poker circuit by storm over the past two years –Maia managed to cash in every Main Event on the Portuguese Poker Tour, winning the Figueira Poker Tour Main Event. Maia also made a trip to the WSOP this past year and cashed in his first WSOP tournament, a $1,500 NLHE bracelet event.

Jennifer Larson, the CEO of Lock Poker had this to say about the site’s latest addition, “Pedro is an excellent addition to our incredible team of players!”

In a press release on Lock Poker Maia was quoted as saying, “I am delighted to join Lock Poker, a professional team of the highest level, with the Top international and Portuguese players, counting in its ranks with players of international reputation… Lock Poker is a room of the highest quality, to which I hope to bring my best contribution, at the same time as the exchange of experiences in this vast team will allow both personal development, and to Lock Poker itself as a poker room, continuing its growth and increasing brand awareness.”

Fellow Portuguese and Lock Poker pro Francisco “yuranpt” Santos called Maia a “pure young blood horse”. Adding, “He knows what he wants, he sets his goals and he goes after that with passion and determination… Pedro is a close friend of mine and I feel honored to have him with us. We have the same dream to be the 1st Portuguese to win a bracelet.”

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Feb 13 2012

PokerStars receives online poker license in Belgium

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Belgium is the latest country cracking down on illegally operating online poker sites, calling on Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) to block all online poker rooms not licensed under the Belgian Gaming Commission, and given the Casino de Namur’s A+ license. While this was good news for a couple of online poker rooms, many feel it was a terrible blow to the industry as a whole, and to Belgian poker players.

Currently two online poker sites have been granted the coveted license, Partouche.be and PokerStars.be, while the Belgian Gaming Commission has asked that a number of sites be blocked, including European staples like Titan Poker, Everest Poker, and 888 Poker.

The chairman of the Belgian Gaming Commission, Etienne Marique, had this to say about the country’s decision to tighten the reins on the online poker industry, “This is an important step forward for the regulation of online gambling. Not only is the legal framework offering the possibility for operators to offer their online games of chance, but from an economical point of view gambling operators are given opportunities in Belgium.

“And all this in an environment that protects players more than illegal websites do – for example, excluded players cannot play at licensed websites and an average hourly loss is applicable to each player.”

It’s unclear at this time what being “blacklisted” in Belgium means for a site’s future in the country, not to mention that ISP’s have been very reluctant to take such steps as outright prohibiting online poker sites in the past.

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Feb 12 2012

Cezanne’s Card Players sells for whopping sum

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One of the most famous paintings in the world, an 1890’s oil-painting by Paul Cezanne titled “the Card Players” sold for a record $250 million recently according to a Vanity Fair column. The painting is one in a series of five depicting French peasants’ playing cards, created by the French post-impressionist painter, and is considered one of the most recognizable works of art in the world.

The winning bidder on the painting was allegedly the Royal Family of Qatar, having previously been owned by the now deceased Greek shipping tycoon George Embiricos who refused to part with the work until very late in his life. The $250 million price-tag more than doubled the previous auction record for a painting, Jackson Pollock’s painting, No 5, 1948 that sold for £89 million in 2006.

The other paintings in the “Card Players” series are housed in some of the finest museums around the world including the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, the Barnes Foundation museum in Merion, Pennsylvania, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

According to the Vanity Fair report the painting will be shown at the Qatar National Museum; as one art appraiser, Victor Weiner, told Vanity Fair: “You take any art history course and Card Players is likely [to be] in it. It’s a major, major image.”

The Curator of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gary Tinterow, was quoted as saying: “Created in the 1890s while the artist was living at his family’s estate outside Aix-en-Provence, these images capture the character Cezanne admired in the people of the region.

‘”Together the works chart the development of the series as Cezanne strove to achieve the most powerful expression of his motif.”


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Feb 11 2012

Police recover money in Duhamel robbery case

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There was some more good news for Jonathan Duhamel this past week as authorities announced they had recovered about half of the money stolen from the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event champion during a mid-morning home invasion orchestrated by an ex-girlfriend of the young Canadian.

According to the report, officers acting on anonymous tip and found some $80,000 in a mailbox in Longueuil, a suburb of Montreal. The original reports at the time of the crime put the total amount of money stolen at about $160,000 in a mixture of Canadian and Euro bills (some of the money recovered was in British Sterling as well).

When police apprehended the three alleged suspects in the case –Anthony Borque (20), Bianca Rojas-Latraverse (20), and John-Stephen Clark-Lemay (22)—they also recovered a Black Rolex Submariner watch that was also stolen during the robbery; Duhamel’s coveted 2010 World Series of Poker Championship Bracelet was also taken, and has yet to be recovered.

With all three suspects in custody it is still a mystery where the 2010 WSOP Championship Bracelet is, or what the trio decided to do with the one-of-a-kind item. Two of the three defendants were denied bail by the judge in the case, while Borque was allowed bail, with a number of stipulations set forth by the judge.

While not seriously injured during the robbery, Duhamel was beaten and tied-up while the thieves methodically ransacked his home. Duhamel has seemingly put the robbery and beating behind him, having already pocketed over $1 million in tournament winnings in 2012, most coming at the 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) tournament series.

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Feb 9 2012

Brazilian Sports Ministry calls poker “Game of Skill”

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Two organizations fighting to gain poker respectability among the general population (and in laws), one in Brazil and one across the globe, were thrilled with the recent decision by the Brazilian Sports Ministry to include poker in their list of sports, thus making it a game of skill in the country. This ruling is yet another step on the path for poker to be fully recognized as a game of skill around the world, which will hopefully lead to a fully legalized and regulated poker community.

The Brazilian group who led the charge, The Confederação Brasileira de Texas Hold’em (CBTH), was formed in 2009 with the explicit goal of gaining poker respectability in the country of Brazil. The group was instrumental in the ruling, and issued the following statement on the Brazilian Sports Ministry website:

Poker is a competitive discipline, which requires the participant to have intelligence, ability, and intellectual and behavioural skills in order to succeed. The CBTH represents the most extended definition of poker, Texas Hold’em and all the other variants of this game including but not exclusively Omaha, Omaha High / Low, 7 Card Stud, 7 Card Stud High / Low, Razz and Mixed Games.”

Another group, The International Federation of Poker (IFP) has similar goals, but on a more global scale. The IFP was formed in 2009 as well, and boasts 40 separate member countries, and has gained poker “Mind Sport” status by the International Mind Sport Association (IMSA); a very exclusive club that contains only a handful of games, including Chess, Bridge, and Go.

Brazil is set to host the 2016 World Mind Sport Games in 2016 –which will take place after the country hosts the Summer Olympics the same year.

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