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Best of Vin Narayanan
As far as tournament names go, the PokerStars.net North American Poker Tour Mohegan Sun Main Event is quite a mouthful. But as far as actual tournaments go, this NAPT Main Event is a hit in the making.
A strong field of 716 players comfortably filled the tournament floor -- and a few spillover tables -- at Mohegan Sun, creating a prize pool of $3.2 million for the $5,000 event. The tournament winner will take home $750,000.
Winning the $750,000 will be no easy task because the stars of poker turned out in full force for this event.
Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Chad Brown, Vanessa Rousso, Dennis Phillips, Victor Ramdin and 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event champ Joe Cada headlined the flotilla of PokerStars pros playing in the event.
Several Full Tilt Poker pros showed up for the event as well, including Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan and Gavin Smith. Other top players playing in tournament include Brandon Cantu, Hoyt Corkins, Maria Ho, Chau Giang, Cliff Josephy, J.C. Tran, Bernard Lee and Sorel Mizzi.
Popular pro David Williams was the leader after the first day of the tournament with 230,900 in chips. Greenstein and Cada were among the notable players eliminated on Day 1.
Negreanu kicked off the tournament with the traditional "Shuffle up and deal," and a reminder to not do "anything stupid." Negreanu's fun opening comment set the tone for a day that felt equal parts tournament and reunion. Players took the time to catch up with each other while playing a little poker, and the conversation at the table was interesting.
Ramdin told the players sitting next to him that he was going to be playing in a lot of tournaments at this year's World Series of Poker.
When asked why he was skipping the no-limit Hold'em events by Casino City, Ramdin smiled and said it was based on results.
"I've gone deep in those events...much better than the no-limit Hold'em tournaments" Ramdin said.
Ramdin, a New York resident who works tirelessly to bring medical care to his native Guyana, also taked about the latest "Send a Kid to Camp" charity poker tournament he played in. The event, hosted by Donnie Wahlberg in Tewksbury, Mass., raised money for about 150 kids to go camping for a week. "It was a great event," Ramdin said. "It really turned out well."
Dwan, also know as "durrrr" online, paid off a bet by wearing Team Canada (hockey) gear at the table.
But it was a bespectacled Negreanu that really kept things entertaining. With about 20 minutes left in the level and his chip stack dwindling, Negreanu "got his gamble on" and had some fun at the same time.
First, Negreanu made up a "Click it Back" rap and walked around the immediate vicinity of his table in faux "gangsta" style. Then, after telling everyone that he'd reached Day 2 of every tournament he'd entered this year, pushed all-in for his remaining chips. At that point, three players were still in the hand. Two players folded (both had A-Q) and the final player called with pocket jacks. Negreanu turned up ace-king and the race was on. Negreanu spiked a king on the river to keep his Day 1 streak intact and ended the day with 33,600 in chips.
This New England tournament is the third stop on the newly created NAPT. Last month's $5,000 NAPT Venetian Las Vegas Main Event attracted 872 players for a prize pool of $4,017,740. The tour's first stop was the well-established PokerStars Carribbean Adventure. More than 1,500 players participated in the $10,000 Main Event, creating a prize pool of nearly $15 million.