NAPT Los Angeles: Day 1B, Levels 1-4 (150-300)

napt-thumb.jpg5:27: Break time
Players are on a 15-minute break. We'll be closing out this post and moving on to a fresh one to start Level 5. You'll find that on the top of the home page in just a few minutes.

5:20pm: Too Little too late
Markus Gonsalves opened for a 700 raise and was met with a three-bet to 2,000 from Jonathan Little. Gonsalves tanked for about a minute before calling and they saw a J♠T♠3♣ flop. Gonsalves checked, Little bet out, and before you could say "Cocktails on Table 13!" all their money was in the middle. Gonsalves turned over J♦T♦ for top two pair while Little's A♠J♣ trailed. Little couldn't find an ace and he quickly departed the table as Gonsalves stacked up 68,000 in chips.


The agony of defeat...

5:02pm: Sesso takes over chip lead
If you're just tuning in and looking for the Day 1B chip leader, you're looking for David Sesso. With a 6,000 bet to him on a flop of 5♦J♠3♣, Sesso made it 16,000 and got the call. When the Q♥ fell on the turn, Sesso' opponent checked and Sesso put out enough to put his man all-in. The call was of the snap variety. Sesso turned over J♦J♣, way out in front of his opponent's black aces. The river was the 6♠ and Sesso moved up to around 160,000.

We last met Sesso in Monte Carlo for the EPT Grand Final where he managed to place 21st while playing the entire event with a cast on his left arm. He seems to have healed well.


David Sesso loves chips as much as he loves other stuff

5:05pm: Del Grosso continues his climb
Marcello del Grosso's comeback from the brink continues, and he is now a lot more comfortable in the high 20,000s. This time he raised to 800 in late position, was re-raised to 2,200 from the small blind, shoved for 10,500 and got a call. Del Grosso's A♠K♥ spiked a an ace on the flop to out-race [10s][10h]. Del Grosso, who was down to about 3,000 not so long ago, now has ten times that.

5pm: Back to square one
Daniel Negreanu was down to about 15,000 but has doubled it up to match his starting stack of 30,000. He found queens when Peter Costa had ace-queen and the pocket pair stayed good.

4.55pm: And now officially
Further to the unofficial announcement of 4.42pm, we now have our official number of players. In actual fact, 368 showed up today, which makes 698 in total for the two day one fields. They have combined to make a prize pool of $1,695,560, the breakdown of which will be with you shortly.

4:47pm: Sneaky, sneaky
With the sounds of the Brazilian semifinal soccer match still thundering in his ears, Andre Akkari put out an opening raise to 800 and got one caller in the small blind. Both players checked the K♥8♥8♦ flop. The turn came the 2♠ and the small blind checked over to Akkari, who bet 1,100. The small blind made the call, then check-called another 2,500 from Akkari on the river. Akkari turned over J♣8♣ for trips, his crafty flop check earning him a substantial pot. He's up to 45,000 in chips.

4.45pm: Easy come, easy go for Eskandari
No sooner had Massoud Eskandari appeared on the radar with the biggest stack in the room in front of him, than he was giving some of it to his new neighbour Freddy Deeb. Deeb raised to 1,300 from under-the-gun and Eskandari was the only caller, from the big blind.

They went to a flop of J♦2♠4♠ and Eskandari led at it instantly, for 1,500. Deeb didn't wait much longer in calling. The turn came 4♦ and again Eskandari insta-bet, this time 3,500. Deeb dwelled a moment before calling, taking them to a J♠ river.

Now Eskandari checked, but Deeb fired for 11,500. If Eskandari felt a little hesitant about making the call, it was because although he'd rivered a flush with his Q♠[10s], Deeb has rivered a boat with his K♠J♣.

We found out those hands after Eskandari did make the call, shipping about 15,000 to Deeb, who now has about 95,000 of his own.

4:42pm: Unofficially...
If you're the type of people to focus on numbers, you might be interested in the unofficial number of entrants. One tourney official offered a 99% certainty that today's entries will come in at 367. That will make the total field 697 players. When they settle up that remaining 1% of certainty, we'll be back with official numbers and payout information. Until then, here's a nice photo of Team Pro's David Williams, one of the unofficial 367 in today's field.


4:32pm: Eskandari topping the field
Maybe it's the fact he's sitting with NAPT champ Tom Marchese, or maybe it's a day of run good, but local grinder Massoud Eskandari has emerged as our first player on Day 1B to make it to six figures. As we begin level four, Eskandari has nearly quadrupled his starting stack and currently sits on 110,000.


Massoud Eskandari


4.20pm: Haffa has his revenge on ElkY; Nacho also crunched
In a matter of 10 seconds, this tournament has lost two of its favorites: the Team PokerStars Pro duo of Jose "Nacho" Barbero and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier. Details on the former elimination are a little scarce, but he's involved in this story, which ends with ElkY following Nacho out the door.


