Recently in Season 2 Category

December 5, 2008 11:17 PM

LAPT Nuevo Vallarta: Good natured bad blood

J.C. Alvarado was down below 8,000 in chips and knew the blinds would be going up to 500/1,000/100 in level 9. And so it was an open shove that folded all the way to former PokerStars Brazilian blogger Maria "maridu" Mayrinck.

She was tortured as she peeled up Ah-Th. In what was clearly not an easy decision, she got her friend Alvarado talking.

"You don't have ace-king," she said. "You don't."

"I'm 80% to win by the river," Alvarado said.

Mayrinck didn't believe him. At all. Finally, after nearly five minutes of verbose contemplation, she made her decision.

"I think I'm ahead," she said, waited two beats, and declared, "I call."

Alvarado turned over 7c-8c.

"If I win, I'm sorry. You're so pretty," Mayrinck exclaimed. "Isn't he pretty?"

Alvarado's relative good looks aside, the flop made the hand interesting--5-6-K with two hearts. Mayrinck jumped from her seat and grabbed her buddy. "Let's not look together," she said pulling him in close.

"No, I want to sweat this one," Alvarado said.

LAPT Mex_Day1_IJG_2750.jpg

He shouldn't have looked. The turn gave him a pair, but gave Mayrinck the heart she needed to make the nuts.

Up to 22,000, Mayrinck looked around for Jon "Apestyles" Van Fleet. "I need to go tell my boyfriend what happened."

A bit later, from across the room, her impossible to mistake voice came rising above the din.

"God bless the LAPT!" she called and stacked her chips.

Alvarado may be gone, but it's not entirely out of the money. Mayrinck promised him 4% of her winnings.

"And I'm going to win," she said.

In other news, Team PokerStars Pro Humberto Brenes has found the rail. After getting seated with his frenemy Ryan Fee (LAPT San Jose champion), we expected some bad blood to creep up. Once, when Brenes came in for a raise, Fee looked at some rags and said, "If you had like ten [thousand] more, I am so in."

Fee would not get the pleasure of booting his opponent. Brenes got his short stack in pre-flop with A-4. He got called by the big blind who held K-T. It all looked fine when an ace fell on the flop, but running Q-J gave Brenes a Broadway beat.

Finally...we're on an indefinite break here. As for exactly why we're on a break, well that's something we'll have to explain after we have a better sense for it.

December 5, 2008 9:12 PM

LAPT Nuevo Vallarta: Schooling the Competition

While his tablemates chat to one other, bop to their iPods or simply stare at the green felt in front of them in between hands, Jim Collopy has work to do. In his lap sits a thick, hardback book topped with pages of handwritten notes and printed web pages. In his mouth, a ballpoint pen hangs from his lips. But why the multi-tasking in the middle of a major tournament?

Jim Collopy has a paper due on Monday.


Jim "Mr_BigQueso" Collopy

A sophomore economics major at NYU, 19-year old Collopy plays under the screen name "Mr_BigQueso" on PokerStars and has racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in earnings from playing online MTTs over the last two years. Less than three weeks ago, he final tabled the Sunday Million, finishing fifth for over $56,000, though his largest online score ever came in the quarterly $1,000 edition of the Million, where he finished third and banked $125,000. Over the last 12 months, he also won the $109 rebuy and finished second in the Sunday Second Chance.

The topic of Collopy's paper? 17th-century British politician and former Lord Protector of England Oliver Cromwell. That's some heady history zipping through his brain cells along with pot odds and percentages.

Since returning from the dinner break, Collopy's stack has taken some hits, slipping from 27,000 down to the 16,000 mark where he currently sits. For now (or at least until he doubles up) the book has been closed and the pen tucked away. His Bose headphones are on and he's dialed in on his opponents.

History will have to wait.

December 5, 2008 7:28 PM

LAPT Nuevo Vallarta: Chew on this

Dinner time is upon us, yet another opportunity to take advantage of the all-inclusive package here at the Marival Resort. As the players head off to find some grub, here's one to think about.

We happened by Tyler Netter's table and couldn't help but notice he had pocket jacks. He came in for a standard raise and got a call from the big blind. The flop came down Qc-Qh-9s. The players went check-check and saw the Qs on the turn. Now, the big blind led into Netter for about half the pot. Netter seemed conflicted, but finally tossed out his call. The river...

