LAPT7 Panama: Humberto busto (for the momento); Cruz cruising

Team PokerStars Pro Humberto Brenes has been bounced from Day 1A. But we strongly suspect he'll be bouncing back tomorrow. Such is the nature of "the Shark" and his Jaws-like capacity for sequels and tournament survival.

Recently down to his last 4,000 fichas, Brenes picked up 9♠9♥ and was willing to commit his stack before the flop. He found himself up against two opponents, including a similarly short-stacked Gerardo Rodriguez who held 8♦8♥.

But Francis Cruz had both players dominated with chips and with cards as he tabled J♠J♦, and when the board rolled out 5♠3♦A♥6♣7♥ two more hit the rail including Brenes, with Cruz picking up both stacks to move up over 50,000.

Not too long after that hand, Cruz was in another much bigger three-way preflop all-in. In that one, Cruz held A♣K♣, Seter Davies had A♦Q♦, and Joel Ramos J♥J♦. The flop came a dazzling A♥K♠K♥ to give Cruz a full house, and after the board completed 5♠ then 4♥, Cruz had notched two more eliminations while pushing up around 130,000 to challenge for the current chip lead.

LAPT -PANA-7S--1783.jpg

Francis Cruz

We earlier mentioned in passing Brenes's phenomenal World Series of Poker this summer where he cashed no less than 10 times, just one shy of the all-time WSOP record. All ten of his cashes came in either no-limit hold'em or pot-limit Omaha, his preferred games.

Brenes has quite a record of cashing at the LAPT as well, having made the money in LAPT Main Events in every season except one (Season 2), comprising nine LAPT Main Event cashes including four during Season IV (out of six Main Events) and one already here in Season VII when Brenes cashed at LAPT7 Chile.

In other words, it's not so easy to knock the Godfather of Costa Rican poker out of LAPT Main Events, which makes us confident he'll be among those returning for Thursday's second and final Day 1 flight.


Team PokerStars Pro Humberto Brenes

With late registration done for Day 1A, the board is showing 174 total entries today with 95 players still with chips as Level 8 begins. Play continues through Level 10 tonight.

Photography from LAPT7 Panama by Carlos Monti. Click here for live updates in Spanish, and here for live updates in Portuguese. Also check out the start-to-finish live streaming coverage (in both Spanish and Portuguese) at

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.