LAPT Mar del Plata: Robin Chesne leads the Day 1b pack

lapt-promo.gifOutside the Casino Central, it was a sparkling, sunny day. Cool ocean breezes announced the arrival of fall. Couples walked hand in hand down the Avenida Peralta Ramos, enjoying their Friday afternoon. Sea lions barked a few meters offshore. But inside the poker room, a man sat with an umbrella on his head. Sharks, turtles, pirates, and at least one plastic Jesus served as card cappers. Grown men wailed as the turn of a card spelled their fate. The poker circus has arrived in South America, amigos. Let's shuffle up and deal.

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It's fair to say that Day 1B was a family affair. Two of Costa Rica's premiere poker-playing clans were represented in today's field-- the husband and wife duo of Max and Maria Stern, and a trio of Breneses spanning two generations. 18-year old Roberto was the first to fall, his top pair, top kicker falling to a flopped flush while his father, Humberto hung on until the late evening hours. Only Alex would survive to see Day 2. Max Stern was out before the dinner break, but Maria survived to Day 2 with 38,000 in chips after earning a key late-night double-up.

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Most of the Team PokerStars Pro family that made the trek to Argentina took to the felt today. Joe Hachem, Andre Akkari, Alexandre Gomes, Leo Fernandez, Dennis Phillips and J.C. Alvarado all started their tournament this afternoon but unfortunately only one of them would survive to play Day 2.

Dennis Phillips was eliminated on a cooler of a hand. In a multi-way pot, Phillips and his two opponents all checked the K♥Q♥4♣ flop. The T♦ came on the turn and after the first player checked, the second put out a 2,000 bet. Phillips slid his entire stack into the middle in response, and though the first player folded, the initial bettor called. It was quite the cooler, with Phillips holding J♣9♣ for a king-high straight and his opponent with A♠J♠ for the ace-high straight. Despite the ugly result, Phillips was gracious as ever and shook his opponent's hand before heading to the rail.

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Joe Hachem just couldn't seem to get off the short stack today, but anytime we were about to count him out, he'd manage to double up or chop out a decent pot to keep himself alive.

Things looked grim for the Melbourne native when he got his stack in with A-3 only to run into A-K. However, the board ended up pairing nines and tens to give him a lucky chop. Saved by the river.

Hachem's tournament, though, would come to an end only a few hands later. Moving in with K♥Q♦, Hachem again ran into A♠K♦. This time there was no miracle, no lucky chop, no river save, the board running out 9♣2♠2♦T♠5♥ to send the world champion to the rail.

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Though Akkari, Gomes, and Alvarado would all fall by night's end, Leo Fernandez was still alive and kicking despite losing over 90% of his stack on one of the very first hands.

On a Q♥T♠6♠ flop, the pot raised and reraised pre-flop judging by the amount of chips already in the middle, Fernandez bet 1,300 and his opponent came in for a min-raise to 2,600. Fernandez stacked up the rest of his chips and slid them into the middle, earning an insta-call. Fernandez turned up Q♣T♣, having cracked his opponent's A♣A♦ by flopping top two pair. Alas, his hand wouldn't hold up for long, the 6♥ falling on the turn to make his opponent aces up. The K♠ hit the river and after the stacks were counted down, Fernandez was left with two chips and a chair, a scant 1,100 fichas to his name.

Fernandez, though, would mount a stunning comeback, eventually tripling up with pocket jacks against A-K and A-9 to take him up to 12,000 in chips. Remaining patient all night, the former chess champion worked his stack up to the 23,200 he'll take into play tomorrow.

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When the dust cleared Robin Chesne emerged as the Day 1B chip leader with 148,900. The online qualifier from France vaulted to the front of the pack after winning a better than 60,000 pot in the last level of the night when his pocket queens held up against A-J. Right behind him are Jason Skeans with 123,400 and Luis Jaikel with 113,600. Other notables surviving to Day 2 include Alex Brenes, Jose Rosenkrantz, Vincenzo Giannelli, Mark Ioli, David Flusfeder, and Gualter Salles.

