LAPT8 Chile: Lots of choices for players in Chile

Cards are in the air and players are still arriving as the first level of Day 1A of the LAPT8 Chile Main Event gets started.

Among those already taking hands are several familiar faces, including last year's LAPT7 Peru champion Oscar Alache, 2014 WSOP Main Event November Niner and eighth-place finisher Bruno Politano, Thiago "XTheDecanoX" Nijishima, and Ariel "ArielBahia" Celestino.


LAPTViña-2015-3747.jpg

Ariel "ArielBahia" Celestino

Antonio Estorino -- a.k.a. Tony Baggio -- is here as well. Those who watched the EPT Live stream of the PCA Main Event might remember Baggio who was on the feature table frequently on his way to a 48th-place finish.


LAPTViña-2015-3743.jpg

Tony Baggio

There are a little under 100 players in their seats at present, but the field is growing already -- and will surely do so even more markedly tomorrow during the second and last Day 1 flight.

Speaking of growing, the Latin American Poker Tour is expanding as well in various ways. In January the LAPT launched its eighth season with its first ever LAPT Bahamas event, with the huge 736-entry field building a prize pool of almost $2 million -- nearly the biggest in the tour's history.

The LAPT is also expanding in terms of the side events being offered during Season 8, with the plan this time around at each stop to stage 13 tournaments (including the Main Event). When we talked with LAPT President David Carrion at the PCA, he mentioned the tour's plan to start adding other events, including non-hold'em tournaments, to give players a greater variety of offerings at each LAPT stop.

This weekend there are a couple of pot-limit Omaha events on the schedule. There have been PLO events at the LAPT before, although one of them this time will be introducing a novel twist to the format -- a "Dealer's Choice 4 or 5 Cards" PLO event. In that one, the player with the button will get to announce before the deal whether or not they'll play regular 4-card PLO or the 5-card version.

Later today will come another new event for the LAPT, a "mix-max" no-limit hold'em tournament that will begin eight-handed, then move to six-handed and then four-handed before returning to eight-handed for the final table. On Tuesday there will also be a H.O.S.E. tournament, another new one for the LAPT.

Each of these tournaments feature small-than-usual buy-ins -- $200 -- as well as fast structures, making them all one-day events. As LAPT Tournament Director Mike Ward explains, they are primarily intended to enhance the players' experience with some added variety beyond the usual NLHE events, with the lower buy-ins perhaps attracting some local players who might not have played an LAPT event before a chance to try one out.

On the other end of the scale, there will be a $5,000 High Roller event, too, in addition to the many other NLHE events with different level buy-ins from which to choose.

We'll mostly remain locked in on the Main over the next five days. But like those already here this week, we'll likely be tempted to check in on those other events, too.

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.