LAPT9 Chile: Main Event gets underway! Day 1A live updates

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12:15am: That's a wrap

You can read a full day report here. --JS

12am: We're done!

Play is over for Day 1A but stick around - we'll be back with a full wrap of the day and all the official notable chip stacks momentarily. --JS

11:45pm: Two more hands will do it
Level 10 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

The clock has been paused and our tournament director has announced that we'll play two more hands tonight. --JS

11:31pm: One more "One Time!" for Duran
Level 10 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

How many "one times" does a person actually get? One for eternity, and its use needs to be picked and chosen very carefully. One per tournament? One per day? Juan Carlos Duran is on a one "One Time!" per level right now it seems, and he just used up another to score a double up towards the midway point of Level 10.

Action was picked up with a player opening to 2,300 and, next to act, Duran quickly moved all-in, pushing a messy, multi-colored stack across the line. The rest of the table folded and after the dealer cut out 19,100, his opponent called, putting Duran at risk. He was flipping, 8♥8♣ to his big-stacked opponent's A♠J♣ but after the 8♦4♣2♠ flop, he was more or less a lock to double up.

That double was confirmed after the J♠ fell on the turn and Duran, like he has a handful of times today, stood from his chair to say, "One Time!" to no one in particular. He started to look around for someone, anyone it seemed, to give him a high five or a hug.

Earlier today he had a few friends in the field but it seems as though they've hit the rail over the last few levels. So, while he missed on the high five and hug, he connected on the double, pushing himself back over two starting stacks. --WOC

11:21pm: 40 minutes left and Sergio Palma leads
Level 10 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

I've just had a scan around the room and, while there's no runaway chip leader, Sergio Palma is currently out in front with 155,000. Fabian Chauriye and Damian Salas (yep - him again) also have big stacks. --JS

11:16pm: Kings shoot Salas over century mark
Level 10 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

If it seems we've reported on Damian Salas at least once in every level today, it's because the Argentinian just can't get himself out of the action. Most of the time, he's showing up with big hands and a huge pocket pair just won him a sizable pot to move over the 100,000 chip mark.

Salas opened the action with a raise to 1,600 in the final hand of Level 9 and after some folds, a player three-bet to 5,000 from the button. The blinds folded and after some thought, Salas four-bet to 11,400. His opponent called and each player had just over 50,000 left behind.

The 9♣6♦2♦ brought a continuation bet of 9,500 from the out of position Salas and his opponent called to see the T♠ fall on the turn. This time, Salas checked but that was just the first part of his well-played plan, as his opponent quickly waved his hand, signaling all-in and Salas snap called.

Neither player seemed to want to show their hand first and after the player on the button tabled Q♣Q♥, Salas confidently showed his own K♥K♠. The Argentinian stood from his chair and after the T♥ completed the board, he gave himself a quick celebratory fist pump, as he knew what a massive hand that was.

The stacks were cut down and Salas' opponent had him slightly covered, meaning he got a 200 chip rebate, while Salas was moving himself up near 125,000. That "two chips and a chair" story would be some comeback but, much like it has been throughout this Day 1A flight, the story here is all about Damian Salas. --WOC

11:02pm: Last level of Day 1A
Level 10 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

We've entered our final level of play, but who will end the day as chip leader? You'll have to stick around and see. --JS

10:52pm: Hugo Jara flips better than Lopez
Level 9 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

After Fabian Ortiz and Oscar Alache hit the rail, Mario Lopez was the only member of the 'two-time LAPT champ' club still in the field. But with just over 10 minutes remaining in Level 9, the third member of that group just lost a flip for his tournament life.

Lopez was all-in for just over 7,000 and Hugo Jara called to put the two-time champ at risk, holding 2♣2♠. Lopez turned over K♣Q♦ and it was a flip, one that he'd need to win to get back to a workable stack. Unfortunately, he didn't, as the board ran out A♠6♣3♥7♦T♥, confirming his elimination.

We imagine the uber-successful Argentinian will be back tomorrow for Day 1B but as it stands, Hugo Jara is hoping to lock up a day off tomorrow, as he's working 55,000 heading towards the final hour of play. --WOC

10:45pm: Murato Makes Rodriguez Wait
Level 9 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Table 1 has been playing out their Day 1A session at the feature table and while Alejandro Rodriguez just recently joined that lineup, Eder Murata has been playing there for the better part of the last few levels. He also just took the better part of five minutes to make a fold on the river, after he and Rodriguez tangled in a pot that moved the Argentinian over the 60,000 chip mark.

Action was picked up with Murata check-calling a bet of 4,000 on a K♣5♣3♣ flop and after the J♦ fell on the turn, both players checked. Murata checked for a third time after the Q♥ completed the board and the in position Rodriguez bet 8,400, which is when the tank started.

The Brazilian went into deep thought, bobbing up and down behind blacked out sunglasses before that bob changed to a side to side shake of his head. That came at the two minute mark but Murata needed more time to officially decide "no". Eventually, "fin", as one of his table mates put it, he folded, conceding the pot to Rodriguez. --WOC

10:40pm: Two-time champ clings on
Level 9 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Our sole remaining two-time LAPT champ is Mario Lopez, but even he's having to get lucky to stay in this thing.

Down to 6,500, he open shoved and was called by a player holding the A♦8♦. Lopez needed help with his A♠3♠ and certainly got some on the 7♥Q♠7♠ flop, picking up plenty of flush draw outs.

The turn came the 6♦, meaning Lopez was really cutting it thin. But the J♦ river meant it was a chop pot! Both aces were now even, and Lopez lives (for now) to fight another day. --JS

10:30pm: Duran and Tirado send two to the rail
Level 9 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

With this field working through the final two hours of this Day 1A flight, we imagine a handful of tables will break before night's end. Tomas Duran and Carlos Tirado are doing their best to make that happen, as they just sent players away from their table in back-to-back hands.