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Robin Chesne

If you missed any of the action (or just want to see the guy with the umbrella on his head), check out the links below:

The stars align
A novel approach
BrenesWatch, Part 1
Numbers released, names witheld
Looks like rain
Prize pool and payouts
Dennis Down
BrenesWatch, Part 2
Sick in any language
Sir, you have an umbrella on your head
Viva Leo!
Taking over
Go big or go home
Gone but not gone
BrenesWatch, Part 3 (Adios, Humberto)
How have the mighty fallen
Two stories with kings

Join us again tomorrow at 12 p.m. local time (EDT+1) as our 62 remaining hopefuls play down to a final table of nine. For even more multimedia goodness to satisfy your cravings check out the PokerStars Media Gallery and

Day 2 Starting Chip Counts

Robin Chesne -- France -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $146,900
Jason R Skeans -- United States -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $123,400
Luis Jaikel -- Costa Rica -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $113,600
Daniel Jaime Ateneloff -- Uruguay -- -- $108,300
Marcelo Giorgetta -- Argentina -- PokerStars Live Satellite Qualifiers -- $99,800
Eduardo Santi -- Argentina -- -- $96,300
Jorge Landazuri De Los Rios -- Mexico -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $96,300
Dominik Nitsche -- Germany -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $95,700
Damian Salas -- Argentina -- -- $74,200
Pablo Damian Tinca -- Argentina -- PokerStars Sponsored Player -- $65,500
Hector Luis Aceval -- Argentina -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $64,000
Jose Barbero -- Argentina -- PokerStars Sponsored Player -- $62,200
Daniel Alfredo Bizoza -- Uruguay -- PokerStars Live Satellite Qualifiers -- $60,000
Walter Oaquim -- Brazil -- -- $60,000
Angel Manuel Guillen Pereda -- Mexico -- PokerStars Sponsored Player -- $58,500
David Mormoyle -- Ireland -- PokerStars Live Satellite Qualifier -- $58,400
Hugo Spangerberg -- Argentina -- -- $57,300
Eduardo Oscar Camia -- Argentina -- PokerStars Sponsored Player -- $56,500
Horacio Courdin -- Uruguay -- -- $56,500
Gustav Schuldt Langner -- Brazil -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $55,600
Ryan Smith -- United States -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $51,100
Juan Serrano -- Argentina -- -- $50,600
Daniel Reijmer -- Netherlands -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $49,300
Vincenzo Giannelli -- Venezuela -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $47,500
Cristian Andres Rotondo -- Argentina -- PokerStars Live Satellite Qualifiers -- $47,400
Lautaro Curi -- Argentina -- -- $45,700
Andres Felipe Carrillo -- Colombia -- PokerStars Live Satellite Qualifiers -- $45,400
Julian De Berti -- Argentina -- -- $40,000
Gualter Salles -- Brazil -- Friends of PokerStars -- $39,700
Alex Brenes -- Costa Rica -- PokerStars Sponsored Player -- $39,600
Maria Stern -- Costa Rica -- PokerStars Sponsored Player -- $38,800
Carlos Javier Benatuil -- Argentina -- -- $38,000
Daniel Asis -- Argentina -- -- $36,800
Aslam Panjwani -- United States -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $36,600
Rodolfo Awad -- Chile -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $36,600
Gerardo Ruzo -- Argentina -- -- $36,200
Jose Nadal -- Mexico -- -- $35,800
Martha Eneida Herrera Gonzalez -- Mexico -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $35,600
Tamara Yael Szaingurten -- Argentina -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $34,600
Juan Pablo Reverter -- Argentina -- -- $32,800
Diego Maggiolo -- Argentina -- -- $32,700
Segio Farias -- Argentina -- -- $32,300
Pat Van Dijk -- Netherlands -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $32,100
Mark Alexander Loli -- United States -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $31,500
Mario Lopez -- Argentina -- PokerStars Live Satellite Qualifiers -- $30,400
Raul Paez -- Spain -- PokerStars Live Satellite Qualifiers -- $27,200
Daniel Pardo -- Argentina -- -- $26,800
Rodrigo Caprioli -- Brazil -- -- $26,400
Diego Allan Gartner Ferrer -- Spain -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $25,300
Jose Cassano -- Argentina -- -- $23,800
David Flusfeder -- United Kingdom -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $23,600
Leonardo Fernandez -- Argentina -- Team PokerStars Pro -- $23,200
Alejandro Rodriguez -- Argentina -- -- $22,800
Alfons Fenijn -- Netherlands -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $22,500
Derek Lerner -- Canada -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $21,700
Jose Rosenkrantz -- Costa Rica -- PokerStars Live Satellite Qualifiers -- $21,400
Ernesto Panno -- Argentina -- -- $20,800
Gustavo Serra -- Argentina -- PokerStars Sponsored Player -- $12,500
Ivan Raich -- Argentina -- PokerStars Live Satellite Qualifiers -- $12,400
Martin Van De Poel -- Netherlands -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $11,700
Vadim Thelin -- Denmark -- PokerStars Online Qualifier -- $2,200

All photos © Joe Giron, IMPDI