Back from the dead

Well here’s something: PokerStars has announced the resurrection of the North American Poker Tour (NAPT), more than 12 years after its sudden demise. Just one tour stop, NAPT Las Vegas, is cemented at the moment. Running November 4-12, 2023, the poker festival will be held at Resorts World Las Vegas, a week before the eagerly anticipated Formula 1 Grand Prix event through the streets of Sin City.

“We are delighted to announce the return of this iconic series and once again hold the NAPT for poker players in North America,” said Steve Preiss, Vice President of PokerStars North America. “We’re working hard to ensure this is a spectacular series and can’t wait to head to Las Vegas to get the show on the road.”

Ok, “iconic” might be a little strong, considering the original NAPT consisted of just nine events. Though the United States and North America were not hard-up for poker tournaments, PokerStars wanted a tour specific to the continent to complement its other regional poker tours. It kicked off in January 2010 in the Bahamas at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure; Harrison Gimbel took the first title of the $10,000 buy-in event and a $2.2 million first prize.

During its first season the PokerStars North American Poker Tour also traveled to Las Vegas, Connecticut, and Los Angeles.

Black Friday didn’t just kill online poker

Season 2 started once again in the Bahamas in January 2011 and then moved to Mohegan Sun in Connecticut in April of that year. Vanessa Selbst won the event, as she did the previous year, but as it turned out, she is now the only player to win NAPT Mohegan Sun. The event concluded April 13, 2011, just two days before the poker world’s infamous Black Friday, when the US government clamped down on online poker and operators disappeared from the US market (some of them, as we too well know, disappeared completely, along with players’ money).

And with PokerStars out of the US, so was the NAPT.

Nobody has much thought about the NAPT since then, but live poker has been booming since the pandemic shutdowns, so now it’s back.

NAPT Las Vegas will not be as pricey as the original NAPT events. Over a decade ago, the Main Events were either $10,000 or $5,000, depending on venue. The NAPT Las Vegas Main Event will cost just $1,650. It will run November 6-11 and have six starting flights. There is also a $5,300 high roller event, a $10,300 super high roller, and a $1,100 mystery bounty tournament. The rest of the schedule has yet to be announced.

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