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PokerStars Launches North American Tour
After almost two years in the rumor mill, PokerStars announced the launch of the PokerStars.net North American Poker Tour Wednesday.
The NAPT will kick off at the Venetian in Las Vegas Feb. 20-24 with a $5k buy-in event at the end of the casino’s popular Deep Stack Extravaganza Series.
Just one other event has been announced, at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut Apr. 7-11.
However, Head of PokerStars Live Jeffrey Haas said other dates in the U.S. and Canada would be announced in the near future.
“We’re going to be going to some beautiful places, putting on some exciting poker tournaments and hopefully having some fun non-poker events as well,” he said.
The tour will be filmed by ESPN World Series of Poker producers 441 Productions and hosted by model and spokesperson Joanna Krupa of Dancing with the Stars fame, although a TV air deal has yet to be confirmed.
While the World Poker Tour has dominated the North American poker scene for the past eight seasons, Haas believes there is room for competition.
“I think there is so much demand for poker in North America today that there’s room for a number of different operators who are all promoting wonderful poker events,” he said.
PokerStars is promising the tour will attract will the best North American players in the game, including Team PokerStars pros Joe Cada, Greg Raymer, Vanessa Rousso and Daniel Negreanu.
“One thing is for sure, PokerStars knows how to do it right,” Negreanu said. “I’m very excited to play. Being a part of PokerStars we travel all over the world, but it’s going to be nice to have some events at home in Las Vegas and at home in Canada. I think you are going to see a lot of pros there.”
The NAPT Mohegan Sun main event will also feature a $5k buy-in, which Negreanu said the poker world will embrace.
“Considering the economy right now that sounds like a good idea to me,” he said. “It’s a price point that hits a lot more people.”
PokerStars.net has already scheduled daily NAPT Venetian freerolls where players can win the $5,000 seat, plus accommodation, for absolutely nothing.