LAPT Punta del Este: Bringing it to the masses
Gone are the days when a new poker tour can turn up, get through its entire first season, and not find itself at the centre of a media storm, probably ending up on TV. Although the opening two events on the LAPT both passed by without television's intervention -- our fine PokerStars.tv excepted, of course -- there has been an almighty kerfuffle going on in Punta del Este these past few hours as Fox Sport's Latin America division makes its final preparations to enter into the world of poker broadcasting.
Felt has been pinned down, ironed, and ripped up again; tiny cameras have been fitted beneath the rail. A camera now dangles precariously above the table, and the retinas of all of our eyes have been scorched with the blast of the studio lights. Taking his place on centre stage -- now that new felt has been found and ironed, the cameras have been fixed, microphones attached and lights turned up again -- is Team PokerStars Pro Humberto Brenes.
The Godfather of Latin American poker was an obvious choice, although his trademark sharks might find themselves pressed into action sooner than he'd like. Brenes has only about 10,000 in chips.
But his is not the only table under scrutiny today. Right at the start of the action, an outer table featuring the LAPT San Jose champion Valdemar Kwaysser was already surrounded by a five-pointed camera cordon, focusing their attentions on every inch of the felt. That army of machinery has been marching one step at a time around all the whole tournament arena, filming about an hour at each stopping point. They're onto their sixth or seventh mini battleