The World Poker Tour (WPT) has unveiled two new signings that will help push their WPT Alpha8 branding to the next level, and it’s the commentary departments that have now have bums firmly entrenched in seats.
When the WPT press release announced that ‘WPT Alpha8 will feature a unique, modern set and will be hosted by fresh, new talent’ I for one did not expect that would include the two seats in the commentary booth. For the past eleven seasons the WPT televised coverage has been personified by the ramblings, conjugations, screams and shouts from the Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton, and his partner in crime Vince Van Patten; but fresh new talent is indeed what we are getting.
Ali Nejad and Olivier Busquets will be joining the shows anchor, Lynn Gilmartin, when the WPT Alpha8 series kicks off at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open in Florida on Aug 26 with a $100,000 re-entry event. The event had already made waves with the announcement of a main event carrying a $10m guarantee, the largest of its kind in the history of the game.
“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 has 10-years experience in the game, but will be remembered as the off-screen announcer on Poker After Dark and as color commentator on the NBC National Heads-Up Series. Busquets is one of the most feared online heads-up players in the game, and a great live tournament player. The WPT Champions Club member has worked alongside Kara Scott for ESPN’s coverage of the World Series of Poker (WSOP), as well as showing his worth with spots on the commentary team for WPT Main Event live streaming events such as WPT Prague back in 2011.
“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.”