The first encounter saw a short stack move all-in for just over 6,000 from middle position and after some folds, Duran called in late position to put his opponent at risk. His opponent was drawing to three immediate outs, as he held A♣Q♠ to Duran's Q♦Q♥. After the Q♣4♠2♣ flop, the short stack was more or less drawing dead and his elimination was confirmed after the T♦ fell on the turn.

Duran stacked up his newly won chips and moved just over the 50,000 chip mark and in the very next hand, Carlos Tirado's K♣K♠ sent another short stack out. That player held another big ace, A♦T♣ to be exact, and even though he paired his low card on the flop, he wasn't able to find the necessary outs on the turn or river to stay alive.

Tirado moved over the 40,000 chip mark after that knockout and now, with just over 110 players currently remaining, he and Duran are hoping to continue to chip up over the final two hours of play. --WOC

10:20pm: Bielskis off with Horno's chips
Level 9 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Picking up the action on the turn, Daniela Horno fired out a bet of 8,000 into a 12,000 pot with the board showing 3♠Q♣T♦4♣. Andrius Bielskis made the call, and was the only other play in the hand.

The river came the A♥, and Horno quickly put out 13,000. Bielskis, almost in competition, made a super-quick call. Horno turned over K♥K♣ with a sigh, as she'd been struck by the Barry Greenstein - aka an ace on the river - which paired Bielskis' A♠J♦. Horno is down to 43,500, while Bielskis moves up to around 60,000. --JS

10:10pm: Duran kisses and tells
Level 9 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Juan Carlos "One Time!" Duran is up to his usual antics. We just caught him smooching/kissing/puckering up to his hole cards after he'd won a decent-sized pot, and he was doing so for so long that the floor had to ask him to give his cards back to the dealer.

Duran didn't exactly kiss and tell, but as he was mid-kiss I caught a glimpse of his holding. As none of the other players did, though, I cannot reveal it. That secret dies with me. --JS

10:04pm: Back in business
Level 9 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

The blinds have been raised and the players are back in their seats for the beginning of Level 9, the penultimate hour of the day. --JS

9:45pm: Fernando Reines leads at last break of the night
Level 8 - Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

The players have gone on their last break of Day 1A, and right now our chipleader is Chile's own Fernando Reines, who won that huge pot with Oscar Alache that you can read below. Here are all the notable stacks:

NameCountryChips
Fernando ReinesChile130000
Sebastian RuizChile92000
Mauritio CottinChile85000
Lucas TabarinBrazil74000
Damian SalasArgentina72000
Andrius BielskisLithuania53000
Fabian ChauriyeChile38000
Mauricio Zeman Chile35500
Daniela HornoChile33000
Bruno PolitanoBrazil25000
Nicolas FierroChile22000

We've got two more levels of play, so don't go anywhere. Back in five. --JS

fernando_reines_laptchile.jpg

Fernando Reines - chip leader at the final break

9:33pm: Oscar Aleche eliminated in massive pot
Level 8 - Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

We've just lost defending champ Oscar Aleche from the Main Event - at least for today anyway.

We missed the action up until the river, but it looked like Aleche had bet, Fernando Reines had shoved, and Alecha called. The board was the 7♠6♦K♦7♣6♠ and Reines turned over A♥A♦ - that forced Aleche to muck with a sigh, and hand all of his remaining chips over to his fellow Chilean.

I spoke with Oscar afterwards, and he told me he was certain to play again tomorrow and try once again to defend his title.

Meanwhile, Fernando Reines is your new chip leader with 130,000. --JS

9:20pm: Nicholas Ferro - notice the missing "i" - forces a disciplined fold
Level 8 - Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

Nicholas Fierro is one of the most well known Chilean poker players and rightfully so, as we've touched on his over $6,000,000 in career live and online tournament winnings a few times throughout this Day 1A session. He's still alive but a lesser known player, with virtually the same name is making waves on Table 8.

Nicholas Ferro just moved all-in on the flop in a massive pot, with his shove forcing a very disciplined fold from Damian Salas. That action was picked up on a board of 8♣6♣3♠ with Salas and Ferro involved in a battle of the blinds, with the former checking to Ferro, who bet 2,200.

Salas then check-raised to 5,100 and after some thought, Ferro re-raised, moving all-in for just over 46,000. It was a massive shove and Salas, who had just over 65,000 in front of him, quickly asked the dealer for a count. It was a sizable portion of his stack to call and after steadily climbing over the last few levels, the Argentinian didn't want to commit that many big blinds with a hand that he was unsure of.

After he mucked, he admitted to the table that he held "doble par" and we luckily didn't have to take our English to Spanish dictionary out to understand that one. Salas understands deep runs in tournament poker though and we imagine that a majority of this, or any field, wouldn't be disciplined enough to make that fold.

Salas did and is now still playing over 100 big blinds. Ferro is as well and while he may not have the tournament pedigree as his similarly named online wizard just one table away, he finds himself working an over 50,000 chip stack heading towards over midway point of Level 8. --WOC

9:10pm: Set gets weaker, Rodrigo Strong strengthens stack
Level 8 - Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

When you flop a set, put in a raise, and then get called on a draw heavy board, you hope that that draw then doesn't come in on the turn. When it does, players usually slow down but Rodrigo Strong just seemed to know exactly where he was at and put in a value-raise on the river to pick up a nice addition to his growing stack.

Action was picked up on a J♦5♦2♣ flop, with Jorge Mago leading from the blinds for 1,300. Strong, who was in middle position, then raised to 4,000 and after some thought, Mago called to see the 8♦ complete a potential flush draw. Both players quickly checked and after the A♠ completed the board, Mago again led, attempting to potentially represent that completed draw on the turn.

Strong put his head in his hands, visibly thinking through a tough decision. He counted out his stack a few times and eventually, instead of throwing out the chips for a call, elected to raise for a second time in the the hand, throwing out two 5,000 value blue chips. Suddenly, Mago was faced with a decision for a sizable portion of his stack and after close to a minute of thought, he called, something that Strong didn't look like he wanted to see.