The queen of diamonds.

Netter must have immediately known how sick of a river it was. He seemed almost ready to muck his hand before his opponent acted. And then something funny happened.

The big blind checked.

LAPT Mex_Day1_IJG_2682.jpg

Netter pondered this unexpected turn of events for a moment before nearly laughing and turning up his pocket jacks. And then something funny happened again.

The big blind turned over A-9 for the stone-cold, rock and roll, slap-your-mama-it-feels so-good nuts. Netter simultaneously skipped over an opportunity to make a horrible bluff and took a big detour around the Big Blind's Value Town.

With that, we head to dinner. For our most recent chip count, visit the LAPT Nuevo Vallarta Chip Count page. The most notable move just before dinner has been Team PokerStars Victor Ramdin who has moved up to the chip lead. More to come after some food. Players return at 8:30 CT.

LAPT Mex_Day1_IJ2_4105.jpg

December 5, 2008 6:17 PM

LAPT Nuevo Vallarta: Pre-dinner movers & shakers

Of the three long rows of poker tables that blanket this ballroom, one has broken entirely. With approximately 164 players remaining out of our 242 starters, two-thirds of the field remains in contention for an LAPT title.

Maria Stern unfortunately will not make her second LAPT final table here in Nuevo Vallarta, and is now sweating her husband Max from the rail. Also eliminated within the last hour was actor-singer Sergio Mayer, who, during his bust-out interview lamented the presence of "muchos coyotes" (a lot of sharks) at his table.

Alex Brenes.jpg

Alex Brenes

Faring better is LAPT Punta del Este runner-up Alex Brenes. Seated only a few tables away from his "chark"-wielding brother Humberto, the younger Brenes has built his chip stack up to 48,000 and is among the chip leaders. Most of those chips came his way when he cracked his opponent's K-K with 7-7, the money going in on a 7-3-3 flop.

Shirley Rosario's stack also continues to climb. On a flop of 8h-6d-4h, the small blind checked, Rosario bet 2,200 and her opponent called. Both players checked the 2d on the turn. When the Kd hit the river, the small blind checked again, opening the door for Rosario to fire out a 4,000 bet. Her opponent quickly mucked and Rosario took down a nice pot.

A few minutes later, I passed by Rosario's table. She motioned me over.

"That hand before... I had nothing!" she said with a wink and a smile.

Nice hand, Shirley.

December 5, 2008 6:09 PM

LAPT Nuevo Vallarta: World Cup reunion

Each year for the past five, PokerStars has put on a unique event that draws people from around the world. Now, those people are having a bit of a reunion.

The PokerStars World Cup of Poker pits national teams against each other for some nice cash and huge bragging rights. Last year, Team USA won its first World Cup title and it did so with the help of Team PokerStars Pro Greg Raymer and well-known online scrapper Tyler Netter. Both men have made the trip to Nuevo Vallarta and are going strong in level 6.

LAPT Mex_Day1_IJG_2652.jpg

LAPT Mex_Day1_IJG_2680.jpg

Raymer and Netter would do well to keep an eye out for another World Cup alum. At last year's World Cup, Martha Herrera led her team to the live finals in Barcelona. One-time a small-town Mexican girl, Herrera moved to Puerto Vallarta and vowed to never leave. Though exceptionally busy helping with her husband's business, Herrera still finds as much time as she can to play poker. "It's the passion in my life," she said. Herrera won a local one-table satellite she played with friends. Each one of them has a piece of her action. As we prepare to head to dinner break, Herrera is still alive.

LAPT Mex_Day1_IJG_2671.jpg

By the way, by some quirk of coincidence, the World Cup of Poker division playoffs are this weekend. We'll have live blog coverage of the playoffs on Sunday

In other news, Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari is no longer with us. Having fallen down below 4,000 in chips, Akkari open shoved with Qs-Ts. He got a caller who held A-Q. The board gave both players a queen but offered Akkari no further hope of surviving.

