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Sami Bechahed Wins PokerStars North American Poker Tour Las Vegas Main Event At Resorts World

French Poker Dealer Defeats 1,095-Entry Field In $1,650 Buy-In Tournament To Earn $268,945


For the first time in over a decade, a PokerStars North American Poker Tour main event champion was decided this week at Resorts World Las Vegas. The final table featured several top tournament professionals, but in the end, it was French poker dealer Sami Bechahed who emerged victorious with the title and the top prize of $268,945.

“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 PokerStars reporters after coming out on top.

Bechahed moved from Europe to America to be with his wife, who is currently nine months pregnant. He has dealt cash games on several of the biggest live streams based out of Southern California over the years but recently has begun to have more and more success on the other side of the table. In 2022 he took down the World Series of Poker Circuit Choctaw main event for a career-best $274,916. With this latest victory in Las Vegas, Bechahed has increased his career earnings to more than $1.1 million.

The $1,650 buy-in NAPT Las Vegas no-limit hold’em main event attracted 1,095 total entries across six total starting flights, surpassing the $1.5 million guarantee to create a final prize pool of $1,609,650 that was paid out among the top 159 finishers. This was the first NAPT main event held since 2011, which was when the tour’s second season was sent on hiatus in the wake of poker’s Black Friday.

Plenty of big names ran deep in this event, including Parker Talbot (36th), two-time bracelet winner Scott Ball (28th), two-time bracelet winner David Jackson (22nd), Aditya Prasetyo (14th), Japanese poker vlogger Masato Yokosawa (13th), World Poker Tour champion Matthew Wantman (12th), Aaron Massey (10th), and three-time bracelet winner Ryan Leng (9th).

Nick SchulmanThe final day began with Bechahed in the lead and Spanish high-stakes regular Sergio Aido in second chip position. The very first hand of the day saw Sandeep Pallampati run top and bottom pair into the middle set of Aido, who surged into the lead after his hand held up. Pallampati earned $42,060 as the seventh-place finisher.

WPT champion and four-time bracelet winner Nick Schulman was the next to fall. He called all-in from the big blind with pocket fours for just over 10 big blinds facing a small-blind shove from Bechahed, who held K-7. Bechahed flopped a king and held from there to eliminate Schulman in sixth place ($54,680). The New York native now has more than $17.1 million in career tournament earnings. The 320 Card Player Player of the Year points he secured for his 15th final-table finish of 2023 were enough to move him into 45th place in the POY standings presented by Global Poker.

Five-handed play lasted for several hours. The stalemate was finally broken when Aido ran KClub Suit3Club Suit into the AClub Suit10Club Suit of Jonathan Borenstein. Both players paired their largest card by the turn, but Aido’s kings were second-best by the end. He took home $71,080 as the fifth-place finisher, growing his lifetime earnings to just shy of $16 million.

Not long after that, Bechahed flopped top set of nines with 9Spade Suit9Club Suit on a 9Diamond Suit8Spade Suit4Diamond Suit board. He check-raised over the continuation bet of Ping Liu, who had three-bet Bechahed’s samm-blind raise preflop out of the big blind with QHeart SuitQClub Suit. Liu called off his stack with the overpair. The 3Heart Suit turn and 6Spade Suit river changed nothing and Liu was eliminated in fourth place for $92,410. He now has neatly $2.6 million in lifetime cashes.

David ColemanDavid Coleman’s A-9 suited was outrun by the A-8 of Borenstein to leave him short. He soon got his last blinds in with K-7 suited facing the A-Q of Bechahed. Neither player paired up by the river and Coleman was sent packing in third place ($120,130). He now has $3.3 million in career earnings.

With that, Bechahed took a sizable chip lead into heads-up play with Borenstein. It took just four hands for him to convert that advantage into the title. Borenstein moved all-in for 13 big blinds from the button with 10Club Suit9Spade Suit. Bechahed called with AClub Suit10Heart Suit. The board ran out KSpade Suit10Diamond Suit3Heart SuitASpade Suit7Club Suit and Bechahed’s aces up earned him the pot and the title. Borenstein walked away with $168,175 for his efforts. This was his third-largest score ever. He now has more than $2.3 million in cashes to his name.

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Sami Bechahed $268,945 960
2 Jonathan Borenstein $168,175 800
3 David Coleman $120,130 640
4 Ping Liu $92,410 480
5 Sergio Aido $71,080 400
6 Nick Schulman $54,680 320
7 Sandeep Pallampati $42,060 240
8 Anthony Dianaty $32,355 160
9 Ryan Leng $24,885 80

Photo credits: Joe Giron / Rational Intellectual Holdings Ltd.