When it comes to poker experience, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone in today's field with more of it than Mark Napolitano, who along with his wife, Tina Napolitano, are veterans of the poker world.
They broke into the industry after establishing one of the game’s first successful sites in PokerPages.com, helped grow the game through various endeavors, and nowadays find themselves sailing around the world (pre-pandemic of course) running CardPlayer Cruises alongside Linda Johnson and Jan Fisher.
As for poker, it’s been a lifelong love affair for Mark after he was first exposed to 7-Card Stud in his younger days.
“I started in poker in 1975. I was 15 years old. I used to play a game of snooker in a snooker hall, and those places were full of gambling,” Napolitano explained. It was at that snooker hall that he discovered a game in the back, and before long he became an errand boy of sorts, fetching tea and sandwiches for tips.
According to HendonMob, Napolitano has nearly $200K in tournament earnings dating back to 1997, which was the first year he paid a visit to Las Vegas. While staying downtown at Golden Nugget, he walked across the street to Binion’s Horseshoe, which was hosting the World Series of Poker.
“They were playing 2-7 no-limit with big stacks of $100 bills,” Napolitano said of his first taste of poker in Sin City. “It turned out, I didn’t know at the time, it was Doyle Brunson, Erik Seidel, Steve Zolotow, they were playing six-handed. I stood on that rail for 12 hours and just watched it. I was fascinated.”
Napolitano made his way to San Diego from Las Vegas and plans to compete in MSPT Sycuan tournaments all week long. Time will tell if he has any success, perhaps starting here in the $360 Regional Event.