LAPT Mex_Day1_IJG_2666.jpg

Also on the rail today is 2008 PCA final table player Christian Harder. Harder was down to 7,700 and found a perfect spot for a re-steal. The button came in for a raise to 1,100 and Harder pushed all-in for 7,700 with A-6. Too bad for Harder that the big blind made the call with A-Q. The board ran out 3-4-8-2-2 and Harder will have to look elsewhere for another final table.

December 5, 2008 5:32 PM

LAPT Nuevo Vallarta: Location, Location, Location

Busting out of a major tournament strikes a dagger through any player's heart. One of the best things about the LAPT, though is that the sting of a bust-out is easily soothed by the warm Pacific waters lapping on the sand only a few yards outside the door. Here at the Marival Resort, players can hop on a jet ski, buy some local art, sip a frosty beverage, catch a few rays by the pool... or even be suspended by one leg and spun through the air on some sort of freaky merry-go-round.

Check out the clip below that the PokerStars video blog team put together, highlighting the best of Nuevo Vallarta.

Watch">LAPT Nuevo Vallarta 08: Promo! on

December 5, 2008 4:45 PM

LAPT Nuevo Vallarta: Pros rising... and falling

Andre Akkari looked positively tortured as he stared at the Ks-9h-3s board, mulling over a decision that would cost him the rest of his chips. There was already over 4,000 in a pot that had been raised and reraised pre-flop and the man on his right, sitting in the big blind, had moved out two small stacks of chips, 9,100 in total, which would set the Brazilian all in. Akkari shuffled and re-shuffled his stack, ultimately rapping the table and flashing a red king as he mucked his hand and conceded the pot. He's now down to 4,300.

Akkari mulls a call.jpg

Andre Akkari, deep in thought

Faring much better is his fellow Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin. Ramdin's first table recently broke and he just took a seat across the room, two seats to the right of WSOP bracelet winner Maria Stern, who finished 8th at the LAPT San Jose. In jovial spirits and chatting up a storm, he's currently sitting on a 25,000 chip stack. Ramdin also has also brought several members of his family down to Mexico, who are eagerly watching his progress.

LAPT Mex_Day1_IJG_2620.jpg

Victor Ramdin

Josh Prager has also built himself a nice stack here in the early going, but just suffered a bit of a mis-step. On a flop of Kd-6d-5d, the small blind moved all in for about 4,700 and Prager made the call.

"I'm drawing dead" he muttered, as his opponent showed 8d-9d for the flopped flush. Well... not quite dead as there was the faint hope of his Kc-Jc hitting running cards to make a full house. No miracles for Prager, though as the Qs and 4h fell on the turn and river, but he's still well-stacked at 17,000. Prager left the table immediately after the hand to take a walk-- not to burn off tilt of any sort, but to check on the progress of his friends, including J.C. Alvarado.

December 5, 2008 4:37 PM

LAPT Nuevo Vallarta: The stars over Mexico

When we hit the sack last night, the stars were out over the Pacific Coast. It was a nice way to end a long day. Though it shouldn't have surprised us, the stars were still out when we got there today.

Among the many PokerStars poker stars, we have found three people who are pretty big names on their own here in Mexico.

Tito Fuentes (not to be mistaken with Tito Puente...really) is perhaps the brightest star in the room. The lead guitarist for the Mexican hard rock hip-hop band Molotov has traded his axe for an ace today and is hoping he will become a different brand of rock star before the weekend is over.

LAPT Mex_Day1_IJG_2527.jpg

Across the way from the axe-man is actor and singer Sergio Mayer. Mayer has been around the Mexican film scene for more than a decade and has done just about everything you can imagine in the entertainment industry. Today we're checking to see if he can swing it as a poker player. As it turned out, he acts better than he runs in poker. He was out and standing in as a an actor for ESPN during a rehearsal for later TV recording.

LAPT Mex_Day1_IJG_2512.jpg

Alexis Ayala, yet another actor from Mexico, is proving he play the role of a poker player. Nearing the end of Level 4, the Mexcian film actor is still going strong.

LAPT Mex_Day1_IJG_2519.jpg

We're working on a fresh chip count and hope to have that in in short order. In the meantime, here's a look at the party from which everyone is recovering today, including the dulcet tones of Humberto Brenes.

