NAPT Venetian: Final table player profiles

napt-thumb.jpgEight hundred seventy-two players started the tournament at NAPT Venetian. Eight have made the final table.

We have players from all over America ready to sit down and play for the NAPT title.

Sam Stein begins the final table with the chip lead.

NAPT Venetian final table player profiles

Seat 1 : Dan Clemente, 37, Hernando, Mississippi -- 1,345,000 chips
Dan Clemente first started playing poker while he was in the Marine Corps, stationed in southern California. After leaving the Marines, he started working in the restaurant business as a general manager but turned to poker full time around eight years ago. He plays a little bit online but prefers the live cash and tournaments. His biggest result before the NAPT Venetian final was winning $64,000 at a tournament in Biloxi last year. He bought in to this event after cashing in a tournament in LA last week. "I'm excited about being in the final,"he said. "I'm one of the shorter stacks though, so I'm going to have to double up fairly early to have a chance of winning."

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Dan Clemente

Seat 2: Sam Stein, 22, Henderson, Nevada -- 6,145,000 chips
Sam Stein is a confident 22-year-old professional poker player who came up through the online ranks and began trying his luck in the brick and mortar world as soon as he turned 21. Since then, he's managed to collect more than $400,000 in career tournament earnings; not bad for a single year on the circuit. Stein's most recent live cash occurred last month down at the Caribbean Adventure, where he finished runner-up in a $5,000 buy-in no limit hold'em side event, good for a $168,390 payday. Stein grew up in Los Angeles, but currently resides in Henderson, Nevada, just outside Las Vegas. He's been playing poker for four years and enters most major events with buy-ins of $5,000 or higher. The youngster is excited about the opportunity to add yet another big score to his tournament resume.


Sam Stein

Seat 3: Thomas Fuller, 27, Boulder, Colorado -- 4,735,000 chips
Former psychology student Thomas Fuller has been a poker pro for over five years but it was October 2007 when he came to international attention, coming fourth at the European Poker Tour event in Baden. After venturing into sports betting, Fuller is now back on poker full-time. He is also currently writing a book themed around poker and dating. He reckons the two subjects have a lot In common. "They're both about trying to get lucky, catch the big hand, hope things finally work out," he said. The book will also take in Fuller's experiences this year and 2010 has already gotten off to a good start. In addition to the NAPT Venetian final, Fuller came second in a Borgata heads-up tourney in January, as well as third place in an online heads-up event.

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Thomas Fuller

Seat 4: "Miami" John Cernuto, 66, Las Vegas, Nevada --1,310,000 chips
At 66 years old, Miami John Cernuto is far and away the elder statesman of the NAPT Venetian Main Event final table. A 30-year veteran of the game, Cernuto started taking poker seriously back in 1981. He'd been working as an air traffic controller until the infamous union strike of 1981, in which then President Ronald Reagan fired 11,000 of Cernuto's colleagues, as well as Cernuto himself. The result of the strike necessitated a career change, so Cernuto turned to poker for his livelihood. $4.7 million worth of tournament cashes later, suffice it to say Cernuto made a wise decision. One of the game's most respected old schoolers, Miami John has three World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets to his name, in addition to an impressive 47 WSOP cashes. In addition to his World Series success, Cernuto has twice cashed on the European Poker Tour (EPT); first at the 2009 Caribbean Adventure (46th - $30,000 USD) and then last April at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo (31st - $59,000 USD).
This father of two calls Las Vegas home and is undoubtedly the best known player at the final table. Cernuto will unbag 1,310,000 in chips at the final table.

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Seat 5: Yunas Jamal, 30, Henderson, Nevada -- 3,940,000 chips
Software engineer Jamal grew up in Berlin, Germany, and now that he's done so well at NAPT Venetian can't resist heading back there next week to take part in the EPT Berlin. The 30-year-old immigrated to the States with his parents when he was 19 but regularly visits Berlin for holidays. He has been playing poker for five years and has had reasonable success in live tournaments. He chopped a 600-player $500 tournament at the Venetian last summer winning $23,006 and came third in a Caesar's Palace tourney won by Barry Shulman in 2008. Already guaranteed a minimum payday of over $60,000, making the NAPT Venetian final is his best result to date.

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Yunus Jamal

Seat 6: David Paredes, 30, New York, NY --4,700,000 chips
Paredes has been playing poker since high school but only recently started playing full time. He originally studied law and "in true Rounders fashion" paid for his whole law school education through poker. After graduating from Harvard and NYU, he started working for a hedge fund company in New York. Around six months ago however, Paredes' life changed completely when his girlfriend Caitlina landed a job in Boston. Paredes gave up his job, moved in with Caitlin in Boston and now makes a living playing cash games online and live. Paredes rarely plays tournaments but successfully won a seat to next week'ss European Poker Tour event in Berlin because his friend Zac Allemedine, winner of the NAPT Venetian charity event, had already qualified.

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David Paredes

Seat 7: Tom "Kingsofcards" Marchese, 22, Parsipity, New Jersey -- 2,370,000 chips
Tom Marchese is a name you might not yet be familiar with yet, but if you follow the tournament circuit, you soon will be. Primarily an online cash game grinder, Marchese spent the past couple of years fine tuning his skills under the screen name "kingsofcards" emptying many opponents' bankrolls in the process. He started playing professionally around the age of 20 while still in college, and so far the decision has proven to be a wise one. Marchese has already earned well over $350,000 in online multi-table tournaments, though it wasn't until late last month that he nabbed his first career live result at the Borgata in Atlantic City. Marchese took 3rd in the $3,300 buy-in no limit hold'em event championship event at the Borgata Winter Open, jumpstarting his live tournament career. "I have the same feeling now as I did back then (during the Borgata tournament). Let's just hope the run-good continues," Marchese said late on Day 3. Already guaranteed a minimum payout of over $60,000 USD, it looks as though Marchese's got this live poker thing figured out. He'll begin the final table with 2,370,000 in chips.

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Tom Marchese

Seat 8: Eric  Blair, West Hartford, Connecticut -- 1,690,000 chips
Online whiz kid Eric Blair is force to be reckoned with. The 24-year-old has been playing poker for about four years and has already racked up almost $2 million in online multi-table results. The youngster has only just begun terrorizing live tournaments, with his biggest cash coming last September at the Borgata Poker Open in Atlantic City, where he finished eighth in the $3,300 championship event, collecting $87,345 in prize money.
When asked his primary profession, Blair replied, "This is it." He bought into the NAPT Venetian Main Event directly and looks to turn that investment into a whole lot more with a win on Wednesday afternoon.

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Eric Blair

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in North American Poker Tour