On the latest PokerNews Podcast, Chad Holloway, Connor Richards, and Matt Hansen catch you up to speed on what’s been happening at EPT Barcelona, Daniel Negreanu defeating Doug Polk on High Stakes Duel, and the return of PokerStars’ North American Poker Tour (NAPT).
They also delve into the Global Poker US Poker Open (USPO), tell you about the first winner from the the PokerStars Summer Series, cover two big hands involving pocket queens from the past week, and debate arguably the hottest topic of the week — would you pay back $20K after a player grossly misread his hand and called off on the river (which actually happened on Hustler Casino Live)?
As for a guest, Connor and Matt were at EPT Barcelona and caught up with Tom Orpaz, a high-stakes real estate entrepreneur who in his spare time can be found grinding the EPT High Roller circuit. Orpaz, who made headlines in 2020 for purchasing the most expensive apartment in the world, went on a tear at EPT Barcelona that saw him winning €25,000 No-Limit Hold’em and €50,000 Super High Roller Second Chance for two trophies and over $1 million in winnings, proving he can hold his own among the top pros. PokerNews caught up with Orpaz, who has proven to be one of the most entertaining and talkative players on typically reserved High Roller Circuit.
Listen to those stories and more on the latest episode of the PokerNews Podcast!
Tell us who you want to hear from. Let us know what you think of the show — tweet about the podcast using #PNPod, and be sure to follow Chad Holloway, Connor Richards, and Matt Hansen on Twitter.
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The Las Vegas Formula 1 race is going to be huge, and PokerStars US players all have an opportunity from now until the end of September to win a free trip to join in on the festivities.
Online poker players in Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are eligible to enter the PokerStars Red Spade Pass contest for free simply by signing up on the poker site. There will be one lucky winner in each of the three states PokerStars operates in.
How to Win a Free Dream Trip to Las Vegas
Each player who signs up for the Ultimate Fan Experience contest for free receives one entry into a drawing, which takes place Oct. 4. Winners will be announced shortly after and will earn a trip to Las Vegas with Oracle Red Bull Racing Nov. 14 for what just might be the biggest Formula 1 race ever.
If you spent any time in Las Vegas over the summer during the World Series of Poker (WSOP), you probably noticed some heavy traffic due to construction on the Strip. That construction was to get the roads ready for a race that will attract thousands of visitors to Southern Nevada to watch a race that will cost many thousands of dollars. But for you, if you’re one of the three lucky winners, it won’t cost you a penny.
There are multiple ways to receive additional entries to increase your chances of winning. First off, if you make your first deposit on the US-facing poker site, you’ll add an extra 10 entries. Making any other deposit of at least $10 is worth another entry. The more entries you rack up, the better the odds will be of you winning a dream vacation.
Those who win the sweepstakes will receive roundtrip flights, hotel transfers, and five nights stay at Paris Las Vegas, home of the World Series of Poker.
Big Things Going on at PokerStars US
The Red Spade Pass contest is only a part of the big things going on at PokerStars in all three licensed US states coming up. PokerNews has been busy live reporting the PokerStars Summer Series at Live! Casino and Hotel Philadelphia, the first live PokerStars event in the US in quite some time.
Earlier this week, the online poker giant also announced the long awaited return of the North American Poker Tour (NAPT), which will make its first appearance since 2011. The first NAPT return series will take place at Resorts World in Las Vegas starting Nov. 4.
Four more gold bracelets have been dished out in the 2023 WSOP Online on GGPoker since PokerNews’ last round-up for the online festival.
Paulius “redpillgame” Vaitiekunas, “EEewashu99”, Yurii “pumbiko_O” Olinyk and Terrence “fr33hongkong” Chan are the latest names to claim their own piece of WSOP hardware. The latter also denied 2022 Main Event champ Espen Jorstad his third bracelet after sending the Norwegian to the wrong side of the rail at heads-up play.
Day 1b of the $25 million guaranteed Main Event also played out with a further 325 players paying the $5,000 buy-in while China’s Xinwen Zhang sits in pole position for Day 2 of the $500 Ladies Championship.
Vaitiekunas Grabs Fifth Bracelet for Lithuania
Vaitiekunas got his hands around the fourth bracelet up for grabs after being the last player standing in #4: $840 Bounty Pot-Limit Omaha. He topped the 706-entry field and secured the largest slice of the $564,800 prize pool. His run to the bracelet awarded him a final prize of $81,848, with $56,953 of that coming from bounties.
