Cards in/on the Air

The Poker Beat

by , Jan 9, 2010 | 6:48 pm

The Poker Beat is back … (attempting) to make sense of all that is going on in the poker world. In this episode, BJ, Huff, and I discuss (at length) PokerStars’ record-setting 149,000 player $1 tourney; the opening of the Aria poker room (and what this may or may not mean over at the Bellagio); the ridiculousness of 17 $1k rebuy tourneys at Bellagio’s upcoming 5-star Classic; everything that is the PCA; PokerStars getting in bed with the Venetian for the new NAPT; and over at Full Tilt, all things Isildur … and, of course, the second red-pro suspension of Brian Townsend.

The Poker Beat
Huff, Nemeth, Michalski

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BTW, a little breaking-ish news on this episode — and perhaps an indication of the perceived threat of the NAPT-Venetian, which just so happens to coincide with the LAPC, the usual early-year destination for the LA-LV poker masses … anyone who buys into the $10k WPT-LAPC main event at the Commerce before February 19 now will receive a seat in the televised $200k WPT Invitational. Neato!

9 Comments to “Cards in/on the Air ”

  1. BJ Nemeth

    I’m not 100% certain, but I think the same WPT Invitational deal applied last year for player’s who signed up early for the WPT Commerce Main Event. Matt Savage will know for sure. It’s good marketing either way, but it may not have been done in response to the NAPT schedule.

    If anyone is deciding between the WPT Celebrity Invitational and the NAPT Venetian, here are a few factors to keep in mind.

    1. Both events will be televised — the WPT on Fox Sports, and the NAPT on a network to be announced soon. (Hopefully announced before the event starts on Feb 20th.)

    2. The WPT Invitational is a freeroll with a $200,000 prizepool, and anyone who signs up early for the WPT Commerce Main Event gets a free seat. The NAPT has a buyin of $5,000, but that means it will likely have a higher prizepool. (But again, the WPT Invitational is FREE.)

    3. The WPT Invitational lasts three days and will likely have a faster blind structure. I expect the NAPT Venetian to have a better blind structure, and it will last four days.

    4. No word yet on what the NAPT Venetian will be like during the tournament, but the first night of the WPT Invitational (it starts in the evening) is one of the most unique tournaments you’ll ever play. There is a pre-tournament cocktail party for the poker pros to mingle with the celebrities (and vice versa), and that attitude is carried over to the tables when play begins. The cocktails flow freely, and nearly everyone is in a talkative, jovial mood. Most of the celebrities are weak poker players, and will play very poorly, but a few of them are pretty decent. In addition to the celebrities and the pro players, there are also some VIPs in the mix — altogether, it’s a pretty soft field.

    I’m obviously biased, as I work for the World Poker Tour. But in this case, I think if you’re planning to play the WPT Commerce Main Event, you should buy in early, take your free seat in the WPT Celebrity Invitational, and play in one of the most fun tournaments of the year. If you miss the NAPT event at the Venetian, you’ll be able to play in similar tournaments all year long.

    Each player will obviously make his or her own decision, and I’m very curious to see the turnout at these two events that start on the same day in cities that are separated by only a four-hour drive.

  2. DanM

    BJ=WPT Shill

  3. BJ Nemeth

    Yes, I should have written the “I’m obviously biased …” in the first paragraph instead of the seventh.

    And I know Dan is just giving me a hard time because it’s fun, but seriously, if anyone thinks I misrepresented anything about the WPT Invitational or the NAPT Venetian in my comment, or left anything relevant out, please let me know. (You can just leave a comment here and I’ll see it.)

  4. DanM

    I think the attendance of these two events will simply be a matter or California vs. Las Vegas. Exceptions being the Bobby’s Room LV pros will be headed to the LAPC, and PokerStars Pros will be in LV for the NAPT.

    For all the mid-level pros it will be a matter of satellites and geographical convenience. The ability to qualify for the NAPT online, however, should bring in some extras from everywhere else.

  5. Kevin Mathers

    The NAPT Venetian event is scheduled for 5 days (Feb. 20-24). MAYBE they’ll do two day 1’s?

  6. BJ Nemeth

    Of course, Kevmath is right, and the NAPT Venetian will be five days long, not four. Combined with the fact that the first day of the WPT Invitational isn’t a full day (since it starts at night), it’ll certainly have a better blind structure.

    The structure sheet for the WPT Invitational is available here:

    The standard EPT structure (assuming the NAPT is similar) is available here:

    Here’s a simplified summary of the two structures:

    WPT Invitational: 10,000 in chips, and blinds begin at 50-100 (100 big blinds). Levels last 40 minutes. It’ll take 11 hours and 20 minutes of play until the big blind is equal in size to the starting stack (10,000).

    EPT Structure: 30,000 in chips, and blinds begin at 50-100 (100 big blinds). Levels last 60 minutes on Day 1, and 75 minutes after that. It’ll take approximately 26 hours of play (depending on how many levels are played on Day 1) until the big blind is equal in size to the starting stack (30,000).

    Looking at the structures alone, the EPT (and presumably the NAPT) provides much more play than the WPT Invitational. However, I still contend that the WPT Invitational is a better tournament in this case, because it’s free, it’ll likely have a softer field, and it’s a unique tournament that’s one of the most fun of the year — whether you win or lose.

    And remember, this structure applies only to the WPT Invitational, and not to the $10,000 WPT Commerce main event. Here’s a quick summary of that structure, which is superior to both of the others:

    WPT Commerce Main Event: 20,000 in chips, and blinds begin at 25-50 (400 big blinds). It’ll take 36 hours of play until the big blind is equal in size to the starting stack (20,000).

  7. BJ Nemeth

    I don’t know if the NAPT Venetian will have multiple starting days, but for now, I’m assuming they’ll have only one Day 1.

  8. Kevin Mathers

    The schedule is now up over at, and Venetian will have just a single day 1.

  9. Doc T River

    Biased or not, BJ is right. The WPT Invitational is a seriously fun tournament. I was lucky enough to play last year and I had a blast. If I had to choose between the NAPT event and the WPT Invitational, I would choose the WPT Invitational event.