Thursday, January 07, 2010

PokerStars Announces North American Poker Tour, by Dan Cypra - 7th January 2010

Look out, North America! Long absent poker events sponsored by PokerStars, the continent will host the North American Poker Tour (NAPT) beginning on January 20th at the Venetian, with another stop planned for Mohegan Sun.

Model Joanna Krupa, who was introduced to the PokerStars family during the fourth installment of the “PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge,” will serve as the NAPT’s on-screen host. A television deal is in the works and PokerStars officials have employed 411, the same company that produces the World Series of Poker (WSOP) on ESPN, to create each episode. The identity of a television partner should be released in the next two weeks.

PokerStars players from the United States and Canada currently have to hop on an airplane and travel to far away lands for PokerStars-sponsored tournaments. PokerStars-backed series include the European Poker Tour (EPT), Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT), Russian Poker Tour (RPT), Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT), Italian Poker Tour (IPT) Czech-Slovak Poker Tour (CSPT), Australia New Zealand Poker Tour (ANZPT), and U.K. and Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT).

At the Venetian in Las Vegas, the final tournament of the casino’s Deep Stack Extravaganza will be the $5,000 buy-in NAPT Main Event. The fun in Sin City will take place from February 20th to 24th and side events will also play out. From Las Vegas, PokerStars NAPT officials will travel 2,600 miles due east to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut. The tournament series in the popular East Coast casino will see its Main Event held from April 7th to 11th as the kickoff of a brand new poker festival.

Negreanu commented in a press release furnished by the world’s largest online poker site, “I'm really looking forward to the launch of the NAPT. PokerStars.net has done an excellent job sponsoring meaningful tournaments around the world with the EPT, LAPT, APPT, and various other local tours – and it’s exciting to see them coming to my home town of Las Vegas! With the addition of the NAPT, I'll have a chance to play some tournaments on home soil and I'm very excited about that.” 2009 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Cada and Team PokerStars Pro member Vanessa Rousso are among the bevy of site pros who are expected to turn out.

Technically, the first tournament of the NAPT was the 2010 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, which is ongoing from the Atlantis Resort and Casino across the harbor from Nassau in the Bahamas. Satellites to the Venetian and Mohegan Sun tournaments will take place on PokerStars, which happily accepts players from the United States. Besides Cada, other WSOP Main Event champions to call the site home include Chris Moneymaker (2003), Greg Raymer (2004), Joe Hachem (2005), Peter Eastgate (2008), and Tom McEvoy (1983).

In North America, the NAPT will compete against several longstanding brands such as the World Poker Tour (WPT) and WSOP Circuit. The WPT is in the midst of filming its eighth season, the first with the backing of Party Gaming, which purchased the rights to the series in October. Poker Hall of Fame member Mike Sexton and actor Vince Van Patten continue to bring the WPT to life each week on Fox Sports Net. The WSOP Circuit has been crisscrossing the United States since 2004, stopping at various Harrah’s properties along the way. Circuit staffers are now camped out in Tunica, Mississippi for the fifth stop of the 2009-2010 season. The series gets underway in the Deep South on January 20th from Harrah’s Tunica.

Krupa has graced the covers of a handful of brand-name magazines, including “FHM,” “Maxim,” “Playboy,” and “Stuff.” She appeared on Season 9 of the ABC reality series “Dancing with the Stars” and also tested her sports skills in the network’s “Superstars.” Krupa defeated 9/11 first responder Mike Kosowski on the fourth episode of the “Million Dollar Challenge;” Kosowski would later go on to defeat Negreanu and earn the $1 million grand prize.

Additional stops for Season 1 of the NAPT will also be announced. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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