LAPT7 Chile: Focus on leader Melo, short-stacked Akkari to begin Day 3

The week began with clouds and overcast skies, with the first hands of the LAPT7 Chile Main Event played as a haze enveloped the Chilean coast in soft focus. But today we were greeted with the bluest blue and crystal clear skies to accompany our walk to the Enjoy Viña del Mar Casino and Resort for Day 3 and the tournament's penultimate day of play.


Buenos días, Señor Blue Sky

Also clearer today than earlier this week is the tourney picture, although the developing process has still more left to go.

From 609 total entries just 32 remain. The first eliminated today earns $4,120 for his efforts, while the one managing to outlast all of the others is due a handsome $175,311 first prize. Quite a difference, and the sort of circumstance that can most certainly encourage increased focus.

Bookending the counts are a couple of Brazilians. At the top is Jefferson Melo, known also as "GoiaBa" after the fruit with the sometimes sour, sometimes sweet taste. The first two days have been sweet for Melo and sour for his opponents, with his nonstop chip accumulation vaulting him into the lead with 1,063,000 to start today.



Meanwhile in 32nd position is Melo's countryman and lone remaining Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari, sitting with 106,000 or just over 10 big blinds with a few minutes left in Level 20.


It'll be uphill today for Andre

It's a precarious spot for Akkari, although he's plenty ready to keep his LAPT party going.

Other stories abound among the final 32. Raul Pino of Panama was runner-up at LAPT4 Peru three years ago, and sits in second position in the counts to start today. LAPT6 Brazil champion Victor Sbrissa returns to a just below average stack. And last year's winner Pablo Tavitian of Argentina -- down to less than the starting stack to begin Day 2 -- is still among the field as well, as is Colombia's Rafael Pardo who looks to make his fourth career LAPT Main Event final table. Click here for a full rundown of the Day 3 starting counts.

The players have all come in from the beautiful Chile weather, leaving the clear blue outside for the shadowy dark of the Grand Ballroom. Follow the action today via LAPT Live (see below for links).


Follow the action on LAPT Live

And tune in later today during the dinner break -- coming about 6:30 p.m. local time (GMT-3, ET+1) for LAPT Insight where Team PokerStars Pro David Williams is scheduled to be today's guest.

The plan will be to play down to eight, giving us even more clarity on the LAPT7 Chile. We'll be focusing on the action here, too, all day and night, so stick around and follow along with us.

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.