2/25/10 – Despite his ambitious nickname, Tom ‘kingofcards' Marchese had yet to cash in a big live competition, but he remedied that in style this week as he took down the inaugural main event of the Pokerstars North American Poker Tour at the Venetian in Las Vegas.
 
The 22-year-old pro from New Jersey bested a field of 872 players, many of them big names in the game, to collect a winner's check for
$827 648 and the first trophy in the event. Seen at the tables were poker aces Vanessa Rousso, Greg Raymer, Tom McEvoy and Bill Chen, whilst the celebrity rollcall featured Montel Williams, Brad Garrett and Orel Hershiser.
 
With such a large guaranteed prize pool and a buy-in of $5 000, the tournament was well supported by poker pros from all over the nation and some from 35 countries further afield.
 
After days of battling through the field, Marchese found himself at an all-American final table that included Sam Stein, Daniel Clemente, Yunus Jamal, David Paredes, Thomas Fuller, John Cernuto and Eric Blair.
 
The final confrontation was set when Daniel Clemente was eliminated in third place, taking home $309 366 and leaving Marchese and Sam Stein to battle it out in the heads up.  Despite starting the final lap at a substantial chip disadvantage, Marchese kept his cool and played a game in which discipline and controlled aggression enabled him finally to triumph.
 
Stein's runner-up prize was a hefty $522 306. Six figure prizes extended all the way down to the seventh place on the final table, and the overall money bubble covered 128 survivors.
 
The 2010 NAPT Venetian winds up this week with the final table of the much anticipated $25 000 buy-in High Roller Bounty Shootout.