Jose "Nacho" Barbero

Nacho was standing up, wolfing down a plate of noodles, and not seeming to be paying much attention to the poker being played at his table. It was because he was feasting on his last supper--he was already out when his food arrived--but hung around to finish it off. When Nacho had had enough, he wandered over to ElkY's table to wish the Frenchman good luck with a pat on the shoulder. But Nacho might not have noticed that ElkY was embroiled in a hand at the time with Hafiz Khan.

The flop was out: 4♥[10h][10d] and Khan check-called ElkY's bet of 2,400. The 6♠ turned and Khan checked again. ElkY bet 3,325 and Khan called. The river was 8♣ and Khan checked again. ElkY moved all in for about 13,000 and Khan snap-called.

ElkY seemed delighted about the call until Khan turned over [10s]8♠ for the flopped trips and rivered boat. ElkY showed his 4♣4♥ in a mixture of disbelief and disgust and headed out the door. ElkY bested Khan to win the PCA in 2008, but this time Haffa had his revenge, rivering the bigger full house.


Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier

4:17pm: Del Grosso doubles
Marcello Del Grosso is still grinding. He just managed to double up to 6,000 when his A♦8♥ held up against Dan Heimiller's K♦Q♠ on a 4♣2♦4♥7♦J♥ board. "When he tanked," said one neighbor of Heimiller, "you had to know ace-high was good." "I didn't want a call," said Del Grosso while stacking Heimiller's chips.


Marcello del Grosso: grinding along

4:15pm: Ramdin rebounds
See, what did we tell you about Victor Ramdin? Our next pass by his table found him three-betting to 3,700 after the cutoff opened for 1,250. The cutoff shoved and Ramdin snap-called, tabling A♥A♣ to his opponent's A♠K♦. The board ran out a safe K♣J♣2♥3♥7♦ and Ramdin scored a double-up to 44,500.

4:07pm: Del Grosso almost Del Gone-o
Canadian Team PokerStars Pro Marcello Del Grosso is having a rough go of it today. Down to his last few thousand chips, he just got it in with big slick. His opponent shrugged and turned over...big slick. "Nice hand, young man," Del Grosso said. They chopped the pot and the Team Pro is still on life support.

4:00pm: What Are They Eating, Day 1B
Yesterday we introduced you to a new feature here on the PokerStars Blog. As The Bike has the widest variety of tableside food choices of any casino in which we've worked. As the lunchtime of poker players has just passed, here's a quick review of What They Are Eating.

  • Jose "Nacho" Barbero: Nachos Singapore Rice Noodles
  • Brett Richey: Pepper steak
  • Mario Ho: Fruit plate
  • Jim Meehan: New York Strip (medium rare) and four fingers of...something
  • Dan Shak: Turkey sandwich and potato salad
  • Nenad Medic: BLT
  • 4pm: Bari flops two pair, cracks bigger pair
    Allen Bari was all in on a board of 9♥6♠5♥ and ahead with 5♣6♣ against pocket tens. The turn was K♠ and the river J♠, giving Bari the double up to more than 35,000. "I suck," Bari said. "I should have folded to you." After opening pre-flop, he had called a three bet with his suited connectors and got there, to crack the pocket pair.

    3:55pm: Ramdin runs into trouble
    We don't tend to fear for Victor Ramdin when we find him short-stacked early; walk past his table one minute he's down to the felt, walk past ten minutes later, he's the chip leader. With the board reading K♣T♣6♠7♠, the small blind checked to Ramdin, who bet 2,200. The small blind called and they watched the J♦ land on the river. The small blind checked, Ramdin bet 3,600, and he was met with a raise to 10,000. Ramdin thought it out for several minutes before releasing his hand, saving the 17,500 he had behind.

    3.30pm: Akkari here in body only
    We were joined on media row during the break by the Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari, smiling as always and clearly in good spirits. Well, he was here in body, I suppose, but his mind was clearly elsewhere. Akkari was plugged in to radio broadcast of his soccer team, Corinthians, playing a crucial match against their close rivals Cruzeiro in Rio de Janeiro. "This is more important than that," Akkari said, pointing first to his radio and only then to his chip stack. "Eighty million people are watching this."

    Akkari wheeled away in delight mid-conversation, suggesting there had been a breakthrough in the match. His poker has been steady through the first couple of levels and he sits with about his starting stack. Soccer will always take precedence for the Brazilians.


    Akkari, with mind elsewhere


    3.10pm: Break time
    That's the end of level two and players are taking their first 15 minute break of the day.

