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Saturday, March 24th, 2007

Deaf Poker Players Have Own Tour

BY TOM SOMACH

Many people were surprised when a charity poker tournament for deaf players only was held in the Chicago area last month, as few knew such events occurred.

Even fewer know there’s a professional poker tour for deaf players only.

The National Deaf Poker Tour (NDPT) was started in 2006 by six deaf poker players, and has already blossomed into a full-scale tournament poker tour, with stops in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and elsewhere.

The NDPT founders–Andrew Foster, Nathan Montoya, Jarrod Musano, Alok Doshi, Joseph Seifner IV and James Rydstrom–know each other from their college days.

They say they started the NDPT in an effort to prove deaf players can play poker as well as people who can hear.

They say they want to eventually see a deaf player get into the World Series of Poker (WSOP).

So just how big has the NDPT gotten?

An NDPT main event tournament held March 9 and 10 at the Trump Taj Mahal hotel and casino in Atlantic City, N.J., drew 181 participants.

The tourney was won by Bill Loftus, who took home $10,652.

Finishing second was Thomas Walz, who earned $5,592.

Coming in third was Molly O’Hara, who garnered $2,797.

And just as the World Series of Poker (WSOP) holds women-only events, so does the NDPT.

An NDPT side tournament for deaf women only was also held at the Taj on March 9 and 10, and that tourney drew 57 participants.

The winner was Megan Conaghan.

The next stop on the NDPT is scheduled for St. Louis, Mo., in May, followed by a stop in Las Vegas, Nev., in July, and then back to Atlantic City, either in October or November.

The Las Vegas tournament is scheduled for Caesars Palace, the Atlantic City tourney will be back at the Taj Mahal and the site for the St. Louis event is TBA.

For more information about the NDPT, visit its website at www.nationaldeafpokertour.com.

(E-mail Tom Somach at .)

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