LAPT8 Chile: Celebrities cashing in

Common poker wisdom describes the early pre-ante levels of a tournament as playing "like a cash game." Indeed, here in Level 4 the antes have just been introduced, but the stacks remain relatively deep with the average above 100 big blinds at the moment.

That said, there's more poker being played nearby that's even more like a cash game. In fact, exactly like one, as the "Celebrity Cash Game" is underway at the feature table.


Un juego de cash at the LAPT

Airing this afternoon and early evening over on the LAPT Live stream, the game features a mix of poker pros familiar to us here on the tour and others whose fame extends beyond poker -- and whose familiarity with playing a game of cards for money is of varying levels.

Among those representing the former group are a couple of Team PokerStars Pros, Christian de Leon and Andre Akkari.


Team PokerStars Pros Christian de Leon and Andre Akkari

The Argentinian Emanuel Marso -- a frequent player on the tour -- is participating, as is Ivan Marquez of Venezuela and one-time LAPT Player of the Year Amos Ben of Chile.


Amos Ben

Meanwhile players representing the celebrity contingent include Brazilian television presenter, Otavio Mesquita, whose poker face tells us something the game's current levity level.


Otavio Mesquita

While not a pro, Mesquita has played in LAPT events in the past. Gaston Catzman of Argentina -- and our friends at Codigo Poker -- brings a bit more poker experience to the table, as well as plenty of table talk thanks to his role as a commentator on the LAPT Live stream.


Gaston Catzman

Gonzalo Valenzuela is another one straddling the celebrity/poker player line. An actor with appearances in numerous films, televisions shows, and miniseries over the last decade-and-a-half, Valenzuela currently hosts the popular Somos Poker show for Fox Sports in Latin America. And he's notched some impressive poker results as well, including final tabling this very LAPT Chile Main Event back in 2011 where he finished eighth.


Gonzalo Valenzuela

The stakes aren't too high -- they're playing $1/$2 with the average stack about $500 -- although the laughs are in abundance. Mesquita just picked up pocket aces and a nice-sized pot to sit with the biggest stack (and widest grin) at present.

They'll be playing a few more hours today, then tomorrow the LAPT Live stream will focus instead on Day 1B of the Main Event. Click over to check it out and see if Mesquita can keep his head -- and his chips.

Photography from LAPT8 Chile by Carlos Monti. Watch the stream at LAPT Live. You can also follow the action in Spanish on the PokerStars blog and on Facebook, and in Portuguese on the blog and on Facebook.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.