    3pm: Grinder's wings clipped
    We saw yesterday how last week's November Niners have struggled to keep the momentum going after their million-dollar-plus paydays in Vegas. All of Matt Jarvis, Joseph Cheong and Soi Nguyen busted yesterday, and Michael Mizrachi has just been reduced to his last few thousand chips here today after a river bluff gone awry.

    There was already about 5,000 chips in the middle and the flop of [10c]7♦J♠ exposed when Susie Zeho bet 3,700. Mizrachi called. The turn was 7♣ and they both checked, taking them to a river of 4♦. Zeho bet 10,800 and Mizrachi moved all in over the top, covering Zeho's 23,500 total stack - but only just. Zeho called and Mizrachi sheepishly announced: "Nine high." Zeho tabled K♥K♣ to win.


    Michael Mizrachi on day 1B of NAPT Los Angeles

    "You bet the turn, I shove," said Mizrachi, having also just demonstrated that he shoves the river too. Grinder isn't yet out, but he is very short. His November Nine colleagues Jason Senti and John Dolan remain in today's field.

    2.45pm: Physioc phloored
    "Hey, what was the name of that guy?" asked a player pointing to an empty seat, formerly occupied by Grayson "spacegravy" Physioc. It was a fairly effective way of indicating the departure of the Team Online player, who couldn't recover from the huge beat in the first level (detailed below). Greg Mueller is also out.

    2.40pm: Ketteringham up, Ketteringham down
    Mark Ketteringham, who finished 17th in the Main Event of the first NAPT event at the Venetian in February, is again in the thick of the action this afternoon. He took a big pot from Victor Ramdin (who actually did extremely well to get away from a cooler so cheaply), but then paid most of it back to Jason Koon on the very next hand.

    Here's how those two hands played out:

    First up, Ramdin opened to 400 from UTG+1 and Kettingham called on the button. Both the blinds also called, but they both check-folded when Ramdin bet 850 on the 4♥9♣2♦ flop. Kettingham called, however.

    The turn was the 2♠ and Ramdin bet 2,150, which Kettingham called, taking them to a 9♥ river. Ramdin slowed down and checked, but Kettingham seemed to like it. He bet 5,000. Ramdin picked a blue 5K chip from his stack and made what was clearly a reluctant call. He was duly shown Kettingham's J♠9♠ for a rivered boat. Ramdin's 4♦4♣ had been beaten.


    Victor Ramdin, got away cheaply as boat was sailed down the river

    On the next hand, as Ramdin related his misfortune to a friend on the rail, Kettingham was again involved. Aaron Lerner raised to 375, Ketteringham and Koon both called. The flop came 9♣3♣2♦ and Koon fired 1,900. Lerner folded but Kettingham called.

    The turn was A♠ and Koon fired 3,600, which Kettingham called, and the pattern repeated after the A♦ rivered. Koon bet 11,000, which Kettingham called, but then mucked when Koon showed A♣T♦.

    2:30pm: Surprising Senti
    It was a multi-way raised pot featuring none other than November Niner Jason Senti. Michael Cameron had come in for a raise and they saw a 5♥4♠T♣ flop. Cameron led for 1,100 and Senti was the only one to call. Both remaining players checked the K♠ turn. When the 6♠ came on the river, Cameron insta-checked. His check hit almost before the card hit the table. Senti casually tossed out a 1,000 chip. Cameron's response was an immediate check-raise to 5,000. Senti seemed perplexed. His 1,000 bet apparently wasn't meant to buy an orphan pot. It seemed he actually had a hand. After apologizing for taking so long, Senti called to see Cameron's A♠T♠.


    Jason Senti on day 1B of NAPT Los Angeles

    2:13pm: Still Grinding
    Joining his fellow November Niners John Dolan and Jason Senti is Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, who drew one of the most aesthetically pleasing seats today, to the left of Jennifer Tilly. Mizrachi looks to be coming out of the gate fast and loose today, as he just played a substatial pot (allegedly) without pairing his hand.

    On a Q♠7♥6♥ flop, Mizrachi checked to the player in the cutoff, who bet 2,100. Mizrachi made the call. When the 8♠ hit the turn, Mizrachi asked his opponent how much he had left behind before making a surprising check. The cutoff checked behind. The river fell the J♥ and Mizrachi made it 3,000 to go. It was enough to shake his opponent and Mizrachi stacked up 38,000 in chips, confessing that he held ace-king unimproved.


    2pm: Menlo, Ho, Nacho (and Toilet)
    Of all the tough tables in this room, the hardest is almost certainly that featuring Isaac "westmenloAA" Baron, Nacho Barbero, Maria Ho and Faraz Jaka. There's some real pedigree in that little lot.

