The recently completed PokerStars North American Poker Tour (NAPT) Los Angeles Bounty Shootoutended with Eric basebaldyBaldwin (pictured) trumping the final table and banking a winner-take-all purse of $134,000. Baldwin, a sponsored pro of UB.com, trumped good friend Justin Young heads-up and also collected $3,000 in bounties along with a $20,000 cash prize for making the final table. This week, Baldwin, a longtime member of the online poker community, joins the PocketFives.com Podcast.
The 81-player field in the NAPT LA Bounty Shootoutsaw two rounds of action featuring nine-handed tables. Baldwin’s opening round opponents included “Seinfeld” actor Jason Alexander and Victory Poker pro Antonio Esfandiari, the latter of whom Baldwin defeated heads-up. He commented, “It’s an interesting format in that you have to win your first table, so there’s a lot more short-handed play because your empty seats don’t get filled. As soon as a few people go out, you have to be good at playing short-handed.”
The final table included the likes of November Niner Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, Mohsin chicagocards1Charania (pictured), and Kevin ImaLuckSac MacPhee and played out over the course of 16 hours. Heads-up, Baldwin edged out Young, a player he knew all too well: “That was strange because it was a winner-take-all tournament once you hit the final table and [Justin and I are] legitimately good friends. The other thing that made it strange is that we talk so much poker strategy together. It was complete leveling war because we both know each other’s games inside and out.”
The Bounty Shootout took place following the $5,000 NAPT LA Main Event at the Crystal Casino. Baldwin explained why he entered the unique live tournament: “It’s a nice change-up from playing your standard full ring tournament. The fact that you get a $1,000 bonus for every player you knock out brings some interesting changes. I feel like you lose fold equity when you have a short stack because people have the added motivation to knock you out.” Young received entry into the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Bounty Shootout for knocking out the most number of players during the LA tournament (six).
Baldwin was the 2009 CardPlayer Player of the Year after the grind of the century. He told the PocketFives.com Podcast that we might see another run at a major title in 2011: “Part of me wants to get back into full grinder mode and make a run at one of the Player of the Year awards again. This year, I shied away from it at the start of the year to avoid burnout, but I found myself missing it a little bit. I’d hopefully like to turn the volume back up a little bit and play well throughout the World Series of Poker.”
Baldwin finished 59th in the 2010 WSOP Main Event for $138,000. Recently, an entirely different World Series took place between the San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers. On the Giants’ title, Baldwin, a former baseball player, noted, “I loved it. I think the network disliked neither the Red Sox nor the Yankees getting there for their ratings, but I really liked it. The Giants really didn’t have any superstars on the offensive side of the ball, so it’s fun to see a group of guys like that who enjoy each other’s company pull it together as a team.”