Daily 3-Bet: Welcome Back PokerStars, Iron Thor, BOM 3 for EPA 15

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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes and a sunglasses-at-night beeline for the afternoon poker news garden state.

Got a tip for a future edition of the 3-Bet? Drop us a note in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find PokerStars getting its official toe back in American waters, Thor Hansen keeps on ticking and the 2015 European Poker Award nominations on the table.

1) Welcome Back, PokerStars

The big buzz this morning? The official return of PokerStars to the United States, obv., with the full launch of the client in New Jersey this morning.

After a successful soft launch where the software bugs, payment processing and server capacities were ironed out the virtual doors were opened full steam as of 12:01 am ET.

And so far, so good. As of 11 am there were close to 170 cash-game players in action and multiple tournaments in progress. Zoom action has been a little slower but things are expected to pick up, naturally, this evening.

Among the more notable moments also to look forward to are Jason Somerville streaming live, Chris Moneymaker incoming and, by the sounds of it, a lot more pros making a pilgrimage to play, too.

Mainstream media has jumped on the story as well with features on ABC news and the NY Times noting the milestone. The Twitter buzz:

It's been a long-time coming and, we hope, only the start of more great things to come. If you live in or visit New Jersey, get your PokerStars account right here.

2) Thor Hansen, Heart of a Lion

Speaking of triumphant returns, every time Thor Hansen plays another poker tournament it's a triumph of the spirit as he continues to battle the terminal cancer he was diagnosed with in 2012.

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Unbreakable.

We've spoken of his iron will and superhuman resilience before, and he just keeps on on defying medical convention and getting more hands in.

This time Hansen was at the Norwegian Poker Championships in Dublin on Friday night when he was admitted to hospital with a racing heartbeat. 

Ranging between 150-300 bpm, Hansen told TV2 the doctors felt it was serious enough they considered stopping his heart and restarting it.

Medication thankfully brought his heart rate down before the defibrillator was necessary, although Hansen, in his typical indomitable style, said he would have given it a go:

"It would be fun to try a defibrillator, it is something I have only seen on film," Hansen said.

Never one to be phased Hansen was back playing a turbo tournament the following day and, of course, he cashed. The legend grows.

3) 2015 European Poker Award Nominations Open

Speaking of award-worthy turns at the felt, the nomination process for the 15th Annual European Poker Awards has opened up with 50+ panelists preparing to put forward nominees in nine award categories this year.

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Award worthy.

Those categories, which are the same as the ones given out for the 2015 American Poker Awards last month in Los Angeles:

  • Poker Moment of the Year 
  • Breakout Performance of the Year
  • Media Person of the Year
  • Event of the Year, buy-in below €2,000
  • Event of the Year, buy-in above €2,000
  • Tournament Performance of the Year
  • Media Content of the Year
  • Industry Person of the Year
  • Poker Innovation or Initiative of the Year

The top four nominees in each category will make the shortlist and a panel of experts will determine the winners the day of the event, which takes place Tuesday, May 3 at the EPT Grand Final.

Why mention this if the voting process isn't open to the public? If you feel a person/performance is particularly worth recognizing you can certainly jog a few memories of the panelists by tweeting at Alex Dreyfus, who we're sure will pass them along.

Besides nominating Thor for every award we might also suggest the 2015 Battle of Malta, which had 1,804 entrants and 3 (!) six-figure winners, for Event of the Year Under €2,000. But that's just us. More on the 2015 EPAs here.

By the way if you're interested in qualifying for the 2016 Battle of Malta for as little as 1c, qualifiers are underway at 888poker already.

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