LAPT Team Pro Challenge cash game live blog

lapt-promo.gif by Brad Willis and Change100

The final accounting
It was a grand experiment today. We live-blogged a $25/$50/$5 cash game as it played out in front of the television cameras. The minimum buy-in? $10,000. The players? High-rollers from all over the place.

When it was all said and done eight hours later, Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen was the big winner. For a complete look at how this started, what it meant, and what happened throughout the day, scroll to the bottom of this post and read from the bottom up. It should give you some idea how the winners and losers ended up that way.

We just had a behind-the-scenes look as the players cashed out, so we know exactly how much everybody won and lost.

Here's how it ended up.

Angel Guillen: +$11,180
Jose "Nacho" Barbero: +$9,905
Leo Fernandez: +$2,750
Nico Fierro: $1,185
Jorge Limon: +$1075
Humberto Brenes: -$1,800
Terrence Chan: -$4600
Christian de Leon: -$4,225
Dominik Nitsche: -$5,680
Eric Sullivan -$10,000

Thanks for joining us for this little experiment. This officially concludes our coverage of Season 3 of the LAPT. We'll see you in a few months for Season 4.

8:27pm: Ultimo mano
Leo Fernandez straddled for $100, Humberto Brenes raised to $300 and Fernandez called. The flop came down 7♦4♦2♦. Brenes check-called Fernandez's $400 bet. The turn was the T♥ and both players checked. Brenes checked the 8♦ on the river over to Fernandez, who made it $1,600 to go. Humberto released his hand and Fernandez won the final pot of the evening.

8:11pm: Yay for technology!
Since our cash game is surrounded by film cameras and we'd be escorted from the building should we step onstage, Angel Guillen was gracious enough to impart a text message update on his chip count. He's up to $27,000 from his starting stack of $15,000.

8:05pm: Fernandez stacks Sullivan
Leo Fernandez opened with a raise to $205, Eric Sullivan reraised to $600, Nacho Barbero cold-called the three-bet from the cutoff and the action folded back around to Fernandez, who four-bet to $2,405. Sullivan moved all-in, Barbero folded, and Fernandez called.

Fernandez: A♣Q♠
Sullivan: A♥K♥

Fernandez outflopped Sullivan when the dealer fanned out Q♦8♦4♦. Sullivan got no help on the turn, which fell the 2♠. Only a king could save Sullivan, but the river was the 2♣. Sullivan was felted and decided not to rebuy, shaking each player's hand as he departed the table.

"That's enough," Sullivan said to his group of railbirds as he removed his lapel mic.

7:47pm: Chan leads the way to value town
With the board reading T♠9♠K♥7♠ Terrence Chan got a bet in for $550 and a call from Eric Sullivan. Chan bet $1,200 on the 3♦ river, and Sullivan called again. Chan flipped up 9♥7♥ for the two-pair win.

7:39pm: How do you spell relief? H-U-M-B-E-R-T-O
In the middle of the last hand, Humberto Brenes bolted from his chair and for the door. Only one place he could be going that fast. As the dealer started the deal on this hand, Brenes came sprinting back across the floor, screaming at the dealer (presumably with the request to deal him in). Back just in time, Brenes made it to his seat, looked at his cards, and folded. The godfather of Costa Rican poker is faster than you might think.

7:28pm: Poker gods: Nitsche is dead
Dominik Nitsche, who left the cash game earlier to go play Day 2 of the WCOOP Main Event, is back in the room. He busted out of WCOOP and is back here, presumably looking for his seat back. For right now, the game is full, though. Nitsche will have to wait.

7:23pm: Guillen gives up a little
Facing a pre-flop raise, Angel Guillen raised to $1,350. Nico Fierro called in position and they saw a flop of 5♣3♣5♠. Guillen led out for $850 Fierro thought for a bit then called. On the T♥ turn, Guillen thought for more than two minutes before leading for $1,150. Fierro called again. When the 4♣ came on the river, Guillen once again thought for a long time. This time, he checked. With the door open, Fierro bet $2,500. Guillen didn't take much time before folding. Regardless, Guillen is still the big winner i the game so far.


