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Best of John G. Brokopp

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Actions Speak Louder Than Words at Poker Table

30 July 2008

Jarrod Musano's passion for poker doesn't prevent him from playing the game he dearly loves just because he's deaf.

His inability to hear what's going on at the table is a challenge, but that hasn't discouraged him and other deaf and hearing impaired persons from pursing opportunities for the chance to compete against the best players in the world.

That's why Musano and five of his poker enthusiast classmates from the Rochester Institute of Technology founded the National Deaf Poker Tour (NDPT) two years ago to fill the need for an organization that would give deaf players recognition and open the door for them to compete on the world poker stage.

The inaugural tournament was held at Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City in March of 2006. The schedule quickly expanded to four tournaments a year, two in Atlantic City and two more in Las Vegas.

Their efforts to hold a tournament in the nation's heartland had proved frustrating until recently, when the Majestic Star Casinos in Gary, Indiana stepped forward and sponsored the first Midwest Regional Tournament of the NDPT last month.

"We had been looking for a central location for two years," said Musano. "The response from deaf players from all around the Midwest was very positive."

Players from coast-to-coast answered the tournament director's call to "shuffle up and deal".

A total of 69 players competed. The winner was Joey Seifner IV of Silver Springs, Maryland, who took home a first prize of $3,049.80. It was Seifner's second straight tournament victory. A player from California finished in the top six.

The buy-in for the tournament was $150. In addition to the cash, Seifner was awarded a seat at the NPPT Main Event, which will be held later this month (July 25 – 26) at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas.

"Our tournaments are structured on a point system," Musano said. "The goal is to find the best deaf poker player and send him or her to a national poker tournament such as the World Series of Poker or the World Poker Tour to represent our organization."

Dom Niro, the Majestic Star's poker room manager, was very eager to work with the organization in an effort to make their dream of a Midwest tournament come true. Niro also brought the Heartland Poker Tour to Majestic and is responsible for developing one of the most innovative weekly poker tournament schedules in the Midwest.

Deaf and hearing impaired poker players communicate with one another primarily using sign language. Their acute powers of observation serve them well in a game in which subtle facial expressions and body movements reveal more than the spoken word.

For additional information about the NDPT please visit www.nationaldeafpokertour.com.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp