LAPT San Jose: Supernova rains on opponents' day

There is a certain optimism in Costa Rica that belies the near-constant rain in the country. When the clouds roll over the valley and the mountains are covered by a gray haze, one wonders how the citizens of this beautiful place can live with their trademark Pura Vida spirit. It’s only after one watches the sun come out in the morning and the flowers blooming on the trees in November that one can understand why the smiles here are so frequent.

While it pushes a metaphor to its edge, its not hard to understand why this country has embraced poker so fully. This is a game that can seem to be ever-drenched by rainstorms. The tournament life is as hard as the rain. Cash is hard to come by and a big score is nearly always elusive. There is that time, though, when the sun breaks through and all seems right with the world. That is what the 219 players who started here today were seeking.

At day's end, 38 players remained, a startling 83% of the field gone and looking for other more profitable activities. At the top of the field, a British Supernova named Rob Woodcock. More on him in just a bit. First, we have to pay our respects to the fallen.

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The $3,700 buy-in event promised and delivered a $1 million prize pool. Twenty-four players will walk away with at least $9,000. The field here featured dozens of PokerStars qualifiers and more than a couple Team PokerStars Pros. Local poker Godfather Humberto Brenes joined Victor Ramdin, and Brazilians Andre Akkari and Alex Gomes in the fight for their first LAPT title. It was not to be. All played a long hard day, but succumbed to the dark side of the game late into the evening.

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Team PokerStars Pro Alexandre Gomes accepts his demise

The same fate met Vlademar Kwaysser, last season's LAPT San Jose champion. Though holding tough throughout the day, by the time the game broke for the night, the champion was gone. Here's an interview with him from happier times.


Watch LAPT San Jose 08: Valdemar Akos Kwaysser on PokerStars.tv

The big stories of the day surrounded a group of young, tough players including a talkative Ryan Fee who roughed his way through a minefield and held the chip lead for most of day, in what he described as “just another day in the life.” He finished the day around 130,000.

It looked as though Fee would be the chip leader at day's end, but late in the evening, PokerStars qualifier Rob Woodcock made a run to around 150,000, the last 30,000 of it coming courtesy an ace on the turn in his A-Q vs 9-9 battle. He knocked out Raymond Wu in the process. The video blog team caught up with Wu before his sad departure.


Watch LAPT San Jose 08: Raymond wu on PokerStars.tv

Woodcock, a PokerStars Supernova from the United Kingdom, admitted that he got lucky early on today and then took to running good.

"It started off with a pretty good table. There were a few sit-outs, so I was able to chip up early and establish quite a loose image which got me paid off in a few nice spots," he said. "Then the table got progressively tougher and tougher. I had about forty big blinds at that point and got moved tables to a much weaker table and managed to get it in with eights against queens. That's how I got to 100K."

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As humble as you'd ever want, Woodcock allowed that he ran well, something anyone in tournament poker needs from time to time.

"I definitely won a lot of pots without showdown to chip up, and then ran really well in all the big pots," he said. "I guess that's how you do well in these things."

With 38 players remaining, Tuesday looks to be a short day. Tournament poker being what it is, though, we're counting on nothing but the re-start at noon.

We’ve put up a selected chip count on our LAPT Chip Counts page. As soon as the official chip count is in, we will post it in the same place. If you’d like to see what the players are fighting for, we’ve listed the payout structure on our LAPT Prizes page. Also, don’t forget to take a look at the Spanish coverage and news from our Brazilian blog. Finally, if you’re looking for some great video from the day, the PokerStars Video Blog team has been working hard over at PokerStars.tv.

Players will return at noon local time tomorrow to play down the final table of eight. In the meantime, if you missed any of our coverage from the day, feel free to visit any of the links below.

The Godfather welcomes his family
Pura vida party
Final preparations
From San Jose to Macau and back again
Shuffle up and chatter
Blogger makes good
Second verse, same as the first
Flashbacks and rebuys
The life of a road warrior
The First Lady
A contrast in styles
Better poker through racial profiling
You think he won?
Bing feels the burn
Championship survival
The field shrinks and stacks grow
The Fee is 80,000-ish
Adios, Andre Akkari and Humberto Brenes
Six sigmas out
Overheard at the tables
Ramdin rubbed out, Plastik peeved
Flurry at the end of the day

Photography by Joe Giron/IMPDI

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in Latin American Poker Tour