The Brazilian tabled 5♦5♣ and both players seemed surprised the other didn't have a flush, with Mago tapping the table and sliding his hand into the muck after seeing the set across from him. Strong breathed a sigh of relief and when the dust settled, he was playing just over 55,000, while Mago is left with just over starting. --WOC

8:52pm: Level 8 awaits
Level 8 - Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

We're now seven minutes into Level 8 - the blinds are now 300/600 with a 100 ante.

Players will take a short break at the end of this level, then come back for two more before play ends for the night. --JS

8:45pm: Rojas turns set, sends opponent on early break
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

There isn't a break at the end of Level 7 but Patricio Rojas just sent a player on an early smoke break, after Rojas turned trips in a clash of big stacked players on Table 15. Action was picked up with Rojas opening to 1,000 and after a player on the button, the smoker in question, called, the blinds did the same to send four players to the flop.

The blinds and Rojas checked the 9♥5♣2♠ flop but the player on the button didn't take a free card, instead betting 2,400. The blinds folded and Rojas called to see the 3♦ fall on the turn. He then took the betting lead back, pushing out 4,700 and his opponent quickly called to see the A♣ put four to a flush on board.

Rojas reverted back to his flop play, electing to check to his in position opponent. After he tapped the table, his opponent cut out a decent portion of his stack, eventually sliding out 13,500. Rojas slid off his headphones and began to walk himself through the hand and after close to two minutes of thought, he called and saw that his decision was the correct one.

His opponent turned over 8♥8♠ and Rojas countered with 3♠3♥, likely disappointed that he didn't get more value from his turned straight. After four to a straight came in on the river though, he was just happy to take the pot by picking off a nearly well-timed bluff. A few hands later, Rojas' opponent was taking his earlybreak, going through his bag and bolting out of the tournament area to try to regain his thoughts after losing a sizable portion of his stack.

Both players started the hand near the 60,000 chip count and Rojas is now playing just shy of the century mark heading into the final few moments of Level 7. --WOC

8:38pm: Chauriye does it quietly; Leon says it proudly
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

We haven't heard much from Fabian Chauriye today, but the man who had a deep run in January's PCA Main Event is quietly getting it done in Chile too. He's up to around 40,000 - however, we just him lose a small pot.

It started with a limp from the player under the gun (we'll get to his name later). It folded around to Agentina's Martin Wagner who bumped it up to 1,750, and got callers in both Chauriye (small blind) and the UTG player.

The flop fell 4♥A♠3♠ and both Chauriye and the other player checked back to Wagner. He counted out a bet of 2,600 and slid it across the line, which Chauriye called. Now, however, the so-far-nameless player made it 5,200 to see the turn. Both players folded and he raked it in.

"¿Cómo Te Llamas?" I asked him afterwards in my terrible Spanish accent, subtley handing him my notepad and pen so he could write down his name so I didn't have to guess the spelling.

"LEON," he said proudly. Just Leon. He wrote it down for me too.

Leon now has 47,000, Chauriye has the aforementioned 40,000, and Wagner has roughly 40,000 too. --JS


fabian_chauriye_laptchile_d1a.jpg

Fabian Chauriye

8:30pm: All the action on Table 13; Chavez coming on strong
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Since the dinner break, Table 13 has been at the center of the action. Sebastian Ruiz scored a massive knockout and has since moved over the 100,000 chip mark, becoming the first player to eclipse six-figures and after taking down a relatively smaller pot, Rodrigo Chavez is hot on his tail.

Chavez opened the level taking a decent portion of dinner break chip leader Andrius Bielskis' stack and now finds himself trending near 70,000 after winning a four-bet pot against Felipe Barakey. That hand was picked up pre-flop with a player opening in middle position and after some folds, Chavez three-bet to 4,550.

Next to act, Barakey four-bet to 10,500, forcing a fold from the opener and picking up a caller in Chavez. Both players quickly checked the A♣T♣T♦ flop and after the 7♦ fell on the turn, Chavez turned his head to attempt to get a read on his baby-faced opponent. Barakey, who looks young enough to be many of his table mate's child, didn't give much up but Chavez pushed out a bet of 7,000.

Barakey snap folded and Chavez showed Q♣Q♦, clearly fearless of the ace on board after his opponent checked back the flop. He's now the most recent climber from what looks to be a stacked Table 13 lineup, one that could continue to provide some sizable pots over the final few levels of this Day 1A flight. --WOC

8:15pm: The most exciting poker update ever
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Wow, you fell for that, huh?

Play seems to have hit a bit of a lull right now - perhaps because the players are still lethargic from dinner. But here are a few things to tell you:

1. We're sad to report that Renata Teixeira has busted this event, so there will be no back-to-back duels between last year's runner up and reigning champ Oscar Alache (unless she plays tomorrow of course).

2. There are now 157 players remaining.

3. And finally: one of the players - and I won't name any names (because I don't know it) - has a phone that will not. Stop. Ringing. It's the annoying standard iPhone ring too. And instead of answering it, he or she always seems to be away from the table.

C'mon guys, be a bit more courteous to us humble bloggers please? --JS

8:05pm: Kuzanovich kills Kawauti right after dinner
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Bruno Kawauti returned from the dinner break with just over a 20,000 chip starting stack but here we are - just a few minutes into Level 7 - and he'll now need to wait until tomorrow to punch his ticket to Day 2. That's because his over pair couldn't hold against Paolo Kuzanovich's flopped pair and flush draw.

On a board of 6♥5♦4♦, Kawauti bet 2,500 from middle position and Kuzanovich, who was on the button, put in a raise to 6,200. The Brazilian then went into the tank and after a minute, moved his entire stack across the line. Kuzanovich snap called and after Kawauti tabled 7♦7♥, he turned over J♦6♦.

