World Series of Poker Europe NAPT Los Angeles Day 1a: Scott Fischman and John "The Razor" Phan Thrive

John Phan

Over the past year, Season 1 of the North American Poker Tour has held stops at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, and at the Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. Today the fourth and final stop of the NAPT Season 1 got underway in Los Angeles at the Bicycle Casino. Anticipation for Day 1a was strong and 328 players turned out for their shot at an NAPT title.

Among the pros that made their way to the Bike were PokerStars Team Pros Barry Greenstein and Greg Raymer; former NAPT winner Vanessa Selbst; November Niners Soi Nguyen and Joseph Cheong; poker couple Annette Obrestad and Scott Montgomery; and the Magician, Antonio Esfandiari. They all came seeking NAPT glory and a nice payday, but unfortunately for them all, they were unable to survive the day.

Not everyone was so unlucky. John “The Razor” Phan got off to a strong start as he quickly rocketed toward the top of the chip counts. In one hand, Phan found himself all in with {A-Spades}{A-Diamonds} on a board of {K-Clubs}{4-Hearts}{Q-Diamonds}{8-Clubs}{2-Hearts} while his opponent held {A-Hearts}{K-Spades}. Phan doubled on the hand to become the first player to crack the 100,000 chip mark! Although others eventually caught up to Phan, he managed to survive the day with 101,400.

Others who’ll be returning to Day 2 action are Jason Mercier, William Reynolds, Justin Bonomo, Chris Klodnicki, Carter King, Alec Torelli, Gavin Griffin, Eric Baldwin . Justin “Boosted J” Smith, and Chad Brown. Brown had nursed a short stack throughout much of the day and was in rough shape entering Level 9. Lucky for him, he managed to get all his chips in with {Q-Spades}{Q-Hearts} on a {4-Clubs}{7-Hearts}{Q-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}{2-Spades} board for a late double to around 50,000.

Even though many of these pros did quite well on Day 1a, they are all chasing Nick Grippo, who appears to be the Day 1a chip leader with 235,100. Hot on his heels are Scott Fischman (224,600) and Tom Middleton (229,100), both of whom amassed respective stacks. While Fischman built his throughout the later levels, Middleton's fortune was largely the result of one hand. With a board reading {8-Hearts}{7-Diamonds}{3-Diamonds}{6-Clubs}{3-Spades}, Middleton was all in for 71,900 and action was on Matt Woodward. After tanking for several minutes, Woodward made the call and Middleton turned over {3-Hearts}{3-Clubs} for the nuts. He obviously won the pot and saw his stack soar over 200,000 in chips as the day closed out.

Approximately 150 players from Day 1a will return for Day 2; however, before they get there another opening day has to take place. Day 1b of the NAPT Los Angeles is expected to draw another massive field and more of poker’s biggest names. Only time will tell who will thrive and who will fail to survive. Of course, the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be there for all of the action, chip counts and eliminations live at the Bike!

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