David Kaye: Why I'm so excited to have NAPT & The Big Game back in the US

David Kaye
Mo Afdhal
Posted on: October 31, 2023 24:46 PDT

There's a buzz in the air following the recent announcements from PokerStars.

The North American Poker Tour (NAPT) returns this November after twelve long years away, and the anticipation for the series is rising every day.

Additionally, PokerStars announced the upcoming return of one of their flagship television shows, The Big Game. There's a ton of hype surrounding the return of the show, and everyone's angling to be the next Loose Cannon.

We spoke with PokerStars Team Pro David Kaye to hear his thoughts on the upcoming NAPT stop, the return of The Big Game, and how streaming prepares him for live events.


PokerOrg:You’ve been with PokerStars for a year now. How good did it feel to get that deal on the back of your content?

David Kaye: Yeah, it was very exciting. I mean, I think anyone can say when they're a streamer or a content creator, there is a huge goal, obviously, to partner with a brand that you really respect and want to work with. And for me, and I would say most people, PokerStars is at the top of the list. So, having that opportunity come up is huge.

And I think it's not just exciting for myself but also the community, you know. I think a lot of people took a lot of pride in it, because I might be the streamer, but at the end of the day, it's everyone that's a part of it that gives you that opportunity. You know, if people aren't supporting you or watching you, you don't get opportunities like this.

How excited are you to have the NAPT back?

DK: Very excited. When I first got into poker, it was from watching the EPT. It's going to be great to have it on home soil. I've been to the EPT, it's super exciting and the events are so well run. And now to see that coming over to North America—I'm really excited for everyone in the US, Canada, and anyone else traveling over to experience that same thing.

David Kaye Eloy Cabacas

How do you switch up when playing a big live event like this rather than streaming online?

DK: I would honestly say grinding the longer sessions online really prepares me well for the live events. For those of you who aren't familiar, I mostly stream cash games. So, I'll stream for at least six hours, if not longer, usually. I'd say six hours of four or five tabling is probably more strenuous on your mind than playing one table live, even if it's 11 or 12 hours.

Which events are you going to play in Vegas?Do you have plans for a full slate?

DK: Yeah, I'll definitely try to play as many events as possible. I think, even as a cash game player, I get super excited for these big events. Obviously, the main event is the headliner—the $1,650—and everybody's super excited about it. It's got a $1.5 million guarantee on it, but I'm hoping it's going to crush that number. There's a lot of other good events too, and the thing that I really like about the series, looking at the schedule, is that there's all sorts of buy-ins.

There's a $10k high roller and a $5k high roller. Those are probably a little bit bigger than I want to play for tournaments, but then there are also buy-ins as low as $250. They have daily $250s in the evening a couple times, so I'll play a few of those. There's a $360, the $550 Cup I think is a really good value event. They had one similar when I was in Barcelona. And then there's a $360 daily. And then the Mystery Bounty, the $1,100, I think I'll probably play that one too, just because I think the Mystery Bounties are super exciting with the adrenaline in the room.

You experienced great success in the recent USCOOP series, winning two titles. Do you think that momentum will carry over to the NAPT?

DK: Yeah, we'll have to see. I'm a little bit worried I used up too much of my run good during COOP. It was just one of those times where it feels like you can't lose. So, it's going to go one of two ways: I've used up all my run good and I'm just going to bust, you know, right after late registration closes in every event, or it's like the sun run is going to continue and I'm going to final table two of the events.

Nadya Magnus playing in the Big Game Season 1 Loose Cannon Nadya Magnus won $63,600 in Season 1 of The Big Game

How excited are you that the Big Game is coming back?

DK: I'm a cash game guy, so I'm really excited for NAPT to be back, but it's the Big Game that really hit me. I watched the NAPT and The Big Game back in the day, and I just love the format because it's an everyday guy all the viewers can relate to. It's their dream to play high stakes with some of the biggest names in poker, right? Here, you get to see someone who's maybe of a similar background to you, a recreational player, who gets to fire in there for the $50k buy-in. And it's just created such great moments, and there are still viral clips you see today, ten years on.

Any chance we see you playing?

DK: I don't think so. It's a pretty big buy-in and when I'm playing online, I'm playing like $1/$2 with a $200 buy-in. And then if I play live some $2/$5, maybe playing some more $5/$10 going forward, but $100/$200 is a bit of a jump. I will definitely be watching as a fan, though.

Are you an F1 fan? Are you staying around in Vegas for the race?

DK: Yes, so, quick story. I started as an F1 fan because my dad's a lifelong F1 fan. I watched until about 13 or 14, then I didn't watch for 15 years. And then Drive to Survive came out on Netflix, and I just got all the way back into it. I watch every race, almost every qualifying too. So, I wouldn't say I'm like the crazy superfan that watches all practices and knows everything, but I'm pretty interested in it.

What’s been your best moment in poker so far?

DK:  I always try to divide between the content and the playing, you know. It's like there are two things in one, but I definitely have content goals and playing goals. So, I think content-wise, definitely signing with PokerStars—like I mentioned earlier, as a streamer, it's the dream opportunity, right? I

As far as playing, I would say just getting to the point where I can play in these mid-stakes cash games online that I'm playing in. For many years, I was just a recreational, live, low-stakes player. So, to be able to transition and then get to a point where I can at least play and compete in some of these games within a few years is pretty good. And then obviously, the two recent wins in COOP were pretty exciting too.

David Kaye MANUEL KOVSCA

Does streaming ever affect your gameplay? Do you ever feel influenced by your stream chat when you're playing online?

DK: I mean, I would say it has impacts, but not in the way that people would think. Am I worried about looking stupid on stream? No. I mean, at the end of the day, I'm showing every hand. I'm not a perfect player. I make mistakes, everybody does. You just kind of live with that, right? It's part of what you do.

I think the biggest impact when playing in a small or regulated pool is that you're going to be playing with a lot of the same regular players every day. If I'm out here making a lot of exploits on stream, and I know they're aware of my stream, it can catch up to you a lot quicker.

Are you optimistic for the future of online poker in the States?

DK: I'm very optimistic about online poker in the US. Poker has been huge in the US, it's just all been live ever since Black Friday. These live tournament showings, the WSOP, WPT, and mid-stakes tours—the numbers are crazy across the board. Poker is still huge in the US, but it's really started to kick off online in the last few years.

Photos by PokerStars