Tyler Kenney couldn't play NAPT Mohegan Sun last year. At just 20 years old, he would've been kicked out the moment anyone looked at his drivers license. Now 21, he's woken up every morning, drank a Vitamin Water, and sat down to play poker with the singular focus of making the final table. It's served him well. He is the chip leader of the main event with eight players remaining.
Brother to well-known grinder Bryn Kenney, Tyler Kenney has $163,000 in career live tournament earnings, most of it coming from a $90,000 cash at a $5,000 event in Las Vegas. Keep in mind, Kenney is new on the live scene and has posted seven live cashes in just the past year. Now he has his shot at an NAPT title and a chance to deny two people their second win on the tour.
Vanessa Selbst, a woman who has spent the last 12 months controlling the poker world like a small army of marionettes, is poised to put on one of the greatest shows of her career. Almost exactly one year removed from the day she won the first NAPT Mohegan Sun title, the Team PokerStars Pro has put herself in position to secure a repeat championship. She is second in chips on the way to the televised final table. On Day 3 of the NAPT Mohegan Sun main event, Selbst made taking the chip lead seem easy. Today she spent most of the day in control. It was only as Day 4 drew to a close that Kenney took over the chip lead.
The European Poker Tour has clawed its way through nearly seven full seasons without a repeat winner. Selbst is aiming to win twice inside of just a few NAPT events. It's an achievement that is punctuated by another startling fact: she isn't the only one who could pull off a second NAPT championship tomorrow.
It's been only five months since Joe Tehan won the NAPT Los Angeles event in November. This week, he's followed Selbst's lead all the way to the final table. Anyone wondering if tournament poker is still a skill game need only look at Selbst and Tehan. To paraphrase Mike McDermott, "What are they? The luckiest two people on the NAPT?"
Though it drew fewer than 400 players, the NAPT Mohegan Sun field was probably the toughest of any NAPT main event yet. It was packed with professional tourney grinders who know their stuff better than most people on the tournament circuit. The final eight stand witness to the difficulty of making it this far. They will sit down tomorrow as follows:
NAPT Mohegan Sun main event final table
Seat 1: Joe Tehan (1,238,000)
Seat 2: Thomas Hoglund, Jr. (541,000)
Seat 3: Dan Shak (1,571,000)
Seat 4: Vincent Rubianes (1,711,000)
Seat 5: Steve O'Dwyer (1,032,000)
Seat 6: Tyler Kenney (3,021,000)
Seat 7: Aaron Overton (373,000)
Seat 8: Vanessa Selbst (2,249,000)
If you'd like to see how they did it, we have the blow-by-blow in our NAPT Mohegan Sun Day 4 live updates.
For all the other scoreboard-y information you might want and some added entertainment, see any of the links below.
That should keep you busy until noontime tomorrow when we'll be back to see if Selbst or Tehan can score another NAPT title, or if the tour will get a new name on its list of champions.
We'll see you then.
All photography © Joe Giron/www.joegironphotography.com