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Best of Dan Igo
UNCASVILLE, Connecticut -- In a tournament sponsored by an online poker room, and in a field that was filled with baby-faced youngsters, it was ironic that three of the top five finishers in the PokerStars.net North American Poker Tour Mohegan Sun Main Event were in their teens and twenties before the Internet phenoms were even born.
Mike Beasley, 46, Mike Woods, 53, and Alistar Melville finished in second, third and fifth place, respectively, in Sunday's Main Event. Beasley and Woods have been playing poker for more than two decades.
Beasley, a strip club owner from Florida, said it was gratifying to finish so well in big tournament like this.
"It feels good because there are a lot of these younger players that actually respect the older players," he said. "But most of them are a little more cocky than we are and I think in some instances like these, it's actually a downfall.
"I think that's what happened with me and I exploited it. They underestimated me big time, especially yesterday. When they figured me out, it was too late. I had too many chips."
Melville, a Toronto resident who was visiting nearby Boston for business, decided to come down to Mohegan Sun because the Main Event buy-in was reasonable. But don't expect him to quit his day job.
"I might try to get into one or two more events this year," he said. "I'm not going to join the circuit or anything like that. I have a family that needs me back home."
Woods is an amateur player from Virginia, who said it was great to finish ahead of so many younger players. But he might need a refresher on the important tournaments on the poker calendar.
He asked when the next NAPT would be held. When told that the next date wasn't set, he was asked if he might make a trip to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker.
"What is that?" he asked. "Is that an NAPT event?"
Not surprisingly, a number of players sported logos on their clothing that weren't there the previous few days.
Vanessa Selbst was rocking Full Tilt logos on her zip-up jacket.
Mike Woods replaced his University of Virginia hat with one with a PokerStars logo on it.
Mike Beasley had a PokerStars patch on his leather jacket.
Cliff "JohnnyBax" Josephy was rocking PokerStars logos on his jacket and his shirt. He had worn University of Michigan and New York Mets gear on Days 3 and 4 respectively.
Scott Seiver was also patched up with PokerStars logos, but he had been sporting them throughout the tournament.
Jonathan Aguiar, Alistar Melville and Derek Raymond were not wearing logos. Melville, in fact, was wearing the same blue Sidney Crosby jersey he had been sporting since Day 1.
To the delight of fans and media alike, the tournament staff showed the final round of The Masters on a big projection screen in the convention center.
The first and second rounds of The Masters were shown on the same projection screen when the Main Event was in that room, much to the delight of Phil Ivey, who reportedly had a number of side bets on Tiger Woods winning the tournament.
Mike Beasley clamored for the third round to be shown on one of the big screens on Saturday, buthe didn't get his wish.
But because final table action ended before 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, Beasley was able to catch the last few holes on the big screen with his entourage after he was knocked out in second place.
The final table of the PokerStars.net NAPT Mohegan Sun Main Event was supposed to begin promptly at noon. In fact, tournament officials made it a point at the end of Day 4 that players should get to the table early because cards would be in the air at noon.
The cards were not in the air at noon. When Casino City went down to check out the scene at 11:30 a.m., the tournament staff was still in full preparation mode. By 12 p.m., the staff was still seating friends and family of the final table participants.
There was no stadium seating for the final table, but there were big screens above the table that showed the action from the felt. Spectators filled the first row around the table, with most of them seated behind the player they were supporting.
There were an additional two rows of seats on one side of the table that were sparsely filled with fans near the beginning of the day, but slowly filled up as play went on.
Of course, cameras and crew were everywhere in site, making it nearly impossible to follow the action unless viewing it on a big screen.
Vanessa Selbst's group was especially vocal, cheering loudly for every pot that she won, and a number of these fans came equipped with signs.
One sign read, "I'm gay for Vanessa." Another fan held a sign that said "We are rooting for Vanessa to win this poker tournament." And a simpler sign told the whole story: "V for Vanessa."