The World Poker Tour's new super high-roller tournament series, the Alpha8, kicks off this month at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. The event will be televised on FOX Sports 1 next year with two brand new commentators, both of whom were revealed by the WPT on Thursday.
Popular TV personalities Ali Nejad and Olivier Busquet (pictured) will join anchor Lynn Gilmartin as the new faces of the WPT Alpha8 broadcast. The trio will pair up for the first time in Florida and again at each of the $100,000 buy-in tournaments in North America, Europe, Asia and South Africa throughout the year.
“We are thrilled to welcome two of poker’s most thoughtful and outspoken voices to the WPT Alpha8 family,” said World Poker Tour President Adam Pliska. “Over the past decade, both Ali and Olivier have made undeniable contributions to the game of poker, both on and off the felt. With their combination of unsurpassed poker knowledge and outgoing personalities, Ali and Olivier will provide viewers with insightful and entertaining commentary that will ensure the show appeals to a wide audience including both serious poker players and casual fans of the game.”
Nejad brings 10 years of experience to the WPT and is best known as the off-screen announcer for Poker After Dark and as the color commentator on NBC’s National Heads-Up Poker Challenge. Nejad’s other credits include serving as a correspondent for ESPN’s World Series of Poker coverage, and as a commentator for CBS/Velocity’s Epic Poker League.
Like Nejad, Busquet has done work with ESPN's coverage of the World Series of Poker where he was praised for his insightful poker commentary and in-depth analysis of each critical moment. The accomplished poker pro from New York made his name on the virtual felt by becoming the most profitable sot-and-go player in online history with more than $4 million in heads-up profits. Busquet also has a World Poker Tour title to his credit, winning the WPT Borgata Poker Open in 2009.
“World Poker Tour has a strong history of identifying dynamic talent and creating fun and engaging on-air teams whose personalities help draw viewers into the drama inherent in every televised final table,” Pliska said. “With this new cast, we’re confident that Ali, Olivier, and Lynn will continue the tradition created by Mike, Vince, and the rest of the WPT cast over the past 11 seasons.”
The $100,000 buy-in WPT Alpha8 Florida begins Aug. 26. The first episodes from the inaugural event will air on FOX Sports 1 in early 2014.