Vaitiekunas triumph marks the fifth bracelet winner to come from Lithuania, which puts the country on par with other nations such as Indonesia, Belarus, Switzerland, and the Republic of Korea.
Many of poker’s biggest names also took a shot, with a few making the money but falling short of a notable run. Felipe Ramos (95th – $1,144 + $200), David Peters (88th – $1,144) and Dario Sammartino (81st – $1,144+$200) were some of those famous faces to depart well before the final table.
#4: $840 Bounty Pot-Limit Omaha Final Table Results
Paulius “redpillgame” Vaitiekunas
“big pot boy”
Bernardo “GGeKKo” Dias
Teusl On Course For Second Ladies Championship
The first stage of the #5: $500 Ladies No-Limit Hold’em Championship has also wrapped up proceedings with the 36 remaining players returning to the virtual felt on Saturday, September 2.
Leading the way is the aforementioned Zhang, who comes back with 96 big blinds, while the likes of the Tatiana Rangel and Zhanna Hodovanets are not too far behind.
Jessica Teusl also sits in the top ten chip counts and is looking to add a second Ladies Championship title to her list of accomplishments. Teusl took down the live version of this event at the 2022 WSOP for $166,975.
After late registration closed on Day 1, there were 167 confirmed entries that created a $79,325 prize pool. The money bubble will burst when just 27 are still in contention, and then anyone left will be battling out for the $16,613 set aside for the winner.
#5: $500 Ladies No-Limit Hold’em Championship Top Ten Chip Counts
Carla Di Marco
Vogelsang Pipped to Monster Stack Title
Aptly, #6: $1,500 MONSTER STACK No-Limit Hold’em pulled in some behemothic numbers with 1,207 entries recorded in the registration period, resulting in a seven-figure prize pool of $1,719,975.
The unidentified “EEewashu99” overcame a tough final table that included tournament experts Shannon Shorr and Christoph Vogelsang. Shorr was the first to leave the final table, while Vogelsang bowed out in fifth place, meaning both players are still searching for their first bracelet win.
#6: $1,500 MONSTER STACK No-Limit Hold’em Final Table Results
Hristo “icho” Anastassov
“Moose is Loose’
Vitalijs “chegochego” Zavorotnijs
Liszewski Bags Best in Day 1B of Main Event
The second qualifying flight for the Main Event has also taken place within the last week, with 325 players taking their shot at the big one. Poland’s Arkadiusz “Noksukow” Liszewski bagged best from Day 1B, ending the session with 1,441,156.
The esteemed Ole Schemion was also in attendance and cruised through to Day 2 and will resume the Main Event with a 913,947 stack.
2020 runner-up of the International Leg of the Main Event Brunno Botteon and Bruno Volkmann were also apart of the class of 39 players to advance.
So far, there have been 568 entries into the Main, with 69 of those still with chips.
#28: $5,000 WSOP Online Main Event Day 1B Top Ten Chip Counts
Arkadiusz “Noksukow” Liszewski
Itai “PokerSmart” Drory
Zhao Fu Zhang
Miguel “kryingkid10” Silva
Mystery Bounty Eclipses $10M Guarantee
The first eight-figure prize pool of the online festival has also come around with #7: $210 Mystery Millions breaching the $10 million guarantee. The final tally ended up at $10,242,200.
A gigantic 51,211 entries were seen across the wave of starting flights, with just 4,472 of those making it through to the Mystery Bounty stage, which featured a $1 million top bounty prize. “John Milly”, a rightly fitting name, pulled the jackpot bounty within the first five minutes of play restarting.
Ukraine’s Yurii “pumbiko_O” Olinyk was the one to take it down and saw $360,139 go into their GGPoker purse after he defeated Simon “23 Savage” Gilles in heads-up play.
#7: $210 Mystery Millions – $1M Top, $10M GTD
Yurii “pumbiko_O” Olinyk
Simon “23 Savage” Gilles
Chan Ends 18-Year Bracelet Pursuit
The most recent online bracelet event to reach its conclusion was #8: $2,500 Limit Hold’em Championship, which saw 124 entries generate a $294,500 prize fund.
