LAPT Playa Conchal: Easing into it
When the sky above Playa Conchal exploded, we knew the LAPT's third season was underway.
We stood above the water of a small lagoon and underneath a blanket of red light and the steady buzz of Costa Rican Imperial. Men with the name Brenes surrounded us. It was like a family reunion with an Eric, an Alex, and a godfather named Humberto. This was, in fact, the opening party of LAPT Playa Conchal, the place where players and their families mill about eating meat on a stick and sipping fruity cocktails before the first of this four days of championship poker.
And then, yes, the sky exploded.
Across the lagoon, two men with blowtorches ran like soldiers in a firefight, from mortar to mortar, ducking and covering with each explosion in the sky. For five full minutes, the bomb blasts shook the the 2,400 acres of the Paradisus Playa Concha, the signal that, in the parlance of our time, it was on.
When the party started to wind down, the crowd worked its way toward the poker room, where Humberto Brenes hosted his signature 'Shark Hunt' Bounty Charity Tournament. The $100 rebuy event drew a solid crowd and raised nearly $10,000 in buy-ins which Brenes matched and then PokerStars matched again. When it was all said and done, one of PokerStars own, Veronica Dabul walked away with the title (and apparently, an inflatable shark).
Now, we've all had a bit of rest and are settling down for the first hand of the main event. The 240 or so players expected to show up for this $2,700 buy-in event have four days of play ahead of them. If they bust out today, they probably won't be too happy, but we've found there is something to comfort them. It's about a five-minute walk from the poker room and is sitting under a sunny sky.
Action begins at high noon CT. We're tableside and ready to roll as soon as the cards go in the air. Now, if we could just find those fireworks guys, we could make this joint really pop.