NAPT Action Heats Up In LA

Friday marked the first day of the latest (and last) leg of the PokerStars sponsored North American Poker Tour. The NAPT Los Angeles leg is being hosted at The Bicycle Casino and will run from November 12-17. Main Event hopefuls ponied up $4750 + $250 for their seats. Some also earned their way to the Main Event via PokerStars freerolls.

Season 1 of the NAPT started off strong with 1529 players anteing up for the inaugural Main Event in the Bahamas. The buy-in was a steep $10,000 + $300, but more than half the competitors had earned their seats via online satellites. The following month the numbers were smaller but still strong in Las Vegas where 872 players coughed up the $5000 buy-in for the Venetian Main Event.

There was an obvious downward trend at the Mohegan Sun in April with a Main Event field of 716 players. Rather than compete with the better established tours that have been hosting tournaments all summer, the NAPT has been on hiatus ever since. Coming off a more than six month break, many industry insiders were dubious about the NAPT’s ability to post solid numbers in LA, especially since the Bicycle Club’s terms prevented ESPN from filming the final table, as it had at the tour’s three earlier Main Events.

When all was said and done, a combined total of 701 players showed up for LA’s two Day 1 competitions, resulting in a prize pool of more than $3.2 million. While those are the tour’s lowest numbers to date, it’s still a pretty impressive turnout that bodes well for Season 2 of the NAPT. As we reported over the weekend, the tables were full of familiar faces.

Day 2’s action yesterday was airtight, and even more notable pros were eliminated as the field shrank from 314 to 81. Day 2 casualties included Daniel Negreanu, Joe Cada, Chris Moneymaker, and former chip leader Kim Frederiksen. Going into Day 3 today, Jimmie Guinther was leading the pack with 894,000. Travis Pearson wasn’t far behind with 835,000, and coming in in a distant third was PokerStars’ own Anh Van Nguyen. Bryn Kenney, Tom Middleton, Micah Raskin, Tom Lee, Nicholas Verkaik, Mike Sowers and Michael Binger rounded out the experience-heavy top ten.

At last check, among the notable players still holding on halfway into Day 3 were Jason Mercier and Mike Sowers. Only three tables will continue into Day 4 tomorrow with the final table commencing on Wednesday. All of the Day 3 contenders were guaranteed a tidy profit on their original buy-in, but the Main Event winner will pocket a hefty $725,000 prize.

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