If ever there was a city designed to host a poker tournament, it is Los Angeles, California. Ever since movie moguls descended on this particular wandering sprawl sometime in the 1920s, more wannabes have landed here with a dream than perhaps any other city in the world. For a lucky and talented few, they discovered riches beyond their wildest imaginings. For a much more significant number, they found only despair. (And a job waiting tables on Melrose.)
Such is the pattern for tournament poker. In the coming couple of days, we’ll see somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 poker players ponying up $5,000 each for a shot at the big time. Almost all of them will leave empty handed, but for one there will be a payday close closing in on seven figures, plus the acclaim and envy of their peers. There will be magazine covers and a press pack following their every move. Poker players are in many ways the new movie stars – the winners, at least.
So welcome then to the Bicycle Casino, in Bell Gardens, Los Angeles. It is some place. There has been a card-room here since 1984, and poker tables in two rooms stretch as far as the eye can see. It’s an appropriate stop for the third leg of the inaugural season of the North American Poker Tour (NAPT), a tour that is already the most talked about in the country.
Today, Friday, is Day 1A. Tomorrow, Saturday, is Day 1B. We’ll play through until next Wednesday before we crown a champion, and we will have all the stories from the tournament floor right here.
Today’s plan is to play eight one-hour levels, with no dinner break, and play is due to start at 1pm. That means we’ll be pedal to the metal until about 10pm. Our first point of duty will be to introduce you to some of the players joining the fray today. As expected, Team PokerStars Pro will be out in force.