LAPT Punta del Este: Day 3, Levels 17 and 18 (3,000-6,000, 500 ante)
2:20pm: Break Time & Color Up The remaining 21 players are currently on a 15-minute break. The staff is currently removing the pink 500 denomination chips from play. FYI... Cesar Mostafa is still the chip leader, but he's increased his stack to 692,000.
1:55pm: Nicolas Cardyn avoids shark attack Over at the featured TV table, Humberto Brenes was all in and involved in a classic race with Frenchman Nicolas Cardyn. Brenes held A♠K♥ versus Cardyn's 9♠9♦. The board ran out [10d]6♣2♣[10h]J♣. Cardyn doubled up to around 140K. Brenes slipped to under 250K.
1:50pm: Norbert Ludges doubles through Stevie Chidwick Stevie Chidwick just took a bit of a bad beat courtesy of Norbert Ludges. Chidwick opened for 20,000 and Ludges called from the big blind. The flop came down 9♠8♠7♥ and Ludges check-raised Chidwick's 37,500 bet to 76,000. Undeterred, Chidwick moved all-in and Ludges quickly called, turning up 6♠8♥ for middle pair and an open-ended straight draw. Chidwick was well ahead with 8♣9♣ for top two pair, but the 5♠ on the turn gave the lead to Ludges as he hit a nine-high straight. Chidwick didn't boat up on the river, the 3♥ falling to double Ludges up to 455,000. Chidwick is down, but certainly not out with 249,000 only a bit less than what he started the day with.
1:40pm: Martin Fuentes eliminated in 22nd place ($7,300) Short-stacked Martin Fuentes open-shoved with A♠7♥ and Andres Korn called with 7♠7♦. The flop was 9♥5♠3♣. The turn was the 6♦, which opened up possibilities for a chop. Humberto and the rest of the table called out, "Ocho! Ocho! Ocho!" Alas, the river was the 7♣. Korn won the pot with a set of sevens and Fuentes headed to the rail in 22nd place. Fuentes, a local player from Uruguay, held the chip lead on Day 1, however, he could not get any momentum going on Day 2 as he squeaked into Day 3. The "Curse of the Day 1 Chip Leader" continues.
1:34pm: Roberto Bianchi eliminated in 23rd place ($7,300)Roberto Bianchi opened for 32,000 and Stevie Chidwick put him to the test, moving all-in from the small blind. Bianchi made the call, only to discover his A♣J♥ was dominated by Chidwick's A♦K♠. Chidiwck's kicker played on the 7♥7♦2♦T♠A♠ board, ending Bianchi's tournament in 23rd place.
1:27pm: Jimmy Castano eliminated in 24th place ($7,300) With the action folded around to him in the small blind, Jimmy Castano moved all-in for his last 38,000 and Pascual D'alessio looked him up from the big blind. Castano's Q♣9♥ couldn't catch up to D'alessio's A♠6♥ on the A♥7♦K♦K♠9♠ board and Castano became the day's first casualty. He'll take home $7,300 for his 24th-place finish.
1:15pm: Blinds Up We're now at Level 18. Blinds are 4,000-8,000 with a 500 ante.
1:06pm: Opening Omen? On table #3, Stephen "Stevie444" Chidwick drew the button. Action folded to him. He raised and everyone folded. On table #2, action folded around to Cesar Mostafa in the small blind. He raised and Jose Capdevila called from his big blind. The flop came down Q♣J♠[10c]. Mostafa bet out 21K and Capdevila folded. If the first hand is any indication of Day 3... it looks like Chidwick and Mostafa will be running rampant over their tables.
12:59pm: Cards in the Air! Good news for all of you poker fans. The technical difficulties were solved (never underestimate the benefits of "duct tape") and Day 3 has finally commenced.
There are 13 minutes and 24 seconds remaining in Level 17. Blinds are 3,000-6,000 with a 500 ante.
12:32pm: New start time Due to technical difficulties, our start time has been pushed back to 1:00 pm (EST+3). In the meantime, check out what our Team Pros had to say about the beautiful Latin American beaches. Who knew Akkari was a surfer?
Watch LAPT Punta del Este 2010: Things to do at Latin American Beaches on PokerStars.tv
12:02pm: Preparing the stage The chip bags are on the tables, the dealers are in the box, and our 24 remaining contenders are slowly filtering in to the ballroom here at the Mantra Resort & Casino. Lights and cameras are still being adjusted around the TV featured table, so by our best educated guess, we should be underway in about 15 minutes or so.
LAPT Punta del Este reporting comes courtesy of bloggers Change100 and Paul "DrPauly" McGuire and photographer Carlos Monti.