7:15pm: Guillen felts Fernandez
Leo Fernandez straddled to $100 and the action folded to Angel Guillen, who raised to $300. Fernandez looked at his cards for the first time and settled on a reraise to $1,025. Guillen called and they saw a Q♥3♠2♥ flop. Fernandez led out for $1,200 and Guillen asked for a count of Fernandez's stack before moving all-in. Fernandez called.

Guillen A♠Q♦
Fernandez Q♠5♦

Fernandez got no love from the 3♦, or the 2♠ on the river and Guillen's ace kicker played. Fernandez was down to the felt and he made a $10,000 rebuy.


So it goes, Leo

6:50pm: Brenes tests Guillen
Angel Guillen made it $150 to go, and Humberto Brenes called on his direct left.
Guillen led out for $300 on the A♣A♠3♥ flop, Brenes raised to $900, and Guillen tossed in a call. The turn brought the 4♥ and Guillen checked over to Brenes, who checked behind. The river fell the K♦ and Guillen checked again. Brenes rapped the table and Guillen turned over A♦T♦ for trips. Brenes mucked and Guillen raked in the pot.

6:38pm: Housekeeping
So, while this game is running in large part as normally as any other might, we have been given word that it will not go on indefinitely. Apparently the game will go on for about another two hours with the last hand being dealt about 8:30pm local time.

6:18pm: Chan can't call the river
Terrence Chan raised to $150, and both Nacho Barbero and Eric Sullivan called. The flop came down 8♣6♦2♥. Barbero checked to Chan, who bet $275. Sullivan called and Barbero folded. Chan checked the Q♠ on the turn, Sullivan bet $600 and Chan called. The river was the 3♥ and Chan checked to Sullivan, who made it $1,150 to go. Chan folded and Sullivan picked up the pot.

6:10pm: Guillen's cold-call spooks Chan, Fernandez
Terrence Chan made it $150 to go and Leo Fernandez came in with a reraise to $400. Angel Guillen cold-called the three-bet and Chan called as well The action was checked to Guillen on the T♠9♠2♥ flop. He bet $800, and both opponents folded.

5:49pm: Nitsche's last hand
Dominik Nitsche opened for $350, Jorge Limon called, and Leo Fernandez called, making it a party of three. Nitsche bet $700 on the 3♥6♠3♣ flop, Limon called and Fernandez folded. The turn came the 7♦ and Nitsche fired again for $1,575. Limon called. Nitsche checked the Q♠ on the river, but folded to Limon's $5,000 bet.

Nitsche cashed out for $4,320 so he can go back to his WCOOP main event. That was a loss of $5,680. Meanwhile, Nacho Barbero is back and sitting with the $18,670 he had before he left to play the WCOOP event.

5:41pm: Dominik Nitsche soon to leave...we assume
So, Dominik Nitsche is stuck in this live cash game (down more than $3,000 at out latest count), but we don't figure he'll be sticking around for long. Last night, he played the $5,000 World Championship of Online Poker main event and made it to Day 2. That begins in about 20 minutes, which means a seat is going to open up here soon. Hear that Nacho? Seat about to be open!


5:34pm: Jose Barbero on his way back?
Jose "Nacho" Barbero just busted from the WCOOP $10,000 8-Game championship in rather brutal fashion. He won $172,900, which should ease the pain a little. We know he's only a two-minute walk from this live cash game. Wondering if he'll come back? So are we...

5:25: Five bet city
Now that the players are starting to wake up a little bit, we're starting to see a little action. Leo Fernandez came in for a raise to $225. Humberto Brenes made it $725. Dominik Nitsche thought for a minute or so before making it $1,525. Fernandez wasn't scared and put in $4,225. Brenes and Nitsche both folded, but neither looked especially please about it.

5:23pm: Humberto takes an add-on
Although Humberto Brenes is up about $2,000 in the game, during the break he added another $10,000 to his stack.


5:12pm: Back to the table
After about an hour of snacking and wandering, the players are back to the table. Nico Fierro has taken the three-seat once occupied by Jose Barbero (who is currently three-handed in the WCOOP Event #61 8-game $10,000 championship).

5:00pm: Christian's sweater-bathrobe-thingy
While we wait for the players to come back from the 304050 60-minute break, here's a look at the sweater Christian de Leon was wearing earlier that was getting him some grief from his fellow players.