Kawauti was currently ahead but he'd need to fade the turn and river to stay alive, as his opponent had him slightly covered. He didn't even make it to the river, as the A♦ turned him dead and confirmed his Day 1A elimination. After the T♥ completed the board, Kuzanovich was pushed the pot and he isn't going anywhere, as he's now playing the better part of 47,000. --WOC

7:58pm: It's official
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

We've just had word that the official total number of entries for Day 1A is 258 players. --JS

laptchile_dinner2.jpg

7:54pm: Ruiz felts Morales
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Small four-bets usually mean one thing - a very strong hand or absolute air. When Sebastian Ruiz did it just now, it was heavily weighted on the former.

With the board showing the 3♥T♠5♥ flop, Ruiz had put out a bet of 3,100 and Ivan Morales had a decision to make. He decided that three-betting to 7,400 was the right move, and then the action was back on Ruiz.

He thought for a while, and asked Morales to move his arms so he could get a better look at his chips. He had 14,600 behind, and Ruiz clearly wanted more of them. He put out a four-bet of 11,700 - only 4,300 more. Morales now decided he'd five-bet jam for his remaining chips and Ruiz snap-called.

Sebastian Ruiz K♥K♠
Ivan Morales 8♥8♦

Ruiz had got Morales to commit with a worse pair, and the 2♦ turn and 2♣ river were no help to him. Ruiz now has around 75,000. --JS

7:45pm: We're baaaaaack
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

The players are now back in their seats, ready to play out the final four levels of Day 1A. It's been confirmed that 252 players paid $1,500 to play today, and right now 185 have returned from the dinner break.

Make sure you stick around; the action is sure to heat up as the blinds get bigger and players strive to take a big stack into Day 2. --JS

6:45pm: Andrius Bielskis biggest on dinner

This Day 1A flight is now 15 minutes into their 75-minute dinner break, and when this group returns from that break the remaining 185 or so players will all be looking up at Andruis Bielskis. The Lithuanian was featured earlier, after his pocket aces won him a sizable pot, and it looks like Bielskis has continued to climb after a table change.

He's now taking 78,000 into the dinner break and while he may be far away from home, Bielskis could be turning his first Chilean tournament experience into a deep one if he's able to continue to build on the other side of dinner. A few other big stacks from around the room include Lucas Tabarin, defending LAPT Chile champion Oscar Alache and Fransisco Rocha. We'll be back in exactly one hour. --WOC

6:31pm: Winner winner - this lot made it to dinner

It's dinner time here, and the players are off for a 75 minute break. It's Lithuania's Andrius Bielskis who is currently out in front, but here are some of the other notable stacks in the room:

NameCountryChips
Andrius BielskisLithuania78000
Lucas TabarinBrazil74000
Oscar AlacheChile70000
Fransisco RochaChile59000
Juan Carlos DuranChile58000
Eder MurataBrazil57000
Damian SalasArgentina52000
Bruno PolitanoBrazil37000
Mauricio Zeman Chile37000
Nicolas FierroChile34000
Fabian ChauriyeChile34000
Daniela HornoChile33000
Richard DubiniArgentina32000
Pablo ChacraArgentina16000
Renata TeixeiraBrazil10500
Mario LopezArgentina6000

6:15pm: Fun and games in Chile
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

This might be the most relaxed and fun poker tournament I've ever witnessed outside of a friend's living room. Players are sharing jokes, talking to each other, and actually allowing themselves to show human emotion - something that's sadly becoming rarer at the live felt.

I was watching a hand play out between LAPT Player of the Year Oscar Alache and Hua He, in which both guys were making each other laugh as they played. Meanwhile, my colleague Will comes over to tell me he's just witnessed similar levels of silliness. See, it's all fun and games here in Viña del Mar.

Anyway, to the hand. Alache opened to 1,000 and He (Hua He, that is) bumped it up to 2,600 from the small blind. Alache made the call and the 4♣9♠5♣ flop was dealt. He led for 2,400, Alache called once more, and we went to the turn.

It was the T♣ and both players checked, but there would be no checking on the 6♣ river. He quickly fired out 3,000 and Alache took his time but eventually called. Both players were talking while I waited to see the hands (my Spanish isn't the best), but I could guess that He had asked Alache if he had a club - there were four our there, after all. When Alache shook his head, He turned over the A♦A♥ and the rockets were good enough to win. He now has around 25,000, while Alache has roughly 50,000. --JS


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6:05pm: Sebastian Ruiz puts Barakey in tough spot
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

They may not be chip leaders but Sebastian Ruiz and Felipe Barakey just tangled in a sizable pot; one that Ruiz won without having to go to showdown after he shoved the turn on a scary board. The hand was picked up with Barakey opening from early position and after some folds, Ruiz three-bet to 2,800 from the hijack.

The table folded back around to Barakey, who then four-bet to 7,150. Ruiz, who had just over 32,000 left behind, called and then was given the betting lead after Barakey checked the K♠J♠5♠ flop. Ruiz quickly bet 6,200 and after a minute of thought, Barakey called and saw the 4♣ fall on the turn.

He checked again and after some quick thinking, Ruiz put his opponent to a decision for his entire stack. Ruiz moved all-in and the effective amount was Barakey's 17,400. It was a tough spot to be in and the way Barakey checked and re-checked his cards, we imagine he laid down a very big hand when he eventually did fold.

He'd tap the table and concede a decent portion of his stack to Ruiz, pushing the Chilean up and over the 50,000 chip mark midway through Level 6. Sebastian Ruiz has 52,100, while 
Felipe Barakey has 17,400. --WOC

5:55pm: More Ortiz please
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

It's with a heavy heart that we report that Fabian Ortiz has been eliminated. The two-time LAPT champ could only last five levels on Day 1A, and unless he buys back in within the next 30 minutes he'll have to wait until Day 1B tomorrow to re-enter. Hopefully we see him again.

That leaves Oscar Alache and Mario Lopez as the only representatives of the 'two-time LAPT champ' club left in the field. Where you at, Jose Barbero? --JS

5:45pm: Bielskis' bullets cut down Comesana
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

While there are a handful of big stacks across the tournament area, there are very few instances of those big stacks playing pots together. For a brief moment, two over 50,000 chip stacks were together at Table 9 and they tangled in a pot that potentially may have moved Andrius Bielskis near the top of the leaderboard.

