LAPT7 Peru: Fierro in the driver's seat
This marks your humble scribbler's fourth visit to Lima, a city also known as the "Gastronomical Capital of the Americas." And having just enjoyed a most satisfying three-course midday meal, I can once again attest to the appropriateness of the nickname.
Having traveled here several times before I've become well acquainted with the 40-minute trek from Jorge Chávez International Airport in Callao to Miraflores. Arriving late last night, I could still recognize the many familiar landmarks and coastline despite the darkness of the ride. I was more taken, however, with another, also familiar experience many travelers have come to know -- that of the impossibly-daring cab driver.
Much as language, customs, and other mores can distinguish one culture from another, so, too, can the methods with which drivers share space on a given city's streets offer something uniquely characteristic.
The traffic in Lima is often bustling, even at the late hour during which I was transported through it last evening, with vehicles frequently separated by mere inches on all sides as they go. Thus was my gratitude heightened by the seeming fearlessness of my driver whose facility with the task was marked by an impressive mixture of clever timing and aggression.
Oblivious to the bleating of horns around him, he weaved in and out of the surrounding chaos with remarkable ease, with only the occasional, subtle use of turn signals announcing his attentions. Nor did the "pare" signs much impede his progress, the rolling stops hardly an inconvenience as we hurtled forward through the night.
The performance was not unlike that of a gifted poker player at ease with his surroundings, not at all bothered by the actions of his fellow "drivers" situated nearby. The kind of player sometimes described as "running the table over."
Among those distinguishing themselves thusly during the early levels of Day 1A has been Nicolas Fierro, a player whose table demeanor bespeaks a level of comfort one can easily recognize even without knowing about his lifetime tournament earnings of more than $1.1 million including a victory in the Americas Cup at Punta del Este in 2011 and several other LAPT cashes and deep WSOP runs.
Like my driver, the Chilean moved quickly and with assurance during the day's first couple of levels, nearly doubling the starting stack to return to almost 40,000 to begin Level 3. It was halfway through that level Fierro was again pressing the gas, opening with a button raise then watching as an opponent in the big blind put out a three-bet before making the call.
More leading bets would come following the 4♥A♠K♦ flop and 9♥ turn, and each time Fierro responded with quiet calls. The 6♣ river then brought an all-in shove from his opponent.
Despite the abruptness of the maneuver -- like a sudden lane change of someone swerving directly in his path -- Fierro remained calm, sipping his coffee and acting without haste. At last he pushed his cards aside, content to look for a different avenue to take him toward his desired destination.
Even with the small chip loss, Fierro remains one of the early pace-setters on Day 1A. Meanwhile I'm going to remain content just to sit back and watch him and others drive us through the remainder of the afternoon and evening.
Photography from LAPT7 Peru by Carlos Monti. Check out the start-to-finish live streaming coverage (in both Spanish and Portuguese) at PokerStars.tv. Click here for live updates in Spanish, and here for live updates in Portuguese.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.