LAPT7 Chile: Jefferson Melo leads to end Day 1A

A long day and night's worth of poker in the coastal city of Viña del Mar has come to a close. Of those who entered today's first Day 1 flight of LAPT7 Chile, Jefferson Melo of Brazil ended the night having prospered most greatly, securing a big stack of 197,500 to lead 74 players who survived the day.


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Jefferson Melo

The theme of the day? Expectations. All manner of them.

As is the case at any poker tournament, players arriving for today's Day 1A of the LAPT7 Chile Main Event each had their own personal expectations of how the day would go, tinged by optimism, confidence, uncertainty, and/or trepidation.

The sharks? They couldn't wait to jump in and take a bite.


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That's right, I'm a shark... and I can fly!

And the fish? Well... they weren't saying much.


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"Who you calling fish?"

Meanwhile, with the start of a new season -- especially following one as successful as the Latin American Poker Tour's Season 6 -- comes a whole host of expectations regarding how the new might compare with what has gone before. As we were noting before play began, the LAPT is no more a fledgling tour but one with a tradition, and a successful one at that.

And after several previous visits here to beautiful Viña del Mar -- with each of the last three enjoying ever larger fields -- how would this week's stop go? With the tournament's buy-in increased from last year's $1,100 to this year's $1,700, what would be the effect?

Finally, as has come to be the case on all of the PokerStars tours, expectations are high regarding the management and professional running of the event. While there's no predicting what cards players will be dealt or how the tourney will play out for them, they've come to expect and indeed count on most other details at an LAPT stop.

In any event, much as the clouds that arrived to mark our morning walk to the casino parted as the day wore on, so, too, did the realization of what LAPT7 Chile may ultimately be begin to become clearer.

After an afternoon's worth of late registration and busted players re-entering -- and some extra action early inspired in part by the re-entry option -- a final tally of 237 entries comprised the Day 1A field in the Grand Ballroom of the Enjoy Viña del Mar Casino and Resort.


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Enjoy Viña del Mar Casino and Resort

As is characteristic on the LAPT, there were numerous familar faces among them, including Patricio Rojas, Alex Manzano, Nicolas Fierro, Damian Salas, Joaquin Melogno, Bruno Kawauti, and Damian Salas. Team PokerStars Pro was well reprsented as usual, too, with Andre Akkari, Angel Guillen, Leo Fernandez, Christian de Leon, Nacho Barbero, and Humberto Brenes all taking seats as expected, and their teammate David Williams also making the trip from the U.S. to join them.

From the latter group, the lofty expectations of Fernandez, Williams, and Barbero weren't quite met as none was able to last the day. All will be back for tomorrow's Day 1B, however, with Barbero for one thinking of his third-place finish here in Chile last year -- and his two previous LAPT wins -- while forming his expectations going forward.


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Team PokerStars Pro Nacho Barbero

Meanwhile Akkari thrived to end the day with 138,100. Guillen (103,400), de Leon (71,000), and Brenes (46,000) likewise made it through to night's end, meaning if their expectations were to enjoy a day off tomorrow before Friday's Day 2, those were met.


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Team PokerStars Pro Humberto Brenes

Carter Gill was another familiar face joining the fray today, currently riding a hot streak of success in South America that has included making the last two LAPT final tables, and winning the LAPT6 Grand Final in Uruguay. We talked to Gill during the day, trying to find out what he's got that's helping him so.


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Carter Gill

After chipping up early, Gill fell short to bust before night's end, although we'll likely see him again tomorrow as well.

Another familiar face, the smiling one of Lynn Gilmartin, took a turn on the player's side of things today after so many occasions of reporting on the tournaments. An unfortunate running of kings into aces ended her day sooner than she'd have liked, but the smile continued as she departed.


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Lynn Gilmartin


As the sun began to set on Day 1A, Pedro Padhila appeared poised to pass Melo in the counts before running out of steam with a stack of 187,000.


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Pedro Padhila

Amos Ben (155,600) and Mario Lopez (149,800) also ended the day well, with Akkari's late push helping him round out the top five to end the night. Click here for the full chip counts for the 74 players making it through Day 1A.

What do we expect tomorrow? A bigger field for one, with the entire Grand Ballroom filled and likely the adjacent ballroom being employed to accommodate the throng. And more tough play as the final chance to re-enter disappears and the leaders begin to flex their muscles.


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Pun intended?

Play begins at noon again tomorrow, and we'll be here again to follow it all day and night long. Expect it.

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.