LAPT7 Panama: Towers upon towers

Panama City provides yet another picturesque destination for poker players on the Latin American Poker Tour. Surrounded by tropical rainforest, the urban heart of the city serves as a business and adminstrative center for much commerce. And for those visiting for the first time, the crowded skyline full of high-rises and skyscrapers instantly stands out as a distinctive feature.

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The sheer density of tall buildings distinguishes the Panama City skyline from those of many other cities, and makes it entirely unique in this part of the world. Dozens of high-rises reach upwards to crowd the view, evidence of a construction boom that began within the last half-decade and continues in earnest today.

More than 100 buildings already fill the landscape, with another 150 currently being planned. Indeed, the "tallest building" race has been an exciting one of late, currently led by The Point, a 873-foot high, 67-story residential building one can see from anywhere in Panama City. That's an edge of just a few feet over the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower and Vitri Tower at the moment.

Those three buildings were constructed within the last few years, but their lead is tenuous given that there exist plans for a half-dozen more buildings currently projected to climb up even higher into the humid Panama sky, a couple to reach over 1,000 feet.

By comparison, the spacious Veneto Wyndam Grand Hotel -- despite covering 10,000 square feet and housing 17 floors' worth of guest suites and rooms -- is of modest size. But as we've been reporting all week, within the connected conference rooms here on the seventh floor where the LAPT Panama Main Event is playing out, towers upon towers are being constructed all around, some exceedingly impressive in their own right.

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Unlike the buildings, some of which continue to rise higher and higher as time wears on, the towers of chips go both up and down. Unless you're Farid Jattin -- so far today, anyway -- who entered Day 2 as chip leader with 183,200 and has been constructing upwards ever since, now sitting with more than 400,000 as the field dips down to less than 100 players.

So far no one's crowding Jattin as he looks down from his perch atop the counts. But that could well change.

The building continues.

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.