The PokerStars.net North American Poker Tour kicked off in January by incorporating the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure into its boundaries, and it proceeded to the Venetian in Las Vegas in February to host its first event on American soil. The third and last-announced stop on the tour thus far took the NAPT crew and ESPN cameras to the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, an out-of-the-way destination but one that proved to be a solid choice for tournament organizers.
Day 1 was the sole starting day and brought 716 players to the tables, which made for a $3,264,244 prize pool when the $5K buy-ins were tallied. As the biggest tournament ever held at Mohegan Sun, it was determined that 104 players would be paid from the pool and the winner was set to walk away with $750K in prize money. The field consisted of a wide variety of players, from well-known pros like Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Joe Cada, Greg Raymer, Barry Greenstein, and Tom Dwan, to a slew of amateurs and online qualifiers. Even NAPT Venetian champion Tom Marchese was in the crowd to defend his title. But many players hit the rail before the day was done, as only 443 made it through. And leading the pack was David Williams with his 230,900-chip stack. Not far behind was Vanessa Selbst with 214,200 chips, and the rest of the top five included Lars Bonding, Matt Woodward, and Firas Massouh.
Day 2 took that field of 443 and whittled it down to only 125. During the six levels of action, players like Daniel Negreanu, Jason Mercier, Hoyt Corkins, Kathy Liebert, Chau Giang, Allen Kessler, Gavin Griffin, Bill Chen, Shaun Deeb, John Cernuto, and Gavin Smith were eliminated. But of the 125 who survived, Jordan Morgan was the chip leader with 705,100 chips, followed by Firas Massouh and his 570,600-chip stack. Completing the top five were Vanessa Selbst, Alistar Melville, and Brandon Hall.
Day 3 saw the field go quickly from 125 down to the money bubble, but players like Paul Wasicka, Quinn Do, Maria Ho, and reigning champion Tom Marchese didn’t make it that far. With 106 players remaining, hand-for-hand play began, and the first player to go was Tim West, who moved all-in with pocket eights against the pocket queens of Joe Nemeth and lost. With 105 players left, it didn’t take long to burst the bubble. Nicholas Kamen put his tournament life at risk with -, and Ryan D’Angelo was there with -. The board came , and the eights held up to eliminate Kamen in 105th place.
Normal play then resumed as every player was guaranteed a minimum payout of $7,500. Some of the first to bust at that stage were Justin Pechie in 103rd place, Vincent Procopio in 98th, Helen Prager in 95th, and Jeff Madsen in 91st. As the day proceeded, others to find themselves in the payout line at the cashier cage were Dennis Phillips, who left in 86th place, Sorel Mizzi in 81st, David Williams in 78th, Ryan D’Angelo in 42nd, James Akenhead in 38th, Todd Terry in 34th, Phil Ivey in 29th, and finally William Priest in 25th. With 24 players left, play was stopped for the night with Vanessa Selbst in the chip lead with 2,285,000 but Scott Seiver close behind with 2,241,000. The rest of the top five were Dale Jamison, Jordan Morgan, and Cliff Josephy.
Day 4 started with those 24 players, and with the quick elimination of Bob Lauria in 24th place, movement continued toward the final table. Along the way, Dale Jamison left in 20th place, Jordan Morgan in 16th, Peter Jetten in 13th, and Vanessa Rousso in tenth place. With nine players left and only one to go before the official final table, play continued until Brandon Hall pushed all-in preflop for his last 1,465,000 chips from the big blind with . Mike Beasley called with , and the board came . Hall was gone in ninth place with $47,000.
That stopped play for the evening and set the final table for April 11 as follows:
|Seat 1: ||Scott Seiver ||1,125,000 |
|Seat 2: ||Cliff Josephy ||1,940,000 |
|Seat 3: ||Vanessa Selbst ||4,545,000 |
|Seat 4: ||Derek Raymond ||1,545,000 |
|Seat 5: ||Mike Beasley ||4,985,000 |
|Seat 6: ||Mike Woods ||2,950,000 |
|Seat 7: ||Jonathan Aguiar ||1,555,000 |
|Seat 8: ||Alistar Melville ||2,940,000 |
Play got underway in the middle of Level 26 with Woods taking the first pot from Melville.
