You might recall how the NAPT first designated the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (from back in January) as its initial stop, then landed at the Venetian in Las Vegas in February. I had the chance to help cover both the High Roller event and the Main Event at that stop for the PokerStars blog, while also writing some here about that trip, too. Here are those NAPT Venetian posts again: Arrival, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, and Postscript.
It sounded early on as though a number of other stops for this Season 1 of the NAPT were possibly in the works, though only one panned out, the NAPT Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut. Finally the tour resumed this past week at the Bicycle Casino in L.A., where the Main Event ended up attracting a large field of 701 players for the $4,750+$250 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament. After three days of play, they are now down to 19 players, with Christopher DeMaci leading the way. Jason Mercier, Michael Binger, Anh Van Nyugen, George Lind III, and Matt Affleck are all still with chips as well.
Most are regarding the turnout for NAPT L.A. as impressive, especially since there was no television coverage planned for the event (unlike at the Venetian or Mohegan Sun). However, just as they were getting underway a $5,000+$250 buy-in NLHE bounty-shootout event was added to the schedule, an event which will take place at the nearby Crystal Casino and Hotel, and apparently that event will be shot and subsequently televised.
The move away from the Bike is significant here, since the World Poker Tour -- which stops at the Bicycle Casino each year as well -- has a deal which disallows the Bike from letting other tours come in and stage televised events. In fact, there was some additional chatter on Twitter yesterday suggesting that the Main Event final table might be moved to the Crystal Casino as well in order to make it possible to shoot and televise it, too.
Not sure if that is really happening or not, but Andrew Feldman of ESPN Poker has tweeted that ESPN2 will be broadcasting three hours’ worth of coverage of the bounty-shootout event, plus one more hour of the Main Event final table. If indeed that is the case, one assumes the Main Event turnout would have been even higher had news of the final table being televised been known prior to the start of the event.
I suppose one could look at this little territorial skirmish as another round in the intermittent “WPT vs. NAPT” battle, something I wrote about before here back in the spring when the NAPT Venetian event had taken place just a few days before the WPT L.A. Poker Classic, and thus may have caused some players to have to make a choice between the two.
Will be interesting to see how the NAPT L.A. event plays out -- both in terms of the result and where they end up staging the sucker. Thus will I be checking in frequently over at the PokerStars blog as well as on PokerNews to find out what happens. Might also have to dial up the latest episode of The Poker Beat (recorded last night) to see if those folks have any further info to share on this one.
(EDIT [added 11/17/10]: The rumor turned out to be true -- the final table of the NAPT L.A. Main Event was indeed relocated to the Crystal Casino, thereby allowing it to be shot and shown on ESPN2.)