LAPT8 Brazil: Thumbs up for chip leaders, finger food for celebs

We've got something of a contrast developing on this side of the Golden Hall here at the WTC São Paulo, site of the Latin American Poker Tour Grand Final where Day 1A continues to march along.

Preparations have been made for the celebrity tournament near the front of the room, with ropes stretched along one edge of the LAPT Grand Final to separate the Main Event players from those participating in that event.

Wait staff carrying trays full of exotic-appearing finger food and various adult beverages mill about on the other side, with early arrivers partaking as they ready themselves to sit down for what promises to be a merry few hours' worth of likely loud, light-hearted amusement.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ropes, the mood isn't necessarily anxious, nor is there an absence of jovial table talk. But the stakes are obviously higher and being treated as such. And the people pushing the food and drink carts nearby appear to require payment in exchange for their goods.

They're nearing the end of Level 5 in this first of two starting flights for the Grand Final. The Argentinian Osvaldo Lewis appears to have done the best for himself through the first five levels of play today, having spun the starting stack of 30,000 up over 80,000 already.

Meanwhile Ariel Celestino (48,000), Alex Manzano (40,000), Fernando Garcia (38,000) have chipped up some, while Marco Zevola has bought back in after having lost his initial starting stack a while ago.

Joaquín Melogno was one of the latecomers today. The Uruguayan has one LAPT Main Event final table finish to his credit, having finished fourth at LAPT5 Uruguay back in 2012. He also has earned a Sunday Million win on PokerStars where he plays as "elmelogno4."

It's been a struggle so far today for Melogno, currently sitting right around 17,000.

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Joaquín Melogno

Former LAPT Main Event champs Patricio Rojas and Victor Sbrissa have encountered similar difficulty, with both currently hovering just over the 10,000-chip mark. Two-time LAPT Main Event champion Nacho Barbero is also battling uphill, having slipped to about 10,000.

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Nacho Barbero

Dinner will arrive for those on our side of the ropes at the conclusion of Level 6. Maybe then we can sneak over to the other side and try to find a friendly member of the wait staff willing to share something from his or her tray. Or at least a slow-moving one.

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.