PokerNews will be on hand with live reports and other stories from the NAPT, just like in 2010, so there is a sense that history is repeating itself as PokerStars once again establishes its highly-anticipated North American tour.
After what was the third stop of the original NAPT at Mohegan Sun in 2010, former PokerNews writer Matthew Parvis published an article with five thoughts on the future of the tour following a swell of optimism with successful outings in The Bahamas and at Venetian Las Vegas — where Tom Marchese beat a field of 872 entries to claim the winner’s share of a $4,000,000 prize pool.
While Parvis correctly predicted the emergence of stars like Scott Seiver and Vanessa Selbst, no one could have imagined the industry’s fate after Black Friday brought an early end to the NAPT in 2011.
Now that the NAPT is back in 2023 it is only appropriate to revisit the enthusiasm with five thoughts on its reemergence.
Poker in North America is Big Business Again
Online poker is back in North America and this time it’s legal. States like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey have legalized online poker and PokerStars has entered all three markets with an eye on playing a major role on the continent.
Canadian players have always enjoyed access to online poker, but recent changes to Canadian gambling regulations have created a separate market in Ontario.
The launch of the NAPT — a complement to the European Poker Tour — will give players more live tournaments and more opportunities to win prize packages for poker trips around the country.
A New Wave of Stars
It’s a new era for PokerStars Ambassadors and the NAPT will be an American landing for several players that have built their popularity at live events throughout the world. Players like Sam Grafton, Benjamin Spragg, and Parker Talbot have built an American following through their streaming and their visits to the WSOP, but this is the first time that Team PokerStars can represent the brand under the bright lights of Las Vegas.
The NAPT will also introduce one of the newest additions to the team: Next Gen Poker. Next Gen Poker is a poker vlogging trio consisting of Jack, Rosey and Frank “Frankie” Cucchiara, three young players from Texas.
Maria Konnikova will also join the PokerStars Ambassador team and there is sure to be more to come as PokerStars expands its reach in the United States.
More Than Just Poker for Online Qualifiers
For the first time in a long time, PokerStars US players can qualify for an event on American soil through online tournaments and promotions.
One such promotion is the Power Path, where players can win a Vegas Gold Pass — an opportunity for players to earn a seat in the $5,300 NAPT Las Vegas High Roller and three-day access for two people at the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
The full package is worth $20,300 and contains:
- one seat in the $5,300 NAPT Las Vegas High Roller, running from November 10 to 12;
- three-day passes—from November 16 to 18—for two people for the Oracle Red Bull Racing Fan Experience in Las Vegas;
- ten nights—from November 9 to 19—accommodation for two at Resorts World Las Vegas;
- taxes and resort fees; and
- an additional $3,653 towards flights and expenses.
The NAPT will be full of online qualifiers that won their way to Las Vegas and it will be a throwback to the pre-Black Friday days when dreams were made from the comfort of an American couch. And if the qualifiers aren’t so lucky, they can still stick around and enjoy the race.
An Annual Spectacle?
Winners of the Vegas Gold Pass will move on from the NAPT to the Oracle Red Bull Fan Experience and several other players have made plans to stick around for the Las Vegas Grand Prix to make a once-in-a-lifetime trip of it.
However, it may not be a once-in-a-lifetime, because the Las Vegas Grand Prix has made a permanent footprint around The Strip. The proximity of the NAPT to the race may be too tempting for PokerStars to pass up in the future and an early November event might become a regular feature on the poker schedule.
There’s no guarantee on where future NAPT stops will be held, but Las Vegas will probably be one of them — and the weather in November is perfect. Formula One is just the beginning of large sports spectacles in Las Vegas, and where you find events like the Super Bowl and the Final Four, you will find large poker tournaments that want to take advantage of the action.
New Resort, New Vegas
Resorts World will be just over two years old when the NAPT arrives and this will be the first large poker event that it has hosted. The thriving cash tables and other small festivals is an indication that poker players love the property and this is a chance for Resorts World to join the regular rotation of major poker events.
The property has over 3,500 rooms and 117,000 square feet of gaming space and its endless shopping and dining options will be a welcome sight for players who have become accustomed to a 360-degree experience.
A lot has changed since the NAPT last visited Las Vegas in 2010. The city has rebounded from the recession that clouded the early part of that decade and more than one million people have moved to the valley in the last 13 years. But nothing has changed about the draw of Las Vegas, and both PokerStars and Resorts World have the opportunity to establish an event that is around for a long time.
For more information about the Resorts World Poker Room, check out this PokerNews review.
Be sure to check out live coverage of the NAPT throughout the series right here on PokerNews.
Las Vegas-based PokerNews Live Reporting Executive, originally from Chicago, IL