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Daniel - Poker Journal

NAPT Launch is a Monster Hit So Far

20 Feb 2010


So I came 4th in the Premier League and I'm very happy with that finish especially since I started out so poorly. I had a good shot to win it all, was even chip leader four handed, but in the end it was David Benyamine who won the title. Congrats to David, he's an awesome player.

After that, my buddies and I all ate at Veloce at the M casino which is a pretty cool restaurant with a great view from the top floor. We had some drinks and then everyone felt like playing poker so we did something I'd never done before.

There were 7 of us, so we started our own game at Bellagio! The min limit we could play was $20-$40 so we did that and made it a mixed game. We played like 10 different games. I bought $10,000 in chips and just handed out chips to everyone. We tipped the dealer and we paid a rake... but it was all for fun! We weren't playing for ANY money and it was still soooo much fun. I haven't played poker like that in ages.

My golf buddies Sam and Ted played, Christian my caddie/golf coach, Patty my assistant and Lisa, and then my other Korean friend "John Smith" played. It was a fun night and everyone had a blast. In split pots, we'd just throw some chips to one person and a random amount to the other. None of it mattered at all, but they were all enjoying the game.

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Today I spent the WHOLE day at Venetian and I'm exhausted. We had a meeting at noon, then we did some interviews. After that we held a charity event for 3 Square, a Las Vegas Food Bank. The event was well attended by a wide range of celebrities. If you want names, you'll have to read Phil Hellmuth's next blog, he is the resident expert name dropper :-) I'll bet $500 that his next blog contains the following:

-at least 10 name drops
-a mention of a limousine
-a mention of Dom Perignon

There was a bounty on my head in the event. Whoever busted me won an autographed guitar signed by Slash. Donnie Wahlberg ended up busting me during the rebuy period, and I felt bad for him because I was going to rebuy. I did rebuy, but they said that since Donnie did bust me he'd won the guitar which worked out great since apparently his son is in a band and plays guitar. Supposedly he's talented as well.

I busted out of the charity event early and went up to Tao for the PokerStars party. PokerStars throws the best parties and it's not even close! They spare no expense and always lock up a great performer. At the PCA it was Kelly Rowland, and for the NAPT launch they had T-Pain do a set.

I'll tell you what, the NAPT is clear evidence that poker is NOT dead in the U.S. Far from it. There were so many fans at the Venetian it reminded me of the poker boom at it's peak. The poker boom revitalized by the NAPT event. I'm sure the addition of the celebs didn't hurt one bit. The other major key for the NAPT's success is going to be qualifiers. With the addition of the qualifiers, we are going to likely see over 800 players at the NAPT Venetian. That's just an incredible number and I can't wait to play.

I'm so amazingly proud of my association with PokerStars and have never been happier to be a part of the best team in poker. PokerStars really understands how to put on a tournament and they hire some of the smartest minds available to help ensure that the tours and televised shows are going to be a great success. The EPT is the most successful poker tour in the world (at the moment) and since then, that model has expanded to reach every corner of the Earth, and now finally, in North America to complete the puzzle.

The NAPT is an important piece of the puzzle, and all of the pieces are coming together nicely. We couldn't have a better team to televise the events, and ESPN is "the" place for poker in the U.S. so that's obviously a really big deal for the NAPT.

One of the best decisions I've ever made in my life was agreeing to be an ambassador for PokerStars. I truly love everything about the company and am just SO excited about the direction things are headed on several levels.

On that note, don't you DARE miss the Sunday million this week! A $200 buy in event that pays... ONE MILLION DOLLARS for first! A $4 million guaranteed prize pool for $200!!! That is just insane. You'd be hard pressed to ever get better odds on your money than that.

Unfortunately, I think I will be missing this event as I hope to still be in the NAPT Venetian event with a fighting chance to win it! Along with the NAPT main event, the hottest ticket in town is a seat in the $25,000 bounty shootout event on Feb 23rd. The event was slated for an elite field of 36, but interest has been bursting at the seams which may prompt the organizers to increase the field size to accommodate all of the interested players.

See you guys at the Venetian... it should be a mad house tomorrow!




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