LAPT7 Peru: The chase for a new champion

The opening announcements have been made and play is underway here for Day 1A of the LAPT7 Peru Grand Final.

It's a familiar scene here at the start of this fifth occasion of the LAPT visiting Lima, with many recognizable faces seated around the tables set up on the second floor of the Atlantic City Casino -- both the poker tables and those occupied by staff and media.

One difference from the start today had to do with those announcements, with the European Poker Tour's Thomas Lamatsch handling the duties, here filling in for LAPT Tournament Director Mike Ward who is unfortunately having to miss the festivities this week.

It's a first ever trip to South America for the longtime EPT tournament director. We'll give Thomas a chance to get settled this afternoon before talking to him later about his impressions.


Thomas Lamatsch (left) welcoming players to the LAPT7 Peru Grand Final

This week's Grand Final follows a trio of exciting events that have highlighted the seventh season of the LAPT. In March it was the Argentinian Mario Lopez surviving a hard fought final table to win LAPT7 Chile title in Viña del Mar. Lopez topped a field of 609 entries to win a $117,991 first prize following a four-handed deal.


LAPT7 Chile Champion Mario Lopez

Then in June Brazilian Victor Sbrissa made a valiant effort attempting to win back-to-back LAPT Brazil titles, falling just one spot shy after losing heads-up to his fellow countryman Caio Hey. Hey won a big R$800,000 first prize (worth nearly $360,000 USD) for beating out the 1,167-entry field.


LAPT7 Brazil Champion Caio Hey

The LAPT Panama event followed in late July, where Fabian Ortiz of Argentina made history as the second ever two-time Main Event winner on the tour, joining his fellow countryman Nacho Barbero as the only other player to manage the feat.

After having won his first LAPT title way back in Season 2 in Chile with [K][7] as his winning hand, Ortiz defeated Guillermo Olvera heads-up in Panama while uncannily holding [K][7] again. The pair had made a deal, after which Ortiz earned a handsome $143,930 for finishing first among the 550-entry field.


LAPT7 Panama Champion Fabian Ortiz

Players continue to file in during the first level of play today, with many more expected to arrive for tomorrow's Day 1B. Stay tuned to see who among them emerges to be part of another familiar sight -- that of a champion with the LAPT Main Event trophy.


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

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.