That action was caught on the Q♥T♥6♣ flop, with two players checking from the blinds and Bielskis checking in middle position. Nestor Comesana was next to act and he put out a bet of 1,300. Both blinds called before Bielskis check-raised to 3,600. Comesana called and the blinds got out of the way to send just two players to the turn.

The 9♠ fell and Bielskis continued his line, firing out 4,100. Comesana quickly called and then both players almost immediately checked the 6♠ river. Bielskis then turned over A♠A♣ and his bullets were good enough to win the pot, as Comesana cringed and mucked his hand.

It looked for a moment that we'd get to see these two at the same table for the next few levels but two hands later, Bielskis was racking his chips and heading to Table 13, where the Lithuanian will try to continue to build his stack prior to the dinner break. --WOC

5:35pm: Otazo ousted by Politano then Salas
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Before the end of the last level, we caught the end of Leonel Otazo's tournament run.

His downfall started in a hand against Bruno Politano. With 5,000 in the middle and the board showing 7♠4♥7♦, Otazo led for 2,400 and Politano made the call. The Brazilian has a certain way of throwing his chips in the middle - he makes a grand gesture; it's quite dramatic.

Anyway, we went to the 3♦ turn and Otazo fired again, this time for 3,300. We had another dramatic call from Politano and saw the T♣ hit the river. Now the bet was 6,600, but Politano shoved for around 22,000 total. He got Otazo to fold, but we decided to stick around and see what happened next.

Well, Otazo got eliminated - that's what. It started with an open to 700 from Damian Salas, which got calls from both Politano and Otazo (in the small blind), plus another couple of players. The flop came T♥6♠3♦ and it checked all the way around. The turn was the 9♠ and now Otazo put out a 1,000 chip. Salas was the only caller, so they were heads-up by the time we reached the 8♣ river. Otazo checked with just 4,600 behind, and Salas wasted no time in moving a large stack of yellow chips in. It was a decision for Otazo's tournament and he made it - incorrectly, it turned out.

Otazo had rivered two pair with the 8♥9♥, but Salas had gone one better by rivering a straight with his Q♣J♣. Clearly disappointed, Otazo still smiled as left the tournament area. --JS

5:30pm: Blinds up again
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Both the blinds and the antes have risen again as we enter level 6 - the last before dinner. --JS

5:15pm: Chenaud chips away at Rocha then chows down
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

We're just under an hour and a half from the Day 1A dinner break but, as you could imagine, some players are electing to start their supper a little early. Guilherme Chenaud just got a 'mayo sandwich' delivered to him by a table-side waiter but unfortunately for "Gustavo", he had to wait until Chenaud was done playing a pot against one of the chip leaders, Fransisco Rocha.

Action was picked up with three players seeing a flop of T♦7♠2♣ and Rocha checked from the small blind. Another player in middle position checked before Chenaud bet 1,350 and after Rocha called, "Gustavo" almost interrupted the action. The Brazilian waved him aside, as his stare across the table was fixated on Rocha.

The two saw the Q♣ fall on the turn and after some thought, Rocha checked for a second time, only to see Chenaud bet another 2,300. Rocha quickly called and, with "Gustavo" patiently waiting, the J♦ completed the board. Rocha checked for a third time and Chenaud bet again, this time throwing 825 across the line.

Rocha threw a puzzled look to his opponent before he threw in a 1,000 value yellow chip to call, only to see Chenaud table J♠9♥, which was evidently good enough to win the pot. Finally, "Gustavo" was able to deliver the 'mayo sandwich' and after stacking up just over 30,000, Chenaud spent the next few hands chowing down as this field heads towards the end of Level 5. --WOC

5:05pm: Life lessons
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

Just a quick one - Bernardita Orrego (also known as Oscar Alache's mother) is out of the Main Event. She now has the option to rebuy until the end of Level 6, while her son is currently sitting second in chips.

I guess mum doesn't always know best. --JS

4:51pm: Alache moves himself among leaders
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

Coming back from the last break, just two players were over the 60,000 chip mark but Oscar Alache quickly changed that a few minutes into Level 5. The defending LAPT Chile champion flopped a flush on a board of A♦[10d]6♦2♠4♦ and after he raised his opponent's river lead to 9,000, that player moved all-in for just over 15,000 total.

Alache snap called and tabled K♦5♦, the nuts, and his opponent was left tapping the felt before sending his stack across the table to the reigning Season 8 LAPT Player of the Year. While he stacked up his nearly 64,000 chips, a player seated near Alache joked, in as many words, "That was easy."

The Chilean could only laugh and while his river call was relatively easy we imagine that his road to a third LAPT title is going to be a tough one, against a growing and experienced Day 1A field. --WOC

4:41pm: Rocha and Tabarin top coming back from break
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

Through four hours of this Day 1A flight, we've seen a few players build sizable stacks but only two players have been able to triple their 20,000 chip starting stack. Those players are situated on late registration tables on the other side of the tournament area but those late arrivals haven't stopped Fransisco Rocha and Lucas Tabarin from quickly climbing the leaderboard.

Rocha is playing just over 60,000 and will be looking to improve on his career best LAPT finish from Season 8 in his home country. The Chilean finished 4th in Panama in May of last year and could very well be en route to another final table if he's able to continue to build through the rest of this Day 1A session.

