WPT Tabs Ali Nejad, Olivier Busquet for Commentators’ Slots on Alpha8 Broadcasts
As they prepare for their first ever event on their new high roller series Alpha8 later this month, the World Poker Tour has filled out the final slots for their broadcasting team.
The WPT announced yesterday that two of the more notable poker commentators in the business today, noted commentator Ali Nejad and poker professional Olivier Busquet, will take the commentators’ chairs when WPT Alpha8 Florida begins play on August 26 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL. Both men bring a wealth of experience and credence to their new positions with the WPT, a factor not lost on WPT President Adam Pliska.
“We are thrilled to welcome two of poker’s most thoughtful and outspoken voices to the WPT Alpha8 family,” Pliska stated during the announcement of the hiring of Nejad and Busquet. “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.”
While he has been able to put together a decent playing career in his own right, Nejad has become better known for his work on the microphone in the poker community. In 2004, Nejad teamed with poker professional Chad Brown to host the syndicated Ultimate Poker Challenge tournament series before moving on to bigger things. He has been the featured commentator on such noted poker series as the National Heads Up Poker Championships, “Poker After Dark” and live coverage of the World Series of Poker, both online (at ESPN3.com) and on the flagship ESPN.
Since his emergence on the live poker world in 2008 after building his name online as one of the best Sit and Go players on the planet, Busquet has built a tournament resume that anyone would be proud to own. With more than $3.7 million in career earnings on tournament circuits around the world, Busquet has recently been moving into the broadcasting world. One of the notable breakout analysts during live coverage online and on television with ESPN, Busquet has become a fresh voice on televised poker with his excellent analysis and ability to put viewers in the minds of the players as they make their decisions.
Nejad and Busquet will join together with anchor Lynn Gilmartin, who was named a part of the WPT Alpha8 broadcast team last month. “The WPT 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 stated as he concluded the announcement. “With this new cast, we’re confident that Ali, Olivier, and Lynn will continue the tradition created by Mike (Sexton), Vince (Van Patten), and the rest of the WPT cast over the past 11 seasons.”
WPT Alpha8 is going to be one of the linchpins of the new Fox Sports 1 sports network when it debuts on August 17. In attempting to battle the behemoth of the televised sporting world (ESPN), Fox Sports 1 will be going up against a crowded field that also includes the NBC Sports Network and the CBS Sports Network. Poker programming, such as the WPT Alpha8 and other WPT productions, will be an integral part of their programming that will include Major League Baseball, NASCAR, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, international soccer (football) and college football and basketball.
With the addition of Nejad and Busquet alongside of Gilmartin for WPT Alpha8, the WPT has built an excellent broadcasting team that will bring what should be an outstanding product to television in 2014. Now it is up to the players to determine whether WPT Alpha8 and their mega-buy-ins will be successful or not.
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