4:34pm: New player in the game
LAPT Grand Final eighth place finisher Nico Fierro has just wandered in and bought into the game for $10,000. "I'm ready to gamble," he said. He's going to have to wait while the players finish up this break.

4:20pm: Winners and losers
Based on the chip counts below, here's how much everybody is up or down right now.

Eric Sullivan +$900
Angel Guillen +$11,560
Humberto Brenes +$2,220
Dominik Nitsche -$3,035
Terrence Chan -$10,605
Jorge Limon -$10,965
Christian de Leon -$6,595
Leo Fernandez -$1,180

Jose Barbero (No longer playing) +$8,670

4:20pm: Updated chip counts

Eric Sullivan: $10,900
Angel Guillen: $26,560
Humberto Brenes: $12,220
Dominik Nitsche: $6,965
Terrence Chan: $9,395
Jorge Limon: $9,035
Christian de Leon: $7,405
Leo Fernandez: $8,820

4:05pm: Players take a 30-minute break

3:54pm: Elsewhere on the floor
A TV hostess in a sparkling, gold dress is the loudest thing in the room right now. Other than the shuffling of chips and clicking of our keyboard keys, all we can hear is the hostess recording her performance for the TV show. As she speaks, the name Terrence Chan keeps echoing across the room. If we were Chan, we would probably be distracted.

3:52pm: Six is good
Eric Sullivan, Dominik Nitsche and Leo Fernandez al saw a 6♦2♥2♣ flop and the action was checked around. The turn came the 7♠ and Nitsche checked to Fernandez, who bet $655 Sullivan folded and Nitsche called. The river was the 7♦ and Nitsche check-called Fernandez's $1,105 bet. Fernandez showed shows K♠6♠, and it was good enough to take it down.

3:41pm: Hit-and-run Nacho?
Nacho Barbero has just picked up and left the game. That takes $18,670 off the table. In some circles that might be seen as sort of rude, what with him having stacked Terrence Chan just a while ago. However it's understood that Nacho has somewhere important to be. He is in Day 2 of the $10,000 8-Game event, also known as WCOOP Event #61. He's at the final table and could win a WCOOP bracelet, so we'll give him a pass.

3:31pm: Run it twice
Nacho Barbero opened for $175, Jorge Limon flat-called and Christian de Leon three-bet to $800. Barbero called and Limon folded. De Leon led out for $3,000 on the 9♦5♠3♠ flop. Barbero raised to $7,000, de Leon moved all-in and Barbero called. They agreed to run the turn and river twice.

De Leon showed 2♠7♠, a hand we like to call the "velvet hammer," while Barbero showed a higher flush draw with A♠J♠. The first run brought the 2♣ and the 5♥ on the turn and river, De Leon winning the first half of the pot with a pair of deuces. Barbero's ace-high held on the second run, the K♦ and 8♥ falling to make it an even split.

3:21pm: The fashion report
Our Spanish isn't great, but our excellent floor supervisor Melina Villegas is brilliantly bilingual. Apparently the topic of conversation at the table right now is Christian de Leon's cardigan sweater, which several of his tablemates are claiming is from the womenswear department. We happen to disagree. It takes an adventurous man to pull off a shawl collar.

3:16pm: Nitsche with the light four-bet
Dominik Nitsche opened for his typical oversized raise to $400, Eric Sullivan reraised to $1,125, and with the action back on Nitsche, he four-bet to $2,775.Sullivan folded and Nitsche showed ten-nine.

3:06pm: Chan rebuys
Looks like anyone on the waiting list is going to have to stay on the waiting list. Chan, indeed, chose to keep his seat. He's bought another $10,000 in chips and is back in action.


2:58pm: Barbero stacks Chan
We picked up the hand after someone had entered with a raise (we were unable to hear who from where we're sitting). {We've since learned it was actually a straddle and a bunch of calls. Our apologies for the error.} Terrence Chan raised from the button to $600. Four players saw the Q♦Q♣5♣ flop. All four players checked to Chan who bet $900. Eric Sullivan folded and Jose Barbero raised to $2,300. Dominik Nitsche got out of the way, but Chan made the call. Barbero check-called a $2,500 bet on the 3♣ turn. When he 9♥ came on the river, Barbero moved all-in. Chan thought for a few seconds and then called. Barbero turned over pocket fives for the flopped full house. Chan didn't show. A few seconds later, the table announcer called, "Rebuy." Looks like Chan is going to stick around.