Bryn Kenney, who recently returned to the top spot on the All-Time Money List, was unable to add to his winnings and crashed out well before the money in 65th. Daniel Negreanu, who has had two consecutive losing years at the series, saw his WSOP woes continue after his run ended in 31st place.
Limit Hold’em maestro Terrence “fr33hongkong” Chan ended his long-awaited bracelet drought after beating Jorstad in the final showdown. Chan’s first-ever WSOP cash came all the way back in 2005, and he has made seven WSOP final tables since then. After a few close calls, Chan finally etched his name in the WSOP history books, much to the delight of the wider poker community.
#8: $2,500 Limit Hold’em Championship Final Table Results
Terrence “fr33hongkong” Chan
Timothy “JoeExotic69” Rutherford
Samuel “vivaegipto” Bernabeu
Ben “RumpelTiltSkin” Underwood
Editor & Live Reporter
Calum has been a part of the PokerNews team since September 2021 after working in the UK energy sector. He played his first hand of poker in 2017 and immediately fell in love with the game. Calum’s proudest poker achievement is winning the only tournament he has ever played in Las Vegas, the prestigious $60 Flamingo evening event.
With a groundbreaking turnout of nearly 2000 contenders, the CEP Main Event has shattered records and ignited excitement.
The conclusion of the PokerStars-sponsored Campeonato España de Poker (CEP) tour in Barcelona marked a significant milestone, with the CEP Main Event drawing an astounding crowd of nearly 2000 entries. This unprecedented turnout has set the stage for the upcoming prestigious European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona, while tax-related concerns loom and expectations of record-breaking participation abound.
The CEP Main Event, which featured a €550 buy-in, attracted a record-breaking 1960 players. This accomplishment solidified the Main Event’s position as the largest in CEP history, surpassing the previous record set four years prior with 1773 registrations. The surge in participation reflects an impressive growth of nearly 50% compared to the previous year’s event.
Held at Casino Barcelona from August 11, the 2023 CEP Barcelona stop experienced strong turnouts, despite uncertainties stemming from recent tax changes in Spain.
The trend of robust participation was evident from the outset of the CEP, with various events reporting exceptional attendance. The opening event, with a €330 entry fee, witnessed 822 entries—almost double the attendance of the previous year’s edition. Similarly, the Mini Main Event, featuring a €200 buy-in, saw 786 participants, marking a significant 30% increase compared to the previous year.
The culmination of this enthusiasm was the Main Event’s remarkable achievement, resulting in a total prize pool of €854,560 across its five Day 1s.
The CEP festival aligns with a broader global trend of increased interest in live poker events. From the World Series of Poker (WSOP) to regional events in Europe and Asia, record-breaking attendance is becoming the norm, underscoring the undeniable demand for live poker experiences.
With the CEP chapter coming to a close, attention now shifts to the highly anticipated European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona.
Commencing on August 21, the PokerStars LIVE Estrellas Poker Tour (ESPT) commenced, serving as an integral part of the main EPT festival.
EPT Barcelona, a cornerstone of PokerStars’ European destinations, is renowned for attracting substantial crowds. The city’s rich poker history dates back to 2004, hosting significant stops of the European Poker Tour. Last year, both the ESPT and EPT Main Events set attendance records, with the €5300 EPT Main Event becoming the largest-ever in EPT history, drawing 2294 players.
However, this year’s EPT Barcelona faces a unique challenge due to recent tax changes in Spain. These alterations impose taxes on poker players’ winnings, affecting both local and international participants, irrespective of their professional or recreational status.
While European Union players face a 19% tax rate, non-EU players contend with a higher 24% rate. This change in tax classification has raised concerns and uncertainty among players about the sustainability of EPT Barcelona’s historically impressive turnouts.
Nevertheless, the record-breaking attendance during the CEP festival provides assurance, suggesting another prosperous EPT Barcelona edition on the horizon.
Running from August 21, the EPT Barcelona series features the prestigious €5300 EPT Main Event scheduled from August 27 to September 3. Online satellites on the PokerStars platform have already begun, with buy-ins starting as low as €5.50.
The North American Poker Tour (NAPT) will return for the first time in over a decade this coming November. In preparation, let’s take a look at the very brief but rather intriguing history of what was once an up-and-coming tour.
This fall, Resorts World in Las Vegas will host an NAPT event, which should bring out a huge crowd in the weeks leading up to the World Poker Tour (WPT) World Championship across the street at Wynn.
