LAPT Vina del Mar: Where sand turns to gold

Now that two levels have passed, the blinds have risen to 75-150, and some players' early jitters have worn off, big pots are finally materializing. J.C. Alvarado was the recipient of an early double-up and now sits comfortably around the 25,000 chip mark while Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari just saw sand turn to gold when his loose open-raise was rewarded with one of those flops that live in poker players' dreams.

LAPT CHL_MainEventDay1_IJG_5479.jpg

Andre Akkari, wearing a stoic poker face

Akkari made it 450 to go before the flop and he got one caller from middle position. The flop came down Kh-4d-4c. The action was checked to Akkari, who bet 600. His opponent put in a min-raise to 1,200 and Akkari quickly called. The turn brought the Tc and after a bit of a dwell, Akkari settled on a bet of 4,500-- larger than the pot and nearly enough to set his opponent all in. Akkari's bet was met with a shove and the Brazilian insta-called the small balance. His opponent confidently tabled Kc-Qc, but his face fell ten stories when Akkari revealed the lowly 4h-7h for trips. The meaningless 9h hit the river and Akkari's opponent hit the rail as he stacked up his 24,000 in chips.

Another player off to an excellent start is Melina Villegas. With the board reading Qc-8s-8c-Jc-Td, she faced a 3,000 river bet and put in a min-raise to 6,000.

"What, you got ace-king?" her puzzled opponent wondered aloud before tossing in the call.

He turned up Qs-9s for the straight only to see the bad news-- the young Costa Rican semi-pro tabled Tc-Th for the rivered boat and raked in a huge pot, sending her stack up to 23,000.

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Latin American Poker Tour