LAPT7 Panama: The world's most famous short cut
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal. Anyone visiting Panama City should take a trip to see the engineering marvel where one can watch the ships passing through the locks from one side to the other and learn about the history behind the building and maintenance of the world's most famous short cut.
With a four-floor museum including a movie theater, tourists can receive a quick history lesson of the Panama Canal's construction that dates all of the way back to the 16th century when Spaniards first came to the isthmus.
One can learn about the failed (and for many, fatal) attempt by the French to construct a canal in the late 19th century, the treaty with the U.S. and the decade-long construction culminating in the 1914 opening, the Torrijos-Carter Treaties of 1977 that set the stage for the transfer of the Canal to Panama at the start of 2000, and the future plan for expansion already underway.
Perhaps the most overwhelming impression one gets from such study and from observing the Panama Canal in action is how incredibly complicated are both its history and operation. Never mind the backstory full of conflicts, negotiations, and treaties. Even the passage of a single cargo ship through the 80-kilometer passage is full of complex machinations involving the three locks, the raising of ships from sea level to that of the artificial Gatun Lake then back down to sea level on the other side, and the meticulous scheduling of such manuevers.
It takes eight to 10 hours for a ship to make its way through the canal -- about the same amount of time they'll likely be playing today in the LAPT Panama Main Event -- although with the paperwork involved it's essentially a day-long procedure. Still beats going all of the way around South America to get from the Atlantic to the Pacific or vice-versa.
People from dozens of countries were involved in the construction of the Panama Canal, and vessels from more than 70 different countries use it every year. Much like the LAPT -- which this year attracted players from 39 different countries to participate in the Main Event -- the Canal brings the world together, providing a means for interaction, commerce, and potential profit.
Speaking of, during the middle portion of the afternoon the field has been carved down to just 18 players, bringing those remaining closer to the biggest prizes on offer.
Jordan Westmorland (25th), Marco Zevola (24th), Richard Naranjo (23rd), Fabian Restrepo (22nd), and Arturo Morales (21st) successively fell during the last hour-and-a-half. LAPT4 Brazil winner Alex Manzano of Chile then took A♣5♠ up against Nick Russo's [10s][10h] and failing to improve went out in 20th.
And Juan Martin Pastor has been knocked out as well in 19th after his K♠5♦ couldn't catch up to Jon Rua's A♣K♠.
Just 10 more eliminations to go before they reach the eight-handed final table, then seven more until a champion is crowned. No short cuts here.
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.