LAPT Punta del Este: Day 1, Levels 5 and 6 (150-300, 25 ante)
6:50pm: Break Time Approximately 207 players are heading out to the final break of Day 1.
6:40pm: "I pity the fool!" Stephen "Stevie444" Chidwick is not an urban legend. The young gun from Great Britain is for real. He once won 100 seats to the WSOP Main Event on PokerStars playing step satellites. That's not a myth. It's an astonishing fact. Chidwick did not use a single seat because he was under 21 and not old enough to gamble in Las Vegas.
These days, Chidwick calls Rio de Janerio his home. His roommate? Team PokerStars Pro Maridu. The two seem to be polar opposites; Maridu is chatty and fiery while Chidwick is extremely reserved and quiet. I don't think I've ever heard him utter a word other than "raise."
Chidwick has been getting fashion tips from the Brazilian fashionista. "I've been dressing him for years," explained Maridu.
On Day 1, Chidwick is sporting a white t-shirt featuring the face of "Mr. T" (from the American TV series "The A-Team"). It makes me wonder... is Mr. T is currently wearing a t-shirt with Stevie Chidwick's face on it?
In case you were wondering, Chidwick doubled up during the last level and is approaching 50K.
6:26pm: Paaaarrrr-tayyy! Last night, PokerStars hosted one of their infamous welcome parties at Guappa Restaurant in downtown Punta del Este. Team Pros and online qualifiers alike were on hand to enjoy the food, drinks, and music before buckling down for the tournament. Lucky for you, our video blog team was on hand to capture some of the revelry.
Watch LAPT Punta del Este 2010: Welcome Party on PokerStars.tv
6:20pm: 80-68 What the heck does 80-68 mean? That's the currently tally for the number of players from Brazil (68) and Argentina (80). Those two countries make up almost 50% of the total field, which is no surprise since Uruguay (the second smallest country in South America) is nestled in between Argentina and Brazil.
6:15pm: BrenesWatch Three of the Brenes clan are still playing upstairs. Humberto, the elder statesman, has been unusually quiet all day. His stack slipped under 20K. His son, Roberto, is also nursing a stack that's hovering around 20K. Alex Brenes holds the distinction of being the "Best Brenes" in the casino with a stack in excess of 30K.
5:53pm: Salas approaching 100k Among the PokerStars bloggerati, he's known as "Jude Law" for the obvious resemblance, but in real life he's Damian Salas, an attorney by day and a talented no-limit hold'em player by night. The Argentinian has made a name for himself on the LAPT, finishing third in the LAPT Vina del Mar, winning a $1,000 side event at last season's LAPT Punta del Este, and making a deep run at the Season 2 LAPT Grand Final in Mar del Plata. Salas hardly says a word at the tables, letting his play do all the talking. It's a strategy that is certainly working today, as he's currently leading the pack with 97,500 in chips.
5:45pm: Blinds Up We're now on Level 6 with 300-600 blinds and a 50 ante.
5:30pm: Godfather rubbed out Jaime Ateneloff, the Godfather of Uruguayan poker, is also among the latest causalities. The field has dipped under 250 players.
5:20pm: 'Bad Beat' Channing eliminated by the Anti-Christ The LAPT has not been too kind to the British pros visiting South America for the first time. Neil Channing begrudgingly joined his mate, Keith Hawkins, on the rail. Channing's demise occurred when he ran into a set of sixes. Channing is a high stakes cash game regular who will be seeking out side action over the next few days. He left us his mobile phone number if you're interested in playing nosebleed stakes...
5:15pm: Meet your chip leader Colombia's Jimmy Castano has proven to be a one-man wrecking ball at his table, taking out both Gualter Salles and Fabian Ortiz earlier today. He's presently sitting on 75,000 in chips and has been chatting it up with his tablemate, the lovely Veronica Dabul.
5:05pm: Maridu the Camel Hunter Maridu and Keith "The Camel" Hawkins rumbled in a hand. Hawkins didn't instill an iota of fear into the Team PokerStars pro from Brazil, since she has been diligently training in jujitsu. Hawkins raised and she re-raised with Big Slick. Hawkins called. Maridu fired out at the flop and Hawkins called. She got her entire stack all in when an ace hit the turn. Hawkins called with 6♠5♠ for a flush draw and an open ended straight draw. He whiffed on the river and was crippled to around 2K in chips. He busted out shortly after. After Maridu decimated Hawkins' stack, she doubled up to almost 35K.
4:55 pm: Andre Akkari eliminated Although Andre Akkari had a strong start today, his tournament just came to an end. Once above 30,000 in chips, Akkari was down to 6,700 when this hand unfolded. On a T♣9♠2♥ flop, the action was checked to Akkari, who bet 4,500. His opponent check-raised all in behind him, leaving Akkari to call off the 1,700 in chips he had behind. As the cards went on their backs it was K♥K♣ for Akkari and A♦A♣ for his opponent, the turn and river falling the 5♣ and the 3♠ to send him home early.
4:47pm: Pieter De Korver eliminated Shortly before the break, 2009 EPT Monte Carlo champion Pieter De Korver met his tournament end. On an A-K-T flop, De Korver check-raised his opponent's 1,000 bet to 2,300 and earned a quick call. A queen fell on the turn and De Korver committed another 3,000 chips to the pot. His opponent called and they watched another ace hit the river. De Korver moved all in for his last 10,000 and again, he was met with an insta-call.
Although De Korver flopped the nuts with Q-J for a Broadway straight, his opponent rivered a full house with A-T, sending the sole European Team Pro in the field to the rail.
4:45pm: Players return from break Sandwiches have been consumed, coffee has been downed, and cards are now back in the air. Blinds are up to 150-300 with a 25 ante.