LAPT8 Bahamas: Main Event draws 736, Pahuja gathers big stack

One of the many water slides here at the Atlantis is aptly called "The Surge," so named because of the way it suddenly carries riders upwards during its initial sequence, seemingly defying gravity as they go faster the higher they go.

Today's first day of the three-day LAPT Bahamas Main Event featured a similar surge to kick off Season 8 of the Latin American Poker Tour. The cautiously optimistic expectations of the LAPT staff regarding the turnout for the $3,000 buy-in event were easily met within the first couple of levels. Then suddenly the numbers escalated upward at a breakneck pace, finally settling at an incredible 736 entries.

Just 183 remained after 12 fifty-minute levels today with Mukul Pahuja ending the night with the biggest stack with 244,400 -- close to four times the average stack of those who remain.


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Mukul Pahuja

Among others ending the night with big stacks were Roger Tondeur (228,600), Mustapha Kanit (228,500), Brahim Oubella (222,100), Jonathan Borenstein (221,900), Victor Begara (212,700), and Marvin Rettenmaier (197,600).


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Marvin Rettenmaier

As the late night totals showed, those 736 entries included 532 unique players with 204 reentries, thus making a total prize pool of $1,945,248 of which $367,928 is scheduled to go to the winner. Click here to see how the top 111 finishers will be dividing the money.

The day began with great anticipation of a special event, given the uniqueness of the LAPT deciding to start its new season with an official Main Event here in the Bahamas. While ideas of what the turnout would be were uncertain, everyone knew there'd be something familiar but different about this LAPT field, comprised as it would be of many tour regulars and a number of players who'd never played an LAPT event before.

Many Team PokerStars Pros took part, including Jonathan Duhamel, Christian de Leon, Eugene Katchalov, Liv Boeree, Leo Fernandez, Victor Ramdin, and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier.

Team PokerStars Pro Online member Vicente Delgado -- who just turned 23 as midnight tolled a little while ago -- was also part of the field, as was Team PokerStars SportStar Ronaldo.


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Ronaldo

We got a kick out of Ronaldo's participation before his elimination. We also enjoyed chatting with 2014 PCA Main Event winner Dominik Panka before he busted, one of many who took advantage of the opportunity to play a first LAPT event.


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Dominik Panka

As dinner approached it was clear we were looking at a fantastically-sized field, and after having our entrees we finally learned the final number of entries.

Players return at 12 noon ET tomorrow and so will we, with expectations of a long day given the largeness of the remaining field and the three-day schedule.

The upward push of "The Surge" is followed by a long, twisty ride back downward, with some sections in complete darkness to add further to the drama. There are surely many twists left to come in this one. Come back tomorrow to see where the current of first ever LAPT Bahamas Main Event carries us.

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Photography from LAPT8 Bahamas by Carlos Monti. Click here for live updates in Spanish, and here for live updates in Portuguese.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.