LAPT9 Chile: Sergio Palma quietly leads through Day 1A

Vina del Mar, Chile welcomed the Latin American Poker Tour for the second stop of their Season 9 schedule, after the LAPT opened 2016 at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. We're now back to the continental tour of South America and if Day 1A of LAPT9 Chile was any indication, this season is going to be massive.

In total, 258 players bought into this opening starting flight and that is an over 60% increase from last year's numbers, when 155 players battled in the first Day 1 session. The PokerStars blog opened today's coverage with a player that went through last year's Day 1 session and through to the winner's circle, as Season 8 champion Oscar Alache was seated from the first minute of play.

He quickly built a sizable stack and for a few levels, it looked like Alache was trending towards a Day 1A chip lead en route to a record breaking third LAPT title. He'll have to wait until tomorrow for that storyline to play out though, as he lost a massive pot right before the final break of the night. Fernando Reines was the player that sent Alache to the rail and while he ended the night with a 123,300 stack, this entire surviving field is looking up to Sergio Palma.


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Sergio Palma now holds the clubhouse lead with 167,500.

Palma peaked late and while he was relatively under the radar, he'll likely headline the action heading into Sunday's Day 2 session as the opening flight's chip leader. He ended with 167,500 in the bag and while his tournament resume doesn't exactly scream "future LAPT champion", his play through this Day 1A flight does.

Behind Palma are players that likely began the day expecting to be at the top of the leaderboard, as some of South America's most successful and consistent players took to the felt. Damian Salas was one of them and while a handful of his countrymen fell, the Argentinian, who couldn't get himself out of the action if he tried, seemed to steadily climb. In the end, he finished with 107,200 chips, good for fifth overall.

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Brazil's Lucas Tabarin was just off the pace of chip leader Sergio Palma.

Other big stacks included Lucas Tabarin, who finished just off the pace of the Chilean leader, with 165,600. Andrius Bielskis finished over 100,000, along with Mauricio Zeman. Fabian Chauriye, fresh off a final two table run in the PCA Main Event, headlines the players right below that century mark, with 95,400. Daniela Horno was one of just two female players to find the bag, putting 73,800 for Day 2 and Bruno 'Foster' Politano rounds out the notable names from this 1A flight with 70,100. Those players might not be near the top of the leaderboard but they've at least secured themselves an off day tomorrow, while some of the bigger names that we saw throughout the day will have to try again in Day 1B.


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Defending champion Oscar Alache failed to survive this Day 1A flight but he'll be back tomorrow.

Oscar Alache is one of them and he leads a three man group that are all looking to make LAPT history this weekend. Fabian Ortiz and Mario Lopez are the other two two-time champions that failed to survive Day 1A and we imagine they'll all be back ready to fire at will come 12 PM tomorrow. Renata Teixeira, who finished 2nd in this event last year, will be joining them, after she failed to get much traction today. Chile's own Nicolas "PKaiser" Fierro also failed to advance.

In total, 90 players advanced through this first starting flight and if you want to catch up on all the Day 1A action, the PokerStars blog's live updates can be found here. That official number and those player's counts will be posted in a few hours. The PokerStars blog will be back prior to tomorrow's Day 1B flight begins at 12 PM and until then, buenas noches.

All photos by Carlos Monti.