Watch LAPT Nuevo Vallarta 08: Fiesta Time! on

December 5, 2008 4:16 PM

LAPT Nuevo Vallarta: Stephen Chidwick, Baby-Faced Assassin

"Stephen Chidwick raises to 400... everyone folds... Stevie wins the pot."

That's what the commentary might sound like, were someone calling the action over at Table 3, where Stephen "stevie444" Chidwick is currently playing the role of table captain, vacuuming up his opponents' chips at an alarming rate. Judging by his growing tower of yellow 1,000 chips and the empty chair in Seat 3, Chidwick has already claimed one scalp today and is wasting no time in growing his stack even further.

LAPT Mex_Day1_IJG_2571.jpg

Stephen "stevie444" Chidwick

Chidwick is somewhat of a legend among PokerStars players. This year, the online phenom won over 100 seats to the WSOP Main Event, primarily via the Steps tournaments. As he is three years away from being of age to play in the U.S., Chidwick turned them all in for cash. For those of you who aren't quick at math, that's over a million dollars in earnings. Not bad for a kid barely out of high school.

Since turning 18, Chidwick has started following the live tournament circuit, and is already building a solid record, placing 15th at the EPT Barcelona in September and winning a $1,000 side event at the 2008 PokerStars Carribean Adventure last January. Having recently made the move to the U.S., Chidwick is currently rooming with poker couple Jon Van Fleet and Maridu Mayrinck in Austin.

"Stephen Chidwick raises to 400... everyone folds. Stevie wins the pot."

That time, he turned over 3-9 offsuit with a small smile as he raked in even more chips. Opponents, beware.

December 5, 2008 3:30 PM

LAPT Nuevo Vallarta: Humberto and the bull

Even in the face of tough tournament poker, some stories just must be told. Furthermore, some pictures must be seen. So, as the LAPT event in here in Nuevo Vallarta makes its way through level 2, we must pause for just a moment.


Well, if you read last night's party wrap-up, you might recall us mentioning Team PokerStars Pro Humberto Brenes had a run in with a bull. Or, as we put it last night...

As the oft-repeated story goes, Brenes set about some bull fighting yesterday. Instead of waving the red cape to his side, he waved it in front of a region best covered by a comfortable pair of boxer shorts. You can fill in the blanks, but apparently it wasn't pretty.

The beauty of such a story is the ability to back it up with proof. So, we now give you...proof.


Okay, so now you're thinking a couple of things. First, somebody really should've given the Costa Rican Team PokerStars Pro a little bit more instruction on where to hold the cape. That seems pretty obvious; That said you are probably also thinking, "Man, that's not a very big animal. Humberto can take him!"

In that case, you would be wrong. Very and sadly wrong.

Humberto, as you might know, is a big man, but if you give a big animal a head of steam and an inherent dislike of sharks, it can do some damage. How much? You be the judge.


The good news here is that Humberto survived the stomping with both his pride and flesh largely intact. While there was some blood and the brief hint of multi-million dollar lawsuit, Brenes is at the table today and looks as good as ever.

Here's a look at the bullfighting day from the folks at

Watch LAPT Nuevo Vallarta 08: Bullfighting! on

One person who could not survive until the third level is Team PokerStars Pro Alex Gomes. His day started off badly when he forgot to bring his passport to register. Then, once he figured out that mess, he lost most of his stack. Finally, down to 2,200 from his original 10,000, he found As-Kc in the big blind. When the button raised to 500, Gomes put it all in the middle. He was in good shape against Ah-Qd. That is, he was in good shape until the board came out Q-T-6-4-2.

Assistant Tournament Director Greg Pappas, always the first to comfort an eliminated player, yelled across the room, "Bring your ID next time! You'll last longer!"

A bit more sympathetic was Gomes' table mate Tyler Netter. Netter, who started drinking Sol beer in level 1, gave Gomes a glass of brew and sent him out with a smile.

As the end of level 2 came, Tournament Director Mike Ward announced this event officially had 242 registrants. The top 27 will get paid. First place will earn $158,000. We'll have a full breakdown of prizes in just a bit.

Thanks to our good friends at Bluff Latin America for the photos.

Video blogs and interviews from the 2009 PCA

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the Season 2 category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Subscribe to this blog's feed