That entire flight is looking up at Lucas Tabarin though, as the Brazilian won a massive pot against Richard Dubini to end Level 4 with just over 66,000. Tabarin has never recorded a LAPT score but that could change this weekend, as he's currently leading heading towards the midway point of this opening starting flight. --WOC


lucas_tavarin_laptchile_d1a.jpg

Lucas Tabarin leads the pack

4:31pm: Back in action
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

The field is back in the room, so to speak. They'll play two more levels then take a 75-minute dinner break. --JS

4:20pm: Break counts

Here are a few counts from the end of the second break:

NameCountryChips
Nicolas FierroChile50000
Juan Carlos DuranChile48700
Oscar AlacheChile42000
Damian SalasArgentina38000
Richard DubiniArgentina26000
Fabian ChauriyeChile25200
Renata TeixeiraBrazil25000
Patricio GonzalezChile24000
Daniela HornoChile22500
Fernando GordoArgentina21000
Bernadita OrregoChile20000
Bruno PolitanoBrazil17500
Fabian OrtizArgentina14000
Rodrigo DelgadoChile14000
Frederico VolpeBrazil14000
Mauricio Zeman Chile14000
Mario LopezArgentina12500
Pablo ChacraArgentina8000

4:15pm: Hit the breaks

The players have gone on a 15 minute break. We'll be back with an update of the notable chip stacks shortly. --JS

3:55pm: Speedy Gonzalez
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

After Chilean Patricio Gonzalez opened to 500, he got three callers and the four players saw the 9♣4♥5♦ flop. Rodrigo Delgado was the first to act; he checked and let Gonzalez fire out a c-bet of 1,000. It folded to Brazil's Frederico Volpe who tossed in the call, but now Delgado check-raised it up to 2,200. Both players called and we went to the turn.

It came the 3♥ and Delgado went back to checking. Gonzalez made a fast bet of 3,600 and Volpe called once more - however, it was too much for Delgado who gave it up.

The river was the T♦ and Gonzalez quickly shoved his remaining 9,000 into the middle. Volpe sighed, put his head in his hands, and made a reluctant fold. He's down to 17,000 now, while Delgado has 19,000 and Gonzalez moves up to 25,000. --JS

3:35pm: Nicolas 'PKaiser' Fierro flops it, gets value on river
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

There are a handful of experienced tournament professionals in this Day 1A field but in terms of PokerStars online tournament earnings, there might not be a more seasoned player than Nicolas 'PKaiser' Fierro. The Chilean has over $4,500,000 in online results on PokerStars, along with over $1,700,000 in live tournament earnings.

That live number saw a massive uptick at the end of last year, as Fierro recorded a career best $620,000 score and his first major tournament win at the Gran Final Millionaria at Enjoy Conrad in Argentina. His stack has also seen a massive uptick since the last break, as Fierro is now playing what looks to be the biggest stack in the room. He just flopped a straight and got some serious value from Pablo Chaura on a board of J♣9♠8♥4♦7♦.

Fierro checked the river and Chaura bet 1,500, only to see his opponent click it back after close to two minutes of thought. The check-raise weighed in at 7,000 and after a quick count of his own stack, Chaura called only to see Fierro turn over Q♥T♥. The Argentinian pro tapped the table and he's now working just over half a starting stack after running into the nuts.

Chaura has 12,400, while Fierro has 53,000 and potentially the chip lead. --WOC


nicolas_fierro_laptchile_d1a.jpg

Nicolas 'PKaiser' Fierro

3:15pm: Blinds are up - it's ante time
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

It's that time you've all been waiting for - the antes have arrived. We've moved into level 4 and the blinds are still 100/200, but with an additional 25 chip thrown in for good measure. --JS

3:10pm: Lopez leaves Giorgio guessing after river shove
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200

After a slow-paced flop and turn, action exploded on the river to build one of the bigger pots we've seen throughout the first three levels of this Day 1A session. Action was picked up on Table 10 with the board showing A♥J♥9♠A♠5♥. Mario Lopez (and no - it's not the Mario Lopez of Saved By The Bell fame - it's the two-time LAPT champ --JS) led for 3,500 from middle position and Viccenzo Giorgio, who was on the button, then clicked it back to 7,200.

That raise was quickly an afterthought because Lopez almost immediately re-raised, moving all-in for just over 17,500. Giorgio got an official count from the dealer and, with just over 25,000 in front of him, he was playing for a sizable portion of his own stack. After talking to himself about the hand for close to two minutes, he eventually folded, only to be left guessing by Lopez.

Lopez didn't show, instead pushing his hand towards the muck while the dealer pushed him a sizable pot that moves Lopez over the 40,000 chip mark. We imagine that stack is going to continue to trend upwards for Lopez, as the Argentinian finished 2015 with some massive wins.

The first came in August, when Lopez won the EPT12 Estrellas Main Event at Barcelona for $450,000. The second came a month later, as Lopez claimed his first LAPT title in Uruguay before heading back to Europe to notch a runner-up finish at the World Series of Poker's October series in Germany. Lopez won his first LAPT title at this very stop back in 2014.

Safe to say, Lopez is coming into the new year looking to replicate that success, and as one of the most experienced players in today's field he's doing just that thus far. --WOC


mario_lopez_laptchile_d1a.jpg

Two-time LAPT champ Mario Lopez

2:55pm: Salas takes a hit; Soto getting stronger
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200

It's all been smooth sailing for Damian Salas so far here at LAPT9 Chile, but I think I just caught his first bump in the road. The beneficiary? Cesar Soto.

With the board showing the 6♦8♥4♦ flop and with 2,100 in the pot, Soto bet 1,200 and Salas 9his only opponent) made the call. The turn was the T♥ and both checked, leading to the J♣ river. Soto thought for a while before putting out a bet of 2,600. Salas took a good look at Soto's remaining stack - 5,200 - but opted not to put him all-in; instead he made something of a reluctant call.

He'll be glad he did just call though, as Soto turned over 9♦7♦ for a turned straight. He's up to 12,500 while Salas has slipped a little to 37,200. --JS

2:45pm: Varela puts Dubini to the test
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200

Richard Dubini is one of Argentina's most successful tournament professionals, with just shy of $800,000 in career earnings. However, you wouldn't know it if you asked Sergio Varela, because the Chilean amateur just put Dubini to the test on a very coordinated board.

In a blind versus blind encounter, both players checked the Q♠T♥5♣ flop and after Varela checked the J♣ turn, the dealer thought that Dubini had done the same. He didn't though, waving to the dealer right before she burned the next card. No harm, no foul, as play proceeded with Dubini betting 4,000.