    Elsewhere, Shannon Elizabeth lines up alongside Phil Laak, Carter Phillips and Darus Suharto.

    1:54pm: Blogger makes good
    We're blogging types around these parts, so we always feel good when we see one of our own make it to the ranks of the big dogs. Several years ago when the PokerStars Blog team oversaw the World Blogger Championship of Online Poker, we met Dale Philip, better known as Daleroxxu, the man from Scotland who beat out more than 2,200 bloggers for the first place prize. Since then, he's become one of the world's more popular poker bloggers and has earned a spot on PokerStars' Team Online. Philip is in the field today and has drawn a seat with November Niner Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi.

    1:45pm: spacegravy dribbles down
    Team Online's Grayson "spacegravy" Physioc plays enough tournaments to know that big pairs don't always hold up, even in the early levels. But as he watched pretty much all his stack slid in the direction of John Cernuto, there was enough evident despair etched on his face to show that it still hurts.

    It seemed as though four players were initially involved pre-flop, with about 1,200 in the pot already from each of them. Cernuto then made it 6,400 from the cut off, and Physioc was the only one to call from the hijack. The flop came J♣8♠Q♦ and Physioc checked. Cernuto bet 10,000 and suddenly they were all in (I'm assuming Physioc pushed, but couldn't quite hear). Whatever, the result was the same. Physioc showed K♣K♦ but Cernuto's Q♠Q♥ had flopped a set and the turn and river blanked.


    Grayson Physioc sees the bad news

    Physioc is down to loose change, while Cernuto has about 55,000.


    Grayson Physioc gathers his thoughts after an early beat

    1:43pm: Baron can't shake Nacho
    On a flop of Q♦7♦4♠, Nacho Barbero led out for 525 and was met with a raise to 1,525 from Isaac Baron. Barbero tossed in a red 1k chip and they went to the turn, the 2♦. Barbero checked, Baron bet 2,500 and Barbero came along. When the 3♠ hit the river Barbero turned around and led for a 2,125 value bet. Baronmade what looked like a reluctant call and watched Barbero turn over 5♦6♦ for a flush. Baron slipped to 24,200 while Barbero is up to 36,000.

    1.30pm: Small battles and reunions
    As is always to be expected, the random table draw has come up with some tasty small battles within the larger whole. Purists will no doubt appreciate the reunion of the 2008 PCA heads-up fighters, ElkY and Hafiz Khan, for instance. Another player from that final table, Joe "bigegypt" Elpayaa is sitting to the immediate right of Kathy Liebert.


    Hafiz Khan and ElkY

    Team Online's Grayson Physioc is in the small blind when "Miami" John Cernuto is in the large, and one more table along Marcello Del Grosso plays on the same slab of felt as John Turner. The recent November Niner Jason Senti is on the same table as Daniel Negreanu. The 2009 WSOP Champion Joe Cada is alongside the EPT Berlin champion Kevin MacPhee.

    1:18pm: Kid Poker pulls a fast one
    "Porter! Porter!"

    I thought someone was trying to flag down a food runner so I paid it no attention. Then Daniel Negreanu tapped me on the shoulder.

    "I'd like a green salad with kidney beans and..."

    I didn't let him get any further before I fake-clocked him in the jaw and he scurried back to his seat.

    "It's Level 1! We all have 30,000!" he laughed, poking fun at the fact that we bloggers tend to start circling the field well, a little early.

    Among those with 30,000 in chips are Negreanu's tablemate Jason Senti, fresh off his November Nine appearance and seventh-place finish in the WSOP Main Event where he flew the mighty red spade.

    We've spotted Team Pros Vanessa Rousso, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Nacho Berbero, Andre Akkari, and Joe Cada so far, along with 2010 WSOP Player of the Year Frank Kasella, Kathy Liebert, Chad Batista, Matt Stout, Allen "Chainsaw" Kessler, Adam Junglen, Brian Hastings, Jimmy Tran, and both Lerner twins, Aaron and Derek.

    1.05pm: Any minute now
    Good afternoon all and welcome back to the Bike. Day 1B of the NAPT Los Angeles event is about to get under way and, as expected, this is a bigger field even than yesterday. Dealers have been busy counting out chips and stacking them in front of empty chairs for a good hour or so, and now those chairs have been filled with a procession of the great and the good from this game.

    You can head on over to the chip count page to see approximate chip stacks from some selected day 1B players, updated through the day. If you want to see how it wound up yesterday, then check out the Day 1A counts.

    Some time today, we'll know the final number of runners and therefore the prize pool. Join us for that thrilling information - and plenty more - before we're done.


    Dealers prepare for day 1B of NAPT Los Angeles

    Reports from the NAPT Main Event come from Change100, Howard Swains, Brad Willis, and photographer Joe Giron.