The PokerStars North American Poker Tour, otherwise known as the NAPT, made its first stop in Los Angeles at the Bicycle Casino. The tour has gained so much popularity that 441 Productions, the team behind the World Series of Poker broadcasts, is filming events at most of the stops on the tour to air on ESPN.
Last Friday, the NAPT kicked off its first ever Main Event in California, $5,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament. This was the NAPT’s fourth stop and 328 players registered for Day 1A. On-hand press were told that more than one-third of the field for Day 1A were PokerStars qualifiers and nations like the UK, France, Austria, Costa Rica, Canada, Denmark, Spain, and Germany were represented.
After Day 1A was completed, many top-level PokerStars pros were still in the mix including Jason Mercier, George “Jorj95” Lind, Chris Moneymaker, and Chad Brown. Other notable Day 1A survivors included Scott Fischman, John “The Razor” Phan, and Isaac Haxton.
On Saturday, Day 1B proved to be even bigger and more star-studded than Day 1A. After registration closed on Day 1B, the total number of players participating in the NAPT LA Main Event soared to 701. However, that still trails the NAPT Venetian (872 players) and NAPT Mohegan Sun (716) Main Events, but remained in the general ballpark.
Those in attendance on Day 1B included Full Tilt Poker pro Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, John Dolan, and Jason Senti, all of whom are coming off their November Nine runs. Survivors of Day 1B included 2009 WSOP Main Event champ Joe Cada, Daniel Negreanu, and Andre Akkari.
One day later, the field was combined, with 314 survivors playing down to just 81, with the money bubble bursting 10 minutes into the final level of play. Players who finished in the money on Day 2 included UB.com’s Eric “basebaldy” Baldwin (89th for $7,500) and poker pro Kristy Gazes (94th for $7,500). Those returning for Day 3 included Mike Sowers, Michael Binger, Lind, Phil Laak, and Mercier.
Day 3 was in the books after six levels of play, as the field of 81 players slimmed down to just 19. The chip leader was Christopher DeMaci from Newport Beach, California at 3.78 million, with second place holding about 2.3 million. Mercier was still in the mix with 2.15 million. Others still alive at the end of Day 3 included Binger, Lind, and Matt Affleck.
At the final table, a buzz was in the air to see if Mercier could yet again take another big event down. However, it wasn’t meant to be, as Joe Tehan eliminated all seven of his opponents to win the first ever NAPT LA Main Event. For his efforts, Tehan took home a $725,000 grand prize.
There has been no word whether the tour will return to Las Vegas, Connecticut, or California. The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure is the next stop on the NAPT, but PokerStars has yet to announce the 2011 schedule as of yet. The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure will take place from January 7th to 16th from the Atlantis Resort and Casino in the Bahamas. PokerStars is still running qualifiers and players can find out more by visiting the PokerStars lobby and clicking on “Events” and then “PCA.”