2:49pm: Our view
Some of you have asked for video and audio feeds. We're sorry we can't provide that today as that stuff is under embargo until the TV program airs in a few months. Frankly, we shouldn't even be here, but the crew has grown sort of accustomed to having us around. Regardless, this is what it looks like.


2:42pm: Action Nacho
Who needs position? Minutes ago, Leo Fernandez raised to $225 and got a re-raise from Eric Sullivan in the cutoff. That's when Barbero made it $2,100 out of the small blind. Both Fernandez and Sullivan folded and Nacho picked up the pot.

2:36pm: Another for Angel
Leo Fernandez straddled to $100 from UTG, putting the action on Eric Sullivan. He folded, Angel Guillen called the straddle, and Dominik Nitsche raised to 400.Both Fernandez and Guillen called. The flop came down Q♠J♠T♥ and the action was checked to Nitsche, who bet $650. Fernandez called and Guillen called. The Q♣ fell on the turn and Guillen led out for $2,200.Both Nitsche and Fernandez folded, and Guillen raked in the pot.

It's extremely difficult to see each player's chip count with the distance we're positioned from the TV stage, but by our best estimate, Guillen is the big winner at this point.

2:25pm: Guillen picks it up on the flop
Angel Guillen opened for $200 from UTG+1 and got three callers: Terrence Chan, Jorge Limon on the button and Leo Fernandez in the big blind. The flop came down Q♣8♥6♦ and the action checked to Guillen, who bet $555. It was enough to chase all three players away and Guillen raked in another pot.

2:13pm: Fernandez bets Brenes out
Leo Fermandez opened for $225, and got two callers in Nacho Barbero and Humberto Brenes. The action was checked to Fernandez on the K♠Q♥8♠ flop. He bet $435, Barbero folded and Brenes called. Fernandez led out for $1,105 when the 2♣ hit the turn and it was too rich for Brenes, who gave up his hand.

2:04pm: Enter Nacho
Following our croissant break (so delicious and still warm), Jose "Nacho" Barbero joined the table, taking the three seat. He has Angel Guillen on his right and Humberto Brenes on his left. Barbero, however, only has a couple of hours to play here-- last night he made the final table of the WCOOP $10,300 High Roller 8-Game event, where action will resume at 4:00 pm local time.

2:03pm: In case you were wondering...
Just because there are a lot of Team PokerStars Pros playing in the cash game today, we shouldn't assume this is a made-for-TV PokerStars funded event. The Team Pros in action today are here on their own dime. They walked in with cash and are playing this on their own bankrolls.

1:55pm: A bit on Jorge Limon
If you're like us, you don't know much about Jorge Limon. Our Latin American blogger, Reinaldo, just chatted with Limon briefly. Turns out he is a cash game layer from Mexico who plays regularly with Angel Guillen.

1:51pm: Nacho Barbero looking for action
We're not sure if he is playing yet, but Jose "Nacho" Barbero just wandered in and is eying up the table. Looks like he might be scrounging up some cash to get in the game.

1:49pm: You cash game players


1:47pm: Croissants!
Someone just brought in a big tray of hot croissants. It's distracted the players to the point they have taken a break to snag some food. Guillen just picked up another couple thousand bucks in the hand just before the break. He's probably won the most in the first 45 minutes of play.

1:37pm: Guillen gets there?
We missed the action pre-flop, but on a K♠5♣8♣ flop, Angel Guillen led out and Christian de Leon raisedto $2,200. Guillen thought for a long time before making the call. Guillen then check-called the 2♦ for $,3500. When the flush got there on the river with the Q♣, Guillen moved all-in for around $5,000. De Leon smiled and shook his head. He eyed his fellow Mexican Team PokerStars Pro, tanked for a minute, then folded.

