With the emphasis on the WPT and the WSOPC events, many people tend to forget there are other tours out there that bring the same tournament excitement to poker players around the world. The European Poker Tour has made a significant impact in the casinos of Europe and smaller, sometimes amateur focused tours span the globe. Another poker tour will be starting in June and has some immediate differences to it that may make it very popular among tournament poker players and television viewers alike.
The National Poker League is set to begin their ten week schedule with the Vegas Open on June 2nd at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Not only has the newly unveiled poker room at Caesars been hailed as one of the best poker venues in Sin City (and has already played host to the National Heads Up Poker Championship and the current WSOP Circuit stop here in 2006), the tournament the NPL is putting on promises to be accessible to all players and will be televised. "Televised tournaments generally require huge bankrolls," said Nene Gonzalez, the president of the National Poker League. "What we're striving for is to be the poker tournament for players with smaller bankrolls and lots of game. They may even become television stars in the process."
The ten week tournament will be broadcast in high definition on the INHD Network, one of the most widely distributed high definition television networks on cable today. In each of the ten events, which have a buy-in of $1,000 (with $60 to the house), anyone is welcome to play and the winners of each event move on to series of five heads up matches. These five heads up winners will then have a Final Table showdown. There is bonus money beyond what the players will make from their tournament wins; $125,000 has been added to the prize pool ($25,000 for the semi-finals, and $100,000 for the finals), but only one player will walk away with the grand prize for the inaugural NPL tournament series.
Providing the commentary for the series will be Oliver Nejad and double WSOP bracelet holder Scott Fischman, who should be adept at picking out the up and comers that the series hopes that it will be. They should also disperse some highly informative poker advise, as both are skilled players and represent the "New Generation" of poker players in the 21st century. "We believe Oliver's and Scott's dramatically different styles of poker will make for excellent commentary and great entertainment," stated Gonzalez. The series will also feature information on the competitors, a "Poker Tip Of The Week" from a poker professional, highlight the "Tournament Play of the Day" from that week's event, how to live the "high life" in Las Vegas (which should prove to be interesting) and more details on Caesars Palace itself.
The Vegas Open could be one of the great battlegrounds for poker players without a huge bankroll or sponsorship to make their mark on poker and perhaps take that next step up the ladder. The competition in Las Vegas is tough, so anyone who can come through the wars on the felt to take the Vegas Open championship will surely have some tremendous poker skills. For more details on the tournament itself or to pre-register for the event, check out nplvegasopen.com for more details.
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