It was a short Day 1 at LAPT5 Punta del Este at Mantra. Union regulations on the length of dealer workdays, combined with a shortage of dealers, meant that only six levels were completed before play came to an end. By that point, Juan Garcia of Uruguay had a commanding chip lead of 134,650. No other player had amassed more than 100,000. It looked like Claudio Garrone, also of Uruguay, might be the 2nd place player with 84,200 but it will take some time to sort out all the bags and confirm that.
After a perfect mood-setting morning, we started our abbreviated Day 1 by looking back at Season 4. There were six LAPT awards up for grabs in Season 4, and all six were presented last night at the welcome party for this event. Spoiler alert: Colombia took four of the six awards.
While we were telling you about the Season 4 award winners, the players were finding their seats. It's no easy task at the Mantra Resort & Casino, as the popularity of this event means that players are spread out over four tournament locations. The LAPT supplied plenty of friendly faces to make sure players found their assigned seats.
My blogging partner, Martin Harris, has been to Punta del Este once before and knows the town like the back of his hand. He gave blog readers a first-hand look at Punta del Este's signature icon. It was my favorite post of the day, hands down.
Back in the tournament room, the war of words continued between Team PokerStars Pros Andre Akkari and Jose "Nacho" Barbero. Each one has put his money where his mouth is, hoping to inspire his countrymen to a commanding final table presence. There will be at least one less Brazilian in the Day 2 field, however; Akkari busted out on Day 1. Barbero is through to Day 2 with 22,650, a bit more than his starting stack. Lynn Gilmartin chatted with him mid-day.
While the players were winding down for the day, knocking each other out, and consolidating their chip stacks for the tag-and-bag portion of the night, we took a look back at the Season 4 installment of Punta del Este. Alex Komaromi was the champion last August and has returned this year to defend. The top prize is a bit less this time around, but $181,000 is still something to shoot for.
The big board shows 274 players remaining of the 375 to start the day, but the likely total is slightly less than that. However many there are, they'll be back at 12 noon Atlantic Standard Time tomorrow. That's GMT -3 for those of you following along in other parts of the world. It's likely to be an abbreviated day tomorrow as well, followed by significantly longer Days 3 and 4 on Saturday and Sunday.
Until then, we'll be enjoying an early evening and formulating plans for our own blogging union.