LAPT7 Panama: The November Nine on the mind
We mentioned how Badih "Bob" Bounahra found himself at the televised table today. That's a new feature on the Latin American Poker Tour this season, by the way -- live streaming from the first moments of Day 1 all of the way through to the final table of every LAPT Main Event.
The streams are in Spanish or Portuguese, but even if you aren't a speaker of either language you can certainly follow the coverage, the language of cards, bets, and actions all being easy enough to follow with the graphics provided. (Check it out.)
Bounahra's status as a November Niner -- still a relatively small group of players since the introduction of the final table delay at the World Series of Poker in 2008 -- obviously helped organizers decide to select the table for televised coverage today. The 2011 WSOP Main Event seventh-place finisher has done well in the spotlight so far, chipping up close to 40,000, nearly twice the starting stack.
Of course, a look across the table from Bounahra provides a second, similar reason for the decision -- another November Niner in Canada's Scott Montgomery.
The fifth-place finisher in the 2008 WSOP Main Event is one of the many Day 1A players back for a second try today, and returns from the most recent break after a somewhat eventful level.
Shortly after a hand with much drama but little consequence versus Ajitkuman Naguani that saw both shoving the turn then discovering they had the same king-high nut straight, Montgomery would pick up some chips in a four-way hand that saw him flopping trip queens then eventually getting paid off somewhat by Rickey McColley. He sits with about 33,000 at the moment.
Two November Niners at one LAPT table got us wondering if such had ever happened before on the tour, and the collective memory of the tour's veterans has concluded not only has it never happened that two were sitting at the same table at an LAPT Main Event, but it could be the case that two November Niners haven't even been in the same room.
November Niners have participated in LAPT events before, of course, as have pre-Niner WSOP Main Event final tablists like Chris Moneymaker, David Williams, and others.
From the inaugural 2008 November Nine, Dennis Phillips, Ylon Schwartz, and Chino Rheem have all played in LAPT events before, with Phillips collecting a couple of cashes in preliminary events during LAPT Seasons 2 and 3. Joe Cada also played in Florianopolis at LAPT Brazil, it was recalled.
But two November Niners in one event -- and at the same table -- seems certainly to be an LAPT first.
Such discussion naturally led to the subject of Bruno Politano, the first ever player from Brazil to make the WSOP Main Event final table. Politano currently sits ninth in chips in the WSOP Main Event after surviving two weeks' worth of poker earlier this month to earn his spot in this year's November Nine.
Politano is a regular on the LAPT, having once final tabled a Main Event at Sao Paulo back in Season 4 where he finished eighth.
We won't be seeing Politano here this week, however, as he's taking a much deserved rest after his arduous summer.
The discussion also put us in mind of another Brazilian named Bruno who is here today -- Bruno Kawauti who is sitting across the room behind a stack of about 25,000 at present.
For a year Kawauti held the record for the deepest finish ever by a Brazilian in the WSOP Main Event, having finished 15th in 2013. But he fully expected the mark wouldn't last.
"I knew the record was very difficult not to be broken," says Kawauti, "and I'm really glad it happened with Bruno. I was sure someone would get deeper, so I never felt much pressure to keep the record. It was great for me because of the money and recognition, but now I'm just happy for Bruno... and to have a good reason to go back to Vegas in November!"
In other words, while WSOP has invaded our thoughts here at the LAPT this week, so, too, will the LAPT be descending upon the WSOP, as Kawauti and many of Politano's fellow Brazilians plan to make the trip to support him in November.
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 PokerStars.tv.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.