Sami Bechahed is the First North American Poker Tour Champion in More than a Decade

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It’s been way too long, PokerStars. The first North American Poker Tour since 2010 wrapped up its series at the Resorts World Las Vegas and it should signal to the online giant that its brand still carries a whole lot of weight in America.

Sami Bechahed
Sami Bechahed is the 2023 North American Poker Tour Champion. (Image: PokerStars)

The headliner, a $1,650 event with a $1.5 million guarantee, brought in 1,095 entries, some of which were won online. Sami Bechahed is the man who ended up with all the chips and the $268,945 top prize. Bechahed, whose wife is about to have a baby, broke the $1 million in tournament winning mark with the victory.

“Throughout this tournament, I faced some incredible players, and the final table was an example of it. I was the second least experienced player on this final table. So I had to manage this carefully, take my time, and it worked out well,” Bechahed told a PokerStars reporter.

It’s not like Bechahed hasn’t been in this position before. He owns three World Series of Poker Rings, including one from a $1,700 Main Event win in Choctaw in 2022. He won his third only last month in a $400 event at Thunder Valley Casino.

But he’s right about the players who tried to stand in his way as he locked in his fourth six-figure payday.

Runner-up Jonathan Borenstein will pass the $2.5 million in tournament cashes mark thanks to a 2023 where he scored two of his top three — first in January by finishing fourth at the Borgata’s The Return for $368,324 before getting his third best at the NAPT this weekend.

High stakes tournament poker regular David Coleman finished third in the NAPT championship event for $120,130 a day before finishing fifth in its $5,300 Pot-limit Omaha high roller event for $17,895. Coleman, who has $2.8 million in tourney cashes, doesn’t have a significant victory on his resume, but does have five(!) runner-up finishes on the PokerGO Tour, four of them coming in a five month period in the fall of 2021.

Fourth-place finisher Ping Liu is only 10 days from winning a $5,300 event at the PokerGO PGT Sprint Series for $89,600, just under the $92,410 at the NAPT. He also is in the mid-$2 millions for tournament cashes.

Spanish pro Sergio Aido brought his $15 million in cashes to the final table, but stalled in fifth for $71,080.

Nick Schulman has Aido’s lifetime tournament winnings beat by a hair over a $1 million, but the high-stakes pro who made six final tables (including a win) on the PGT since October could only manage a sixth here for $54,680.

Sandeep Pallampati (seventh for $42,060), Anthony Dianaty (eighth for $32,355), and Ryan Leng (ninth for $24,885), who has three WSOP bracelets and four WSOP rings, rounded out the final nine. The top 159 cashed.

The NAPT is part of PokerStars global series, which includes the European Poker Tour, the Brazillian Series of Poker (BSOP), the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT), the UK and Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT, which features the Irish Open), Spain’s Estrellas Poker Tour (ESPT), and the France Poker Series (FPS).

While there are currently no NAPT events scheduled, it’s a good bet that more will be the way.

Part of PokerStars’ global family of live tournaments

The $1,650 buy-in NAPT Las Vegas no-limit hold’em main event attracted 1,095 total entries 

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