LAPT8 Brazil: Grand Final field growing even grander
There were about 80 players in their seats to start the day's first level, but by the time they edged toward the end of hour number two more than 200 had entered today's Day 1B of the Latin American Poker Tour Grand Final Main Event in São Paulo.
As expected there are lots of familiar faces here from LAPTs past, including a few from just a day ago such as LAPT6 Peru Main Event champion Patricio Rojas of Chile, Brazilian Helio Neves who final tabled LAPT8 Peru four months ago (finishing sixth), and WCOOP winner Nicolas "PKaiser" Fierro of Chile who has cashed many times on the LAPT though still seeks his first title.
Those three all were in action here yesterday for Day 1A, busting before the bagging, and so are exercising the reentry option. So, too, have two-time LAPT champ Oscar Alache and one-time winner Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez returned today after getting felted on Wednesday to try again.
Meanwhile many more are jumping into LAPT Grand Final for the first time today, among them two-time LAPT Main Event champion Fabian Ortiz, 2014 World Series of Poker November Niner Bruno Politano, near November Niner Bruno Kawauti, and Jerson Backmann of Mexico who took third at last year's LAPT Grand Final in Lima, Peru.
Three of Brazil's best -- Nicolau Villa-Lobos, Thiago Nishijima, and Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari -- are seated as well. Justo Esquivel, Tony Baggio, and Friend of PokerStars Felipe Ramos are playing, too.
A couple of Americans are here as well. Jeff Gross has made the trip, winner of more than $2.3 million in live tournaments lifetime. And also here today is Brian Rast, the two-time WSOP bracelet winner who isn't that far removed from having won a $7.5 million-plus prize in the $500K Super High Roller Bowl in Las Vegas this summer.
Rast has been spending time in Brazil more and more of late after having met his wife here a few years ago, although he hasn't been playing a great deal of poker here -- in fact, this marks his first ever LAPT or BSOP event.
We'll keep a watch to see who else arrives as the LAPT Grand Final field continues to grow.
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.