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The WPT North American Poker Championship Day 1B

International Field of 497 Generates $1.3 Million First Place Prize; Negreanu Falls Early In Action

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Welcome home Gavin Smith, "Yukon" Brad Booth, and Daniel Negreanu.

The three Canadian-born pros were among the 234 players who participated on day 1B of the North American Poker Championship. The second "day one" of the World Poker Tour event also included the official release of the tournament's payout structure. An international field of 497 players generated a $4,829,332 prize pool, and, with 45 places being paid, the winner of the 2006 NAPC was set to walk away with a $1,352,224 first-place cash prize.

For the complete payout structure please click here.

Day 1B action kicked off at 12:23 p.m. EDT with $25-$25 blinds and $20,000 starting stacks.

The fans, many of whom arrived early and stayed for the entire seven levels, needed to wait only half an hour to witness the day's biggest story.

Negreanu, one of poker's most recognizable ambassadors and most successful players, brought a rock star-like buzz into the event. He was a clear hometown favorite playing in his native country, and many hoped and expected him to advance deep into the NAPC.

Instead, Negreanu became the first major poker star, on either day one, to be eliminated during the tournament's first level. Less than 40 minutes into 1B action, Negreanu exited play when an opponent, holding pocket queens, flopped a full house, cracking "Kid Poker's" pocket kings.

Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, the current front-runner for the Card Player Player of the Year award, soon followed Negreanu to the rail. Down to his last $500 chip, Mizrachi bowed out of the 2006 NAPC after his pocket fives failed to hold up against an opponent's Aheart Qspade.

With the departure of Negreanu, the focus of many of the fans shifted to his two fellow countrymen, Gavin Smith and "Yukon" Brad Booth.

For Smith, day 1B proved to be a struggle, as the reigning WPT Player of the Year spent the majority of action as a short stack. Despite having few chips, Smith doubled up late in play when he moved all in with Aclub Qdiamond, and an opponent called with 8spade 6spade. The Kspade 7diamond 7club 3spade 3heart board gave Smith the winning hand, sending him on to the NAPC's official day two (albeit still short-stacked at around $10,000)

Donning a furry hunter's cap, Booth experienced a much different day 1B than Smith. The high-stakes specialist doubled up earlier in action after flopping an ace-high flush against Eric Froehlich. The pot put Booth's stack at the $40,000 mark and proved to be only one of many victories (heck, he even got a kiss from a female opponent after knocking her out of the tournament) en route to ending action in the top 10 chip counts.

While Booth and Smith received all the attention, fellow Canadian Jason Sagle made a quiet march up the leader board. He eliminated a short-stacked John Phan during level six when, holding Aspade 2spade, he flopped a deuce to beat Phan's Adiamond Jspade. With a stack in excess of $150,000, Sagle finished play as the day 1B chip boss.

Like the previous heat, the second "day one" of the 2006 North American Poker Championship concluded at 1:20 a.m. EDT.

Pros Allen Cunningham, Bill Edler, Nam Le, Mark Newhouse, Farzad Bonyadi, and Jordan Morgan all ended play in the top half of the leader board.

Notables who failed to survive the seven levels of play included David Williams, Shannon Shorr, Chris Bell, Amir Vahedi, Dustin "Neverwin" Woolf, Jean-Robert Bellande, Mark Seif, Eric Froehlich, Paul Wasicka, and David "The Dragonfly" Singer. Day 1B's remaining field of 104 and the 119 players left from 1A return at noon EDT for day two action.

Stay tuned to CardPlayer.com for all your live updates, chip counts, photos, and daily recaps.

Quote of the Day: "I had dinner with a 17-year-old boy" - The Dragonfly.