Varela, who had just over 10,000 behind, called and after the T♣ completed the board, he instantly moved all-in for his final 6,200. Dubini looked like he wished he'd let the river fall for free and after close to a minute and a half in the tank, pushed his cards over the line to concede the pot to his short-stacked opponent.

Both players are now working near a starting stack midway through Level 3. --WOC

2:35pm: A family that plays together, stays together
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200

We've just caught wind that LAPT Player of the Year Oscar Alache's mother Bernardita Orrego is in the field today. My esteemed colleague and photographer Carlos Monti has informed me that he's never seen her play at these events before, but perhaps this is the start of a promising poker career. If she plays like her son, you can bet on it. --JS


alache_mum_LAPTchile.jpg

Bernardita Orrego - aka Oscar Alache's mum

2:25pm: Fuentes fades combo draw to score knockout
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200

In one of the first hands after the break, we've seen another elimination after Nicholas Fuentes and a short-stacked player got tangled on a very draw-heavy board. Action was picked up with a player opening to 500, and after another player made the call from late position Fuentes three-bet to 1,525 from the small blind.

The opener called and the pre-flop caller got out of the way to send just two players to the J♥8♠3♠ flop. Fuentes led for 2,200 and then snap-called when his opponent moved all-in for just over 9,000. Fuentes held A♠J♦ for top pair and he'd need to hold to score the knockout, as his opponent turned over J♠9♠ for top pair and a flush draw.

The 7♣ fell on the turn, giving Fuentes' opponent even more outs but he eventually did hold, as the A♦ completed the board and sent the short stack packing. It was a relatively small elimination but one that moves Fuentes up the current leaderboard with 32,500 heading into the better part of Level 3. --WOC

2:15pm: ...AND they're back
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200

The room is alive with the sound of ruffling chips once more as the players have returned to their seats. --JS

2:12pm: Chip counts
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200

Here's a look at the room's notable stacks:

NameCountryChips
Juan Carlos DuranChile48700
Damian SalasArgentina48000
Nicolas FierroChile37000
Oscar AlacheChile35000
Fabian OrtizArgentina27200
Fabian ChauriyeChile25000
Renata TeixeiraBrazil23000
Fernando GordoArgentina21000
Pablo ChacraArgentina19200
Daniela HornoChile17500
Bruno PolitanoBrazil17500
Mauricio Zeman Chile16400

2pm: Break time

Players have gone on a 15 minute break. When they return, the blinds will be 100/200. --JS

1:50pm: "One time!" doubles Juan Carlos Duran
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

While the pre flop action was missed, the excitement and cheers from Juan Carlos Duran after he flopped his opponent dead was not. The action was picked up with the cards on their backs; Duran's A♣Q♣ tabled in front of his empty seat, while his opponent - packing his belongings - flicked his A♠K♥ towards the muck.

Ace-king was flopped dead, as the chips got in the middle pre-flop before Duran hit a nut flush on the T♣5♣4♣9♠T♠ run-out. The reason Duran's cards were in front of his empty seat? He was halfway across the tournament area, hugging a friend while they each shouted, "One time! One time!"

That one time looks like it has shot Duran up the early Day 1A leaderboard and after the celebration ended, he returned to stack up just shy of 50,000. That late Level 2 double could mean the Chilean will enter the first break of the day with biggest stack in the room, with an update of big and notable counts coming shortly. -- WOC

1:40pm: We have our first elimination
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

It took an hour and 40 minutes of play for us to lose our first player here in Chile, and the departed man's name is Francisco Barraza.

He opened to 450 pre-flop and found one caller in Damian Salas in the big blind. The flop came 4♥8♥T♣ and Salas checked it to the raiser, who now made it 1,000 to go. Salas then check-raised it up to 2,800 and Barraza went nowhere.

To the turn we went. It came the 4♦, pairing the board, and now Salas led for 3,200. Barraza insta-called and the dealer put out the 5♣ river. Salas bet 6,200 and Barraza shoved immediately for his remaining 16,000. Salas wasted no time in calling but waited for the all-in player to reveal his hand.

It was the K♦8♦ - and Barraza's eights and fours weren't enough to beat Salas' Q♠Q♣ for a bigger two pair. Salas has around 50,000 now. --JS


damian_salas_LAPTChile_d1a.jpg

A strong start for Damian Salas

1:30pm: Worth the wait for Damian Salas
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Earlier, we mentioned how Bruno Politano was adding some action to Table 8 and he isn't the only player off to a quick start in this Day 1A session. Argentina's Damian Salas is also trending upwards, after doubling through Leonel Otazo in a well thought-out and well drawn-out encounter.

Action was picked up with Salas opening to 300 from middle position and after a player called in late position, another came along from the small blind. Otazo was in the big blind and he put in a three-bet to 1,350. After close to a minute of thought, Salas called and the small blind did the same, bookending a fold from the player in late position.

Three players saw the T♠8♦7♠ flop and after the player in the small blind passed, Otazo continued for 2,500. Salas again went into the tank, cutting down his nearly 13,000 chip stack a few times and keeping his stare, blocked by his stylish aviators, fixated on the board. Eventually, he called and the player in the small blind quickly got out of the way.

The 2♥ fell on the turn and this time, it was Otazo's turn to go into the tank. He had just under a full 20,000 chip starting stack in front of him and after two minutes of thought, the Chilean quietly put his bigger denomination chips forward to put Salas all-in. While there was long breaks in the action on the flop and turn, Salas' call was almost instantaneous, as he quickly splashed chips forward and then tabled T♣8♣.

Otazo turned over Q♥Q♠ and he'd need some help on the river to score the knockout. Help didn't come though, as the 6♣ bricked out and confirmed Salas' double. While the Argentinian stacked up his chips, still behind those fashionable aviators, Otazo could only shake his head, with his orange-tinted Oakleys covering the pain of a big loss for his big pocket pair. -- WOC

1:10pm: Ortiz in the building
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

We've just spotted two-time LAPT champ Fabian Ortiz in the field, still relatively fresh from a very deep run at the PCA in January (he finished 17th for $36,860).