It took only moments for action to heat up. Beasley started the hand with a raise and Woods reraised. Aguiar pushed his last 1.47 million all-in from the small blind. Woods was the only one considering a call and finally made it with , and Aguiar showed . The board brought a blank flop of and a but the on the turn gave Aguiar straight outs. But the came on the river to give Woods the set. Jonathan Aguiar was the first to leave the table, taking with him $60,244 for the eighth place finish.
Selbst continued to soar, eventually taking the chip lead from Beasley. Seiver looked to improve on his ever-shortening stack and moved all-in but received no call.
Action then heated up between Raymond and Josephy. The latter pushed with A-Q against the pocket sixes of Raymond, who was all-in, and the board brought 5-J-10-3-7 to give Raymond the double-up. And the result left Josephy with about 275K. It didn’t take long for Josephy to push with . Raymond came over the top all-in to isolate with , and it worked. The flop of brought the ace for both players, and the on the turn changed nothing. The on the river couldn’t help Cliff Josephy, who finished the tournament in seventh place with $85,000.
By the time the first break came around, Selbst was the massive chip leader with more than 7 million, and Beasley was in second with nearly 5 million. Woods had climbed above the 4.3 million mark. Melville and Raymond hovered in the 2 million range, while Seiver sat with about 1 million chips.
A bit later, Raymond decided to move. The hand started with limps from Melville and Selbst, but Raymond raised it up. Selbst reraised to 3.7 million, and Raymond considered his options for quite awhile before finally calling for his tournament life with . Selbst showed pocket sixes, and the board came . Derek Raymond was unable to catch any of his outs, and he left in sixth place with $115,000.
With that, Selbst climbed over the 10 million mark. Melville and Seiver were the short stacks.
It was Melville who decided to make the next move. He did it with pocket queens from the big blind. Original raiser Beasley called with , and he hit the flop when it produced . The came on the turn and the on the river, and Alistar Melville was sent to the cashier cage to collect $150,000 for the fifth place finish.
Seiver had been making quite a few all-in moves but collecting chips when no one wanted to make the call. Finally, however, when he did it again for 1,445,000 from the big blind, Woods thought about it for a few minutes but finally made the call with . Seiver showed pocket fours. But the flop hit Woods when it came , and Seiver was left with few outs. The on the turn was not one of them, nor was the on the river. Scott Seiver was out in fourth place with $190,000.
Three-handed play started with Selbst holding more than 10.5 million. Woods held up second place on the leaderboard with 6.16 million, and Beasley was in third with 4.83 million. And Selbst only increased her lead by taking some chips from Woods and soaring above the 12 million mark, and another pot taken from Beasley put her over 14 million.
Woods was the next to get involved with Selbst, and the two went to see a flop. Woods bet out, but when Selbst raised, Woods pushed all-in for 3,425,000. Selbst quickly called with pocket eights for the set, and Woods showed for top pair and the straight draw. The on the turn didn’t help, and the on the river was too little, too late. Mike Woods took third place and the $240,000 that went with it.
Heads-up play started with the following chip counts:
|Vanessa Selbst||18,810,000 |
|Mike Beasley ||2,755,000 |
Selbst took the reigns as soon as play began, and she took the first pot with pocket tens on a 9-4-3 rainbow flop. Soon after, on a flop of K-8-3, Beasley put in 1 million chips, but Selbst reraised all-in, and Beasley finally folded after a few minutes. Beasley tried to push all-in on the next hand, but Selbst folded.
And it only took a total of seven hands. The last one started with Selbst raising to 200K. Beasley came over the top with and the all-in move. Selbst called immediately with . The flop of helped neither player, nor did the on the turn. The on the river was not one of Beasley’s outs and ended the tournament. Mike Beasley took second place in the tournament, which was worth $428,000.
Vanessa Selbst won the NAPT Mohegan Sun event, which came with a trophy and $750,000 grand prize. The 25-year old law student adds this prestigious title to her 2008 WSOP victory and sets her lifetime tournament winnings above the $1.5 million mark.
*Photo Credit Joe Giron - PokerStars blog*