PokerStars, which also owns the European Poker Tour (EPT) has decided to re-launch the NAPT as the iconic online poker brand is focused on hosting live poker events in the US again and around North America. Later this month, the poker site will host a Summer Series at Live! Hotel & Casino Philadelphi a with $1 million guaranteed over three events.
So, what is (or was) the North American Poker Tour? Here’s a brief guide to what you missed if you hadn’t followed the NAPT from 2010-2011.
How it Began and Why it Ended
In 2010, PokerStars launched the NAPT and it immediately gained notoriety thanks in large part to the era it took place in, the successful branding of the tour, and a beneficial television deal with ESPN, the largest sports network in North American.
ESPN aired the NAPT on its secondary network, ESPN2, and used its long-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) commentators Lon McEachern and Norman Chad. Here’s a video of former PokerStars ambassador Jason Mercier making an incredible call on the river with a small pair in a 2010 event.
The tour was a rousing success during the poker boom era when poker was still mainstream and available on multiple major television networks. So, why did PokerStars pull the plug on it in 2011?
Season 1 (2010) consisted of seven tournaments around the continent, and then only two the following season (2011) due to the April 15, 2011 “Black Friday” scandal, which forced the top poker sites, including PokerStars, to cease operations in the US. As such, the tour became unnecessary as American players were no longer customers of PokerStars.
With PokerStars back in business in parts of the US (Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania) and Ontario, the poker site is bringing back live poker action around the continent.
PokerStars’ Entrance into North America Live Poker Tournaments (2016)
Biggest Names in the Game
Part of why the NAPT was entertaining had to do with the players in the game. The tour attracted many of the highest-profile players in poker, such as Daniel Negreanu, Vanessa Selbst, Erik Seidel, and Scott Seiver. Basically, if you were a big name poker pro back in 2010, you likely competed in at least one North American Poker Tour event.
The NAPT began at the 2010 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) in January with a $10,300 buy-in tournament that attracted 1,529 entries, creating a massive prize pool of $14.8 million. Harrison Gimbel would take it down, beating Tyler Reiman heads-up to win $2.2 million.
William Reynolds won a $25k high roller NAPT event during that same PCA series for $576,400, beating out 84 entrants. The third and fourth tour tournaments took place at the Venetian in Las Vegas with Tom Marchese and Ashton Griffin each winning an event.
In April 2010, the next two NAPT tournaments took place at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, and two big name PokerStars pros at the time came out victorious — Selbst and Mercier. Action then shifted to the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles in November of that same year. Joe Tehan won a $5,000 event for $725,000, beating out 701 players.
Season 2 kicked off in January 2011 at the PCA where Galen Hall came out victorious in a $10,300 buy-in tournament for $2,300,000. The turnout was slightly higher than the year prior, showing that NAPT interest hadn’t fallen off.
The tour then returned to Mohegan Sun for another successful tournament starting April 9, 2011 with 367 players registered for the $5,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament. Little did the NAPT know at the time that four days later, Black Friday would hit. Selbst won the tournament on April 13, two days prior to Black Friday, for $450,000 and became the only two-time NAPT champion. And that was the end of the North American Poker Tour for 11 years.
Complete North American Poker Tour Results
Jan. 5-11, 2010
Jan. 11-14, 2010
Venetian (Las Vegas)
Feb. 20-24, 2010
Venetian (Las Vegas)
Feb. 23-25, 2010
Mohegan Sun (Connecticut)
April 7-11, 2010
Mohegan Sun (Connecticut)
April 23-25, 2010
Bicycle Casino (Los Angeles)
Nov. 12-17, 2010
Jan. 8-15, 2011
*Mohegan Sun (Connecticut)
April 9-13, 2011
*Denotes Season 2 events.
PokerStars NAPT Returns on November 4
The PokerStars North American Poker Tour (NAPT) is returning after a 12-year hiatus, and where better to get the show on the road than fabulous Las Vegas? November 4-12 are the dates to highlight in your diaries because that is when NAPT Las Vegas heads to Resorts World in “Sin City.”
The 2023 NAPT Las Vegas takes place just one week before the most anticipated Formula 1 Grand Prix in history, which takes place through the streets of Las Vegas. PokerStars will be there, Oracle Red Bull Racing will be there, will you?
Click here for more details on the return of the NAPT!