LAPT8 Uruguay: The small, the fierce, the day 1a field

After players came back from their 75-minute dinner break, they were greeted with 300/600 blinds and a closed registration desk.

The total number of entrants for LAPT8 Uruguay Day 1a is now officially 91.

While it's not the largest field to grace the LAPT, it's one of the fiercest. This has led many people across Uruguay to dub this the "Joe Pesci" of tournament fields.

This petite, tightly-wound field is now down to 51 players but will only get more aggressive as the tournament goes on.

Several of these players have been there and know what it takes to get back there.

One of those players is Dr. Mario Lopez.

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Dr. Mario Lopez

No, the Dr. isn't a poker nickname, Lopez is a medical doctor with more than $1.4 million in tournament earnings.

Lopez's largest score came just a month ago, when he won the largest-ever Estrellas Poker Tour Main Event.

Lopez defeated a field of 3,292 players that event to win $451,107, his largest cash to date.

But the doctor isn't a one-trick pony; before that victory, Lopez already had nearly $1 million in live-tournament earnings.

Lopez had a few six-figure scores on the Argentinian poker circuit and then got another when he won LAPT7 Chile last year.

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Mario Lopez and his LAPT7 Chile trophy

Lopez's second-largest chunk of change was more recent.

Just a few months ago at the World Series of Poker, Lopez finished 2nd in the $1,111 Little One for One Drop and won $399,455.

Up until that WSOP, no Argentinian had won a WSOP bracelet. Just a few weeks before Lopez's runner-up finish, Ivan Luca won a $1,000 NLHE event to become the first ever Argentinian to don a WSOP bracelet.

Lopez came close to making it two.

There's no shortage of Argentinian contenders though.

Another fierce Argentinian in the field is reigning LAPT Player of the Year, Horacio Nicolas.

Nicolas has been in every LAPT field this season. Part of Nicolas's POY prize was a buy-in to every Main Event this season.

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Horacio Nicolas and his Season 7 POY trophy

Nicolas finished Season 7 with nearly 600 points more than POY runner-up, Amos Ben (Ben, the Season 6 POY, was actually fighting to defend his title).

While Nicolas only has one LAPT Main Event cash this season, he's currently well-above average with nearly 80,000 chips.

Side events brought Nicolas to the top of the leaderboard last season, but now he's hoping to make his first deep Main Event run.

Photography from LAPT8 Uruguay by Carlos Monti. You can also follow the action in Spanish and in Portuguese.

Alexander Villegas is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Alex Villegas
@PokerStars in Latin American Poker Tour