When the World Poker Tour first announced their Alpha8 series they also announced that PokerNews.com’s Lynn Gilmartin would be handling the anchor duties for the series of Super-High-Roller tournaments. Today the WPT announced the men who will be joining Gilmartin as commentators, Olivier Busquet and Ali Nejad.
Unlike Gilmartin –who brings tons of experience conducting interviews and other segments with PokerNews—Nejad and Busquet are both veterans in the commentary booth: Nejad was the voice of Poker After Dark and the NBC National Heads-Up Championship, while Busquet has been a part of ESPN’s WSOP broadcast team over the past two years.
A monumental undertaking, the Alpha8 series will feature tournaments with buy-ins of at least $100,000, beginning with a $100,000 buy-in event at the upcoming Hollywood Hard Rock Poker Open. The Alpha8 tournaments are expected to begin airing on Fox Sports 1 sometime in 2014.
Here is a look at the full Press Release announcing the addition of Nejad and Busquet:
World Poker Tour® Names Ali Nejad and Olivier Busquet as WPT Alpha8™ Commentators
Popular Poker Personalities to Join Anchor Lynn Gilmartin When WPT Alpha8 Premieres on FOX Sports 1 in 2014
Los Angeles, CA (August 1, 2013) – When WPT Alpha8™ premieres on FOX Sports 1 in early 2014, World Poker Tour’s brand new series of super high-roller tournaments will introduce two of poker’s most popular personalities – Ali Nejad and Olivier Busquet – as the show’s commentators working alongside anchor, Lynn Gilmartin.
“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.”
One of the most recognizable faces – and voices – in poker, Nejad brings nearly 10 years of experience to WPT Alpha8. A successful player in his own right, Nejad 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.
Busquet first made his mark on the poker world as one of the game’s most successful online players. Playing online as livb112 and Adonis112, Busquet earned fame and fortune by becoming the most profitable Sit & Go player in online history with more than $4 million in heads-up SNG profits. Busquet also proved he can play the live game by posting impressive tournament finishes around the world, including a WPT Championship won at the 2009 WPT Borgata Poker Open. In recent years, Busquet has made a mark off the felt as well, providing expert commentary both online and on TV during ESPN’s World Series of Poker coverage.
“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 highly anticipated WPT Alpha8 Florida begins August 26 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida and marks the series’ inaugural, televised event. The first episodes from WPT Alpha8 Florida will air on FOX Sports 1 in early 2014.
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