The PokerStars.net North American Poker Tour has found a television home — ESPN .ESPN finally confirmed today what had been rumored for several weeks — that its network was in fact going to be televising the new NAPT . The new tour will televise 16 hours worth of coverage on ESPN2 starting in April.“We’re very excited to bring the North American Poker Tour to ESPN ,” said ESPN ’s coordinating producer Jamie Horowitz. “Our fans like big names and big stakes — the NAPT will have both in excess.”While the 2010 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure was technically the kickoff for the NAPT , PokerStars did not announce that news until after the tournament began. That means all eyes will be on this weekend’s $5,000 NAPT Venetian event to see just how much traffic and buzz this new tour will attract. Team PokerStars pro Daniel Negreanu , for one, expects a huge field to turn out to Las Vegas.“The event is going to be a monster! We are expecting about 850 players,” Negreanu wrote on his blog on Card Player . “It’s been a while since Vegas has hosted an event that big (outside of the WSOP ). The NAPT has a lot of momentum, and I’m excited to get started.”Negreanu also spoke of the importance of getting such a powerful network to televise the tour’s events, something its competitor, the World Poker Tour — having bounced around from the Travel Channel to GSN to FSN since its inception — has not benefited from.“Having the North American Poker Tour on ESPN2 is going to take poker on this continent to a different level,” Negreanu said in an ESPN article announcing the news. “With some of the most important gaming venues in the U.S. on board and the reach of ESPN2, the NAPT is set to bring the excitement of world-class tournament poker to millions who love this game as much as I do.”The NAPT Venetian runs Feb. 20-24 in Las Vegas. Besides the $5,000 main event, the Venetian will also host a $25,000 high-roller shootout bounty event that will feature up to 36 big-name pros. That event will also be televised on ESPN2.Tentative NAPT Television Schedule (courtesy of ESPN ):April 19: Venetian $25,000 high-roller bounty shootout (9-11 p.m. ET) April 26: Venetian $25,000 high-roller bounty shootout (9 p.m. ET) April 26: Venetian $5,000 main event (10 p.m. ET) May 3: Mohegan Sun shootout (9-11 p.m. ET) May 10: Mohegan Sun shootout (9 p.m. ET) May 10: Mohegan Sun $5,000 main event (10 p.m. ET) May 17: PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $25,000 high-roller (9-11 p.m. ET)For videos, news, and updates from the NAPT , check back to CardPlayer.com this weekend.
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