1:31pm: A showdown!
After a Mississippi Straddle from Leo Fernandez, Terrence Chan came in for a raise to $300. Play folded to Fernandez, who called. On a 8♦A♥T♣, flop, Chan bet $350 and Fernandez called. Both players checked the 5♣ and 2♣ on the turn and river. Chan showed Q♠7♠...which was, not remarkably, good for the win.

1:27pm: Now it's starting to heat up
On a K♣2♥T♦ flop, Leo Fernandez led out for $405 and got a quick raise from Eric Sullivan. Jorge Limon sat on the button and raised to $3,300. Both Fernandez and Sullivan folded. That's probably the biggest pot we've seen in the first half hour of play.

1:25: Mississippi Straddle in play
We're a long was from Mississippi. A long, long, way. But Christian de Leon just introduced the Mississppi stradde. If you're unfamiliar with this breed of straddle, it allows the button to straddle and forces the the blinds to act first pre-flop.

1:18pm: Shaking off the cobwebs
Poker players are, by nature, not morning people. So, it's taking some effort on their part to get exceptionally active this early in the morning afternoon. That said, the combination of Leo Fernandez and Dominik Nitsche at the table will make for some fireworks. In the most recent pot, Fernandez came in for a riase to $225. Nitsche made it $750 from the button. Fernandez wasn't buying it, and popped it back to $2,105. Nitsche insta-mucked.

1:02pm: Play underway
Well, they're playing now. Let's see how this goes.

1:01pm: Seat draw
Nobody here gets to pick their seats. The line-up was determined by a random draw Here's who has position on whom.

Seat 1: Eric Sullivan
Seat 2: Angel Guillen
Seat 3: Humberto Brenes
Seat 4: Dominik Nitsche
Seat 5: Terrence Chan
Seat 6: Jorge Limon
Seat 7: Christian de Leon
Seat 8: Leo Fernandez

1:00pm: The line-up
As we begin, here are the people we know to be playing and how much they've bought in for:

Leo Fernandez ($10,000)
Angel Guillen ($15,000)
Christian de Leon ($14,000)
Humberto Brenes ($10,000)
Terrence Chan ($10,000)
Dominik Nitsche ($10,000)
Jorge Limon ($20,000)
Eric Sullivan ($10,000)

An explanation of what we're doing here

This is going to be interesting.

The Grand Final of the Latin American Poker Tour ended last night. Martin Sansour, a PokerStars qualifier from Peru, won the big event and more than $300,000. After that, everyone went out to party and celebrate the end of another successful season. The work crews from the City Center Casino tore down most of the poker room here. Now, we sit in a huge, largely dark convention center ballroom.

As it turns out, the TV cameras and a few high-rolling poker players have decided to stick around one more day. Why? Well, it's being called the Team Pro Challenge. From what we've been able to ascertain so far, it's a $10,000 minimum buy-in cash game with $25/$50 blinds and a $5 ante. It will be taped to air on TV at some point. Usually, cash games are private affairs. Even televised cash games are usually held under a veil of secrecy until such point that they air on TV.

For some reason--that, frankly, is even a mystery to us--we've been given permission to be here today and provide a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at what's happening in this room today. Near as we can tell, we're the only remaining members of the media at the City Center Casino. Our flights home don't leave until tomorrow. So, instead of heading out to see the sights, we've cloistered ourselves in the ballroom with our shiny computers. We intend to live blog this cash game throughout the day.

We'll be honest. We typically don't do this kind of thing. We're tournament reporters for the most part. So, we have little to no idea what's going to happen with either the game or this blog.

As long as we can keep it interesting or we don't get kicked out, we'll stick around. We'll be updating this like a live tournament blog throughout the day, and potentially night.

It's looking like the game might start eight or nine handed. Among the people we see milling around and ready to play: Terrence Chan, Dominik Nitsche, Angel Guillen, Christian de Leon (who won back-to-back second chance events this season, the lastest coming early this morning when he defeated Leo Fernandez heads-up), and a few guys with whom we're not entirely familiar.


Christian de Leon, looking to parlay his Second Chance tourney win

So, this is going to get started here pretty soon. Hit refresh as often as you like. We'll post the latest information at the top of this blog until such time that it seems silly to go on any more.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in Latin American Poker Tour