The last North American Poker Tour stop took place in April at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. That field of 716 put up $5,000 for their chance at a nationally televised final table and to be etched in poker history as a "major" winner. Since April, players have been anywhere but the NAPT including on the European Poker Tour, World Poker Tour and of course, the WSOP. On Friday, November 12, the latest NAPT stop began in Los Angeles and many were wondering just what type of turnout there would be due to the fact that restrictions at the Bicycle Casino (the tournament's location) prevented ESPN from broadcasting the action. So no TV and no tour momentum, would this event really be a success?
A resounding "yes" is the answer. An impressive 701 players turned out for this event, creating a $3.2 million prize pool, slightly below the Mohegan Sun event. Not only did the location help to produce these numbers, but also the ability for players to satellite online for this event. In any case, this tournament is another great success story for the NAPT which was announced less than a year ago.
As for the action, only 81 players have survived the first two days of play and Jimmie Guinther will hold the chip lead when Day 3 action begins. Guinther finished 23rd at the NAPT stop at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in January for $75,000, but his biggest score came in 2007 at the Borgata Poker Open when he won the $2,500 buy-in event for $234,850. He'll begin the day with a substantial chip lead holding 894,000 to Travis Pearson's second-place stack of 835,000 in chips. Team PokerStars Pro Canada's Anh Van Nguyen is in third place.
The remaining field boasts some incredibly talented players including new free-agent Michael Binger (who recently was dropped from Team UB), Phil Laak, Ray Henson, Matt Affleck, Jason Mercier, Gavin Griffin, Josh Brikis and Christina Lindley.
Players reached the money bubble when only 105 remained, but before the tournament staff could begin hand-for-hand play, Carter King was eliminated by Micah Raskin after missing straight, flush and straight flush draws. Eric Baldwin, Adam Junglen, James Van Alstyne, Shannon Shorr and Ronnie Bardah all made the money, but failed to make it into Day 3.
Action on Day 3 will begin at 4 p.m. ET with the final table being played on Wednesday.
Small blinds: Korean Kim Gap Young will start the final table at the Asian Pacific Poker Tour stop at Cebu. The event had a $2,165 buy-in. ... Peter Eastgate has put the 2008 WSOP main event championship bracelet up as a charity auction on eBay. ... Phil Hellmuth has released a new eBook which recounts some of the biggest hands Hellmuth and won and lost. ... The biggest poker games in the world have momentarily moved to Macau where Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, John Juanda and many local businessmen have been playing for the last few days.