The Argentine is currently in the race with Oscar Alache, Jose Barbero, and Mario Lopez to become the first player to win three LAPT titles. How will he fare? Stick around and find out. --JS

1pm: Taking it to another level
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

We've moved into Level 2 of today's action. Players will take their first break of the day at the end of this one. --JS

12:55pm: Lights, cameras, early action for Bruno Politano
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

A majority of players that we'll feature throughout this Day 1A session may be more well known in LAPT and South American poker circles, but Bruno Politano is the exception to that rule. Politano was the first Brazilian player to ever make the World Series of Poker Main Event final table and turned that 2014 'November Nine' appearance in to a nearly $950,000 score.

Politano's WSOP run was about much more than just poker, as his energetic, loud, sometimes crazy rail of supporters was one of the main focus of ESPN's coverage in the lead up to that final table. The ESPN cameras are on site at Vina del Mar for what should be another huge LAPT event and they were there to see Politano take his seat at Table 8 in the dying moments of Level 1.

The Brazilian opened his Day 1A session by taking down three consecutive pots, slightly increasing his stack and announcing himself to the table, as if the ESPN camera crew didn't do that already. In between hands, the always charismatic and friendly Politano posed with his stack for a 'selfie' but now, heading into Level 2, the sunglasses are on and the Brazilian looks like he's all business. --WOC

12:50pm: Familiar faces
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Looks like we've got ourselves a rather stacked field today. After a walk around the room (courtesy of our colleague Reinaldo Venegas) we managed to spot several familiar faces.

Former November Niner Bruno Politano is here, as is online beast Nicolas 'PKaiser' Fierro - a man with almost $4.5 million in PokerStars online winnings. Fabian Chauriye is in the action looking to better his deep run at the PCA, and joining him are Daniela Horno, Fernando Gordo, and Mauricio Zeman. --JS

12:40pm: Giorgio calls the river, then takes one
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Early level play usually involves small pots and quick decisions but don't tell that to Viccenzo Giorgio and Mauricio Aguilar, who just got involved in a sizable pot on Table 10. Action was picked up with three players seeing a flop of Q♠7♣6♥, with Aguilar checking from the blinds.

Giorgio, on the button, put out a bet of 600. Aguilar then clicked it back with a check-raise to 1,500, forcing a fold from the middle position player and picking up a call from Giorgio who wasn't going away quietly. The Q♦ fell on the turn and the action slowed, with both players quickly passing to see the A♥ complete the board.

Aguilar quickly made a move towards his stack and bet 3,500, a sizable bet at this stage of the tournament. Giorgio's face said it all, as he seemed to hate the bet and the spot he was in on the river. After shooting Aguilar a few looks and talking himself through the hand for close to two minutes, Giorgio called, to see that his decision-making process led to a correct call.

The out-of-position Aguilar tabled 4♣4♠ and Giorgio's hand was good, as he turned over A♦K♥ for a rivered top pair. The dealer mucked Aguilar's cards and pushed Giorgio the pot, or at least pushed it towards his seat. After the hand, the victor quickly stood and stepped away from the table to receive a quick phone call.

He eventually returned to the table to stack his newly won chips and after making a great river call and receiving one on his cell phone, Viccenzo Giorgio is off to a hot start here in Day 1A. --WOC

12:20pm: Top two from Season 8 headline early crowd
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

While this early Day 1A crowd is full of unfamiliar faces, two of the big names from Season 8's Latin American Poker Tour stop in Chile are headlining the action. Oscar Alache, who claimed his second LAPT title last year, returns to not only defend his title but also attempt to write his name into the LAPT record books.

A back-to-back win and third overall LAPT title would do just that. The Chilean has already started 2016 with some solid results, including two final table appearances at January's PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. He ended January with another final table run and will be walking away with hardware regardless of his LAPT9 Chile finish this weekend (he's being presented with the LAPT8 Player of the Year title). He's the player to watch over the next few days.


Oscar_Alache_LAPT9CHILE_D1A.jpg

Oscar Alache - LAPT Player of the Year

Alache isn't the only podium finisher from 2015 to make an early Day 1A appearance, as Renata Teixeira has just taken her seat at a central table. The Brazilian finished 2nd last year, good for a $113,000 score, and she'll now try to make her third career LAPT Main Event final table appearance after finishing 9th in Uruguay last September.

With past experience and immense success on the LAPT and at Vina del Mar, these two players will certainly be contenders throughout this $1,500 NL Hold'em Main Event. --WOC


Renata_Teixeira_LAPTChile_d1a.jpg

Renata Teixeira - going for the gold this year

12pm: Shuffle up and deal - vamos!
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

We're officially off and running here in Chile. The players start with 20,000 chips, and we'll be playing 10 one-hour levels today. --JS

11:30am: Who will set the bar in Viña del Mar?

Buenos días! We're here in the beautiful 'Garden City' of Viña del Mar in Chile for the Latin American Poker Tour Season 9's second stop. In a half hour's time, we'll be kicking off the festival with Day 1A of the $1,500 NL Hold'em Main Event with unlimited re-entries.

Viña del Mar has been a regular stop on the tour since Season 2 back in 2008, when Argentina's Fabián Ortiz took down the inaugural event. Last year it was Chile's own Oscar Alache who won the $131,962 first place prize and his second LAPT title, having also notched a win in Peru in Season 7. To scoop the trophy in Chile last year, Alache defeated a tough final table that also included two-time LAPT champ Jose Barbero.

So, the question is: will he try and go back-to-back, overtaking both Ortiz and Barbero to become the first player with three LAPT titles? We'll have to wait and see!

We're expecting an exciting day of play to get this Main Event going, and if other LAPT stops are anything to go by then that's exactly what we're going to get. We'll be back shortly when the players start to arrive and the cards are (almost) in the air - don't go anywhere. --JS


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PokerStars Blog Reporting Team at LAPT9 Chile: Will O'Connor and Jack Stanton. Photos by Carlos Monti. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog