LAPT8 Brazil: Armando Sbrissa snares Day 1A lead in Grand Final

Just after the clock struck three a.m., the first day of the last Main Event of Season 8 of the Latin American Poker Tour came to a close here in São Paulo.

From a Day 1A field of 132 entrants, less than half that number remain. After picking up a big pot versus George Powidzer during the night's final level, Armando Sbrissa ended the night bagging up the most chips of any of the Day 1A participants, finishing with 217,200 to provide a goal for tomorrow's second and final Day 1 flight of players to try to exceed.

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Armando Sbrissa

Among Armando's past successes was his being one of the first Brazilians ever to win a Sunday Million, playing as "Zareta" on PokerStars back in 2010. He's also the brother of Victor Sbrissa who won this very event two years ago when he became the LAPT6 Brazil Main Event champion.

There were clouds outside and crowds inside as Day 1A of the Grand Final helped kick off the start of the BSOP Millions festival.


Hundreds today playing in the Millions

Among the former LAPT Main Event champions to take their seats early on was two-time winner Oscar Alache, who after busting once reentered no doubt with an eye toward preserving his current lead in the LAPT Season 8 Player of the Year race.

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Oscar Alache

Along with Victor Sbrissa, two-time champ Nacho Barbero, Alex Manzano, Patricio Rojas, and Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez also represented the LAPT Main Event winners club today. And Renata Teixeira of Brazil was on hand as well, fighting to improve her No. 2 position in the LAPT POY race behind Alache.

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Renata Teixeira

It was a busy day with super-sized BSOP side events running alongside the Grand Final, although they didn't quite take up all 151 tables in the Golden Room as they surely will within the next few days. A mid-afternoon press conference supplied us with that figure, where we also learned there are more than 400 staff working the festival with 300,000 individual chips to be used throughout the 32-event series.

As play wore on the big stacks began distinguishing themselves, with Argentina's Osvaldo Lewis among the first to triple the starting stack. Then LAPT Season 6 Player of the Year Amos Ben emerged with big chips as well as the Day 1A field shrunk to less than a hundred.

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Amos Ben

Nearby was running a celebrity tournament, the "Desafío de las estrellas" or "Challenge of the Stars," where many of Brazil's most famous athletes, television personalities, humorists, and a politician or two were vying for a top prize of a PokerStars Caribbean Adventure package.

As the last level of the Grand Final played out they'd gotten down to two players in the "Desafío," with Ronaldo being one of them and Theo Lima, Sales Manager at Twitter Brazil the other. Lima will have plenty to tweet about, as he ended up taking away the top prize.


Theo Lima and Ronaldo

That said, we know we'll likely be seeing Ronaldo and his smile in Nassau in January as well.

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Ronaldo sharing a laugh with BSOP Media Coordinator Sergio Prado

Also ending Day 1A with a big stack was Felipe Difini of Brazil who ended with 203,800.

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Felipe Difini

Alban Juen of France likewise finished strong to bag up 201,200.

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Alban Juen

Next in line in the end-of-Day-1a chip counts is Ariel Celestino with 128,200, followed by Amos Ben with 123,700. All told 62 players survived the day.

Others we were following today who made it through to Friday's Day 2 included George Powidzer (90,800), Fernando "Grow" Garcia (89,700), Osvaldo Lewis (45,800), Marco Zevola (42,300), Laurie Tournier (35,400), Damian Salas (41,500), Alex Manzano (32,100), Renata Teixeira (27,600), and Team PokerStars Online member Caio Pessagno (26,600), with Sebastian Sabic bagging the smallest stack of 15,100. Click here for the full list of end of Day 1A chip counts.

Meanwhile Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez, Jorge Limon of Team PokerStars Online, Oscar Alache, Victor Sbrissa, and Patricio Rojas all were ultimately felted, though we suspect to see them back again exercising the option to reenter tomorrow.

We'll be back to start it all again tomorrow afternoon starting at 3 p.m. local time for Day 1B of the LAPT Grand Final.Come back then for continuing coverage as we find out together who will become the next LAPT Main Event champion.

Photography from LAPT8 Brazil by Carlos Monti. You can also follow the action in Spanish here and in Portuguese here.

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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.