Last week, the first season of the PokerStars.net North American Poker Tour wrapped up. The first season consisted of four stops beginning with the 2010 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. After that great series held in The Bahamas, the NAPT took to the Venetian in Las Vegas, Mohegan Sun in Connecticut and Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles.
After the announcement of the NAPT was made, the poker world highly anticipated the first season. All poker players and serious poker fans know what PokerStars-sponsored events bring to the table. Just look at the success the European Poker Tour has had. In smaller markets, the Latin American Poker Tour and the Asia Pacific Poker Tour have also succeeded well. That also means the NAPT had a lot to live up to, especially when diving into the already saturated United States.
Everyone knows that when an event is PokerStars sponsored, it’s a big event. These events tend to blow the top off everything done before and shatter the competition. That was certainly the feeling coming into season one of the NAPT, but would PokerStars really be able to compete with the World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker Circuit brands that were already well-established as prominent tours in the U.S. since 2002 and 2005, respectively?
Not only did the NAPT compete, the numbers shattered those from the first years of the WPT and WSOP Circuit. Just take a look at the table below to see the numbers the NAPT put up.
|Tour Stop||Buy-in||Entrants||Prize Pool||First-Place Prize|
Those are quite the impressive numbers for a tour in its inaugural season. No other tour in its first season matched those numbers. The smallest field size was 701 at the NAPT Los Angeles stop that concluded the first season. What other $5,000 buy-in events can boast those types of numbers? Nearly none. In the first season of the WPT, the largest field size was 177 for the PartyPoker Million. During the WSOP Circuit’s first season, the largest field size was 259 at Harrah’s New Orleans. The PartyPoker Million had a comparative buy-in of $5,500, but the WSOP Circuit event at Harrah’s New Orleans boasted a $10,000 buy-in. That’s double the majority of the NAPT stops. Even if you were to double the entrants from that Circuit event to estimate what it would be if the buy-in was halved, you’d still be 183 entrants short of the smallest NAPT event.
The NAPT had an average field size of 955 players when you include the 2010 PCA Main Event. That number does skew things a bit because it was so large at 1,529 entrants. If you take that tournament out of the equation and look at just the NAPT Venetian, the NAPT Mohegan Sun and the NAPT Los Angeles main events, the average is 763 players. That means massive field all for a pretty hefty buy-in of $5,000 a pop. That creates an average prize pool of over $3.5 million and an average first-place prize of $767,549. Those are quite the figures and the NAPT should be proud of such success in just its first trip around the block. PokerNews caught up with Garry Gates, the NAPT Media Coordinator, to see how he felt about the first season’s numbers.
“Based on the numbers our Season 1 stops generated, I'm excited and optimistic about the future of the NAPT,” Gates said. “We averaged 763 main-event runners through the first season, not counting the PCA.”
With all of the online qualifiers the NAPT draws in from being a PokerStars-sponsored tour, the fields are ultra-juicy. These hundreds of online qualifiers are what draw in the big-name pros to these events. The average of 763 entrants for the first season, not counting the PCA Main Event, is larger than any other tour in North America.
Having such success in the first season gets people talking and this tour is only going to grow larger and larger. “This is only the beginning,” said Gates, who looks forward to much success from the NAPT in the future. “My NAPT Season 2 forecast calls for bigger fields, richer prize pools and the continued growth of the game in the North American region.”
You can't argue with the numbers, and they clearly show that the NAPT delivered in its first season. In a future article, we’ll compare the NAPT to the other prominent tours in North America. Season 2 of the NAPT kicks off in January in The Bahamas for the 2011 PCA, and, hopefully, you can be part of it.
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