NAPT to debut on ESPN2 tonight

napt-thumb.jpgThe newest poker tour in North America is about to meet the world's most prestigious sports network for some primetime televised poker. Tonight at 10pm ET, ESPN2 will air the first episode highlighting the PokerStars North American Poker Tour's inaugural stop at The Venetian in Las Vegas.

[Note: This blog post contains some spoilers, so if you're the kind of person who likes to go in fresh, you might want to click right out of here and go look at something maybe a picture of Audrey Hepburn.]

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The NAPT event at The Venetian featured a $5,000 Main Event and $25,000 Invitational High Roller Bounty Shootout, both of which will appear in upcoming ESPN2 broadcasts.

The $5,000 NAPT Venetian Main Event drew a staggering 872 players. Some of the top names in the game, including Team PokerStars Pros Daniel Negreanu and Chris Moneyaker, showed up to fight for the $4 million prize pool. Among the players who finished in the money: Team PokerStars Pros Vanessa Rousso, Tom McEvoy, and Greg Raymer.

The final table was a perfect cross-section of the poker community. A leather-tough collection of internet young guns went up against old school rounders. Under the bright lights and in front of a circle of cameras, the final table put on a poker performance that will keep people talking for some time to come.

When the United States' first NAPT event ended, Tom "Kingsofcards" Marchese claimed the NAPT Venetian title. The 22-year-old from Parsipity, New Jersey started the final table with the fifth-biggest stack, but persevered and came up with the victory. His efforts earned him an instant high-rolling bankroll: $827,648.


Tom Marchese

This event also hosted the first-ever NAPT High Stakes Bounty Shootout. Players competed in small single-table rounds in which the winner moved on to the final table. Online poker prodigy Ashton Griffin won the event for nearly half a million dollars.

The ESPN2 broadcast will feature the top production work of Emmy Award-winning 441 Productions, the same company that produces ESPN's World Series of Poker coverage. Veteran poker commentators Lon McEachern and Norman Chad will call the action. The shows will also feature the work of one of the world's top models, Joanna Krupa.

ESPN2 plans to air two episodes each Monday night for the next five weeks, followed by six more episodes this summer.

If you have something else to do tonight or live somewhere you can't pick up ESPN2, have no fear. After each episode appears, the good folks over at will have the full broadcasts for you.