The first PokerStars North American Poker Tour (NAPT) Main Event has concluded at the Venetian in Las Vegas. The event brought out poker’s glitterati with names like 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event winner Joe Cada and other Main Event champs like Joe Hachem, Chris Moneymaker, and Greg Raymer. Other superstars in attendance included Hevad Khan, Daniel Negreanu, Kathy Liebert, and Vanessa Rousso. At the end, it was a relatively unknown 22 year-old pro poker player, Tom “kingsofcards” Marchese, who stood above the rest. Marchese won the $5,000 buy-in event and took home $827,648.
According to PokerTableRatings.com, Marchese has over $602,725 in cash game profits since September 2008. He is known as a cash game player who has shown consistent win-rates playing high-stakes No Limit Hold’em games. Marchese, who hails from Parsipity, New Jersey, defeated the pro-laden player pool of 872 players to claim the inaugural PokerStars NAPT Venetian Main Event. He overcame a substantial chip differential against eventual runner-up Sam Stein.
“It’s a bit overwhelming,” said Marchese in an interview after all was said and done. “The event is definitely one of my new favorites. The turnout was great, the structure was really good, and the tournament staff did a really good job all week. I’ll definitely be back next year.”
Many members of Team PokerStars Pro who were in attendance went on to cash in the tournament. Vanessa Rousso finished in 25th place for $18,080, while “Friend of PokerStars” Bill Chen came in 81st for $10,446. Former WSOP Main Event champions Tom McEvoy and Raymer finished 101st and 102nd, respectively, both in the money.
Young guns dominated the final table, while 66-year-old “Miami” John Cernuto represented the old school on the event’s last day. Eventually, Cernuto would bust out in seventh, good enough for $104,461, boosting his career tournament earnings to over $4.8 million. The Full Tilt Poker pro has been a staple of poker for three decades.
A total of 35 countries were represented in the five-day Main Event tournament; however, Americans dominated the final table, claiming every seat. The event was only 18 players away from reaching its cap of 890 and the total prize pool exceeded $4 million, with the top 128 players making the money.
The Main Event also attracted some of the world’s biggest celebrities, including Los Angeles Dodgers Cy Young Award winner Orel Hershiser, talk show host Montel Williams, and actor Brad Garrett. Jason Alexander, a “Friend of PokerStars” and former “Seinfeld” cast member, was on-hand to announce the “Shuffle Up and Deal” at the beginning of the tournament.
Going into the final table, the chip counts were as follows:
Sam Stein – 6,145,000
Thomas Fuller – 4,735,000
Yunas Jamal – 3,940,000
Tom Marchese – 2,370,000
Eric Blair – 1,690,000
Daniel Clemente – 1,395,000
David Paredes – 1,395,000
John Cernuto – 1,310,000
Runner up Sam Stein came in as the chip leader and ended up facing a fellow 22 year-old poker pro once the tournament was heads-up. Stein has collected over $400,000 in career tournament earnings, coming off a cash at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure last month. On the tournament’s final hand, Marchese pushed all-in on a board of 4-5-9-3-10. Stein made the call with 4-2 for a pair of fours and Marchese flipped over pocket tens for the winning set. The final table payouts were as follows:
1st: Tom Marchese – $827,648
2nd: Sam Stein – $522,306
3rd: Daniel Clemente – $309,366
4th: Yunus Jamal – $241,064
5th: David Paredes – $184,816
6th: Thomas Fuller – $144,639
7th: “Miami” John Cernuto – $104,461
8th: Eric Blair – $60,266
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