LAPT7 Chile: David Williams enjoying South America return
We took a tour a short while ago across the Grand Ballroom where Team PokerStars Pro David Williams has been seated, getting a look at him winning the last hand of the level, then watching him take a couple of minutes afterwards to pose for some photos before coming over to chat.
"That's just the second pot I've won all day," he said as he stepped over. You couldn't tell it from looking at him, though, as the smile from the photos was still wide as he spoke.
In the hand he'd opened from under the gun and watched the blinds defend, then the big blind lead at a 6♥7♦Q♥ flop.
"I just called," Williams explained. "I had top pair with K-Q. The turn was the 2♥ and he led into me again and I called. Then the river was the 2♠ and when he led into me again I raised him. I was pretty sure he didn't have ace-queen or better, which beats me. I didn't raise him much, trying to get some value, but he folded."
Picking up those chips put Williams at about 12,500 going to the break -- below the average, but still with plenty with which work. However, despite having busted once yesterday and having had to endure a slow start today, it's clear that Williams has been enjoying his time thus far in Viña del Mar
"Everybody is so friendly," said Williams, referring to the other players with whom he's been competing.
"There are no stare-downs and all this stuff that you sometimes deal with in big tournaments or tournaments in America. All that's just not going on down here. People are laughing and joking. At the end of hands they'll show. People will slowroll each other but no one gets mad about it. It's like poker was 10 years ago, really... fun and casual. And I think that's what brings all of these guys back. Even the ones who don't win, they still come back and that's what poker is all about... having a good time."
This might be Williams first LAPT, but he's no stranger to South America.
On a plane to Vina del Mar, Chile for the @PokerStars LAPT! Excited to be back in South America!— David Williams (@dwpoker) March 19, 2014
"I've been before for Magic the Gathering," he explained. "They have tournaments all over the world and I've been to South America many times, including Santiago in 2001. It's really beautiful."
Having just landed in Chile early yesterday and spending much of Day 1A at the tables, Williams hasn't had the chance to explore Viña del Mar too much thus far. Does he intend to?
"It's hard," he said. "I'm from the Daniel Negreanu school of clear intention, so if I start planning things to do in Chile I'm counting myself out of the tournament. So even though I'm short now, my intention is to be here at the final table and then fly home when my flight is scheduled just after."
Should things go differently, there are side events he might play, including a high roller.
"I do want to explore the city a bit, though," he added. "I'm not too big on tourism, but I am a foodie, so I'll find some good local cuisine. I love seafood, so I know there's some great places to go here."
Knowing the 10th year anniversary of Williams's second-place finish in the 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event was upon us (in May), has Williams been giving much thought to the event?
"I don't what the significance of ten years is. I actually think about it pretty much every year when it comes up. It just makes me feel old, really. It's crazy to think how I've been playing tournaments for ten years now. I think of how many tournaments that has been -- and how many buy-ins, too. Obviously my earnings have been high, but I think about the opposite side, too -- the buy-ins, the travel, everything. It's basically been a third of my life!"
Unsurprisingly, that second-place finish nearly a decade ago has whetted an appetite that has continued for a long time.
"I'm just hoping one day I can get back there," he said. "It's seeming more and more impossible with so many people now, but you never know."
Speaking of "one shining moments," since today sports fans back in the U.S. are all sweating their NCAA brackets as college basketball's "main event" gets into full swing, we wondered if Williams might be doing so, too, from thousands of miles away.
"I love the NBA, but I only really pay attention to college basketball when they get to the Final Four," he said. "If I were home, I'd be watching today and this weekend, but I didn't fill out a bracket or anything so I'm not sweating it too much. Usually when I've done it I have all the #1 seeds advancing and the higher seeds winning throughout, then my final four is all top seeds and then I just pick whoever did better during the year. So my bracket's never too exciting or unique. One year that worked and all the #1 seeds won, and I actually was doing okay, but most years it doesn't."
We let Williams go to enjoy the last minutes of the break, thinking how if seeds had been assigned before the start of this week's tournament, he'd likely have been given a high one. And rightly would have been picked to go deep in most brackets, too.
Photography from LAPT7 Chile by Carlos Monti. Follow live streaming coverage throughout LAPT7 Chile in Spanish at PokerStars or via Facebook as well as in Portuguese, also at PokerStars or via Facebook.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.