World Series of Poker Europe

National Deaf Poker Tour A Reality

National Deaf Poker Tour A Reality 0001

At the poker tables, noise is one of the constants that you can count on. From the shuffle of the deck to the riffling of the poker chips, there is a continuous stimuli from these sounds and many others. But what if you couldn't hear all of this action? What if you couldn't hear the verbal declaration of a raise or call? The National Deaf Poker Tour should be the group that answers these issues and many others.

Showing that poker prowess isn't limited to only those who can hear in this world, the National Deaf Poker Tour held their first tournament last weekend at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. 228 runners came to the felt for the inaugural event of the Tour, which was a $100 buy-in tournament. At the end of the action, John Merriman from Cleveland, OH, captured the first championship on the Tour's schedule and the $6,330 first place prize, which paid out twenty seven players.

The logistics surrounding the event were numerous. How the dealers would communicate with the players was probably the largest one of these problems. This was solved by having sign language interpreters on hand to assist in any conversations and each table being equipped with writing materials to convey messages. It allowed for the seamless running of the event and an enjoyable time being had by all.

The National Deaf Poker Tour isn't a one shot event. The Tour plans to have at least three events this year, with the next tournament taking place at the legendary Binion's in Las Vegas just before the start of the Championship Event of the World Series of Poker in July. Another tournament will be conducted in the fall, once again in Atlantic City. Eventually the Tour wants to crown a National Deaf Poker Champion through a points system at each tournament stop.

The National Deaf Poker Tour is the brainchild of six East Coast poker players who wanted to bring together the best hearing impaired poker players around. These gentlemen, Nathan Montoya, Jarrod Musano, Andy Foster, Alok Doshi, Joey Seifner IV and James Rydstrom, attended college together and reunited at various times since their graduation, normally during trips to Las Vegas to play poker. Montoya had the idea in December of 2005 for the National Deaf Poker Tour and, once he told his lifelong friends about the idea, they signed on and the Tour was born.

While starting small, the National Deaf Poker Tour wants to expand beyond just the three tournaments this year. The Tour wants to become a staple in casinos across the United States, offering events for hearing impaired players and striving to become a solid entity in the tournament world. To learn more about the National Deaf Poker Tour or to register for one of their upcoming events, be sure to visit their website at

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