LAPT8 Panama: Gone but not forgotten

LAPT8 Panama kicked off on a somber note.

On May 4th, Gerardo "Chiclick" Godinez died in a car accident in Guadalajara, Mexico.

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Gerardo "Chiclick" Godinez

Godinez, a 34-year-old father of two, was an LAPT regular since 2010. Godinez was a household name in Mexican poker and touched the lives of many during his years laughing and playing at the poker table.

In honor of Godinez, Codigo Poker played a video tribute to the fallen player before announcing the shuffle-up-and-deal.

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"He was always great and super charismatic," said Gaston Catzman, a reporter for Codigo Poker. "He was well-loved by everyone on the tour and was a great family man."

Godinez's second son was born just a few weeks ago.

Godinez, like many professional poker players, got his competitive start in Magic the Gathering and quickly became known as one of Mexico's best --if not the best-- player.

After making the leap to poker, Godinez started succeeding in cash games but was always hungry for a bigger victory. Godinez started playing tournaments in hopes of taking down poker's largest prizes.

Godinez's biggest victory on the LAPT came in 2012, when he won the LAPT5 Lima High Roller event. Godinez also frequented the World Series of Poker and scored five WSOP cashes throughout his career. Godinez's last cash came in January, when he finished 2nd in the Guadalajara Series of Poker Main Event.

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Gerardo Godinez and friends after his victory

Godinez's passing is another painful reminder of the downsides of a long-running tour. As noted in the PokerStars Blog 10th Anniversary post; regulars on the circuit become more than just poker players or colleagues, they become friends and, sometimes, family.

Godinez wasn't the first player on the tour to pass away and he won't be the last. There's nothing we can do to stop the inevitable, but we can pay them tribute and honor the times they touched our lives.

A few year's back, Brad Willis wrote a tribute to Jyries "Chiquitita" Saba, another player who passed away after making a fair amount of noise on the LAPT.

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Another tragic note in the LAPT books was Aliro Diaz's bittersweet victory in LAPT5 Chile.

The victory is still Diaz's only major tournament cash.

When only two tables remained, Diaz's best friend drove down to watch him play but never made it.

Diaz's friend got into a fatal car accident en-route to the venue.

Still grieving, Diaz played out the final table the following day and dedicated the victory to the friend who never got to see him play.

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Aliro Diaz

After the moment of silence, cards were dealt, chips started shuffling and a slightly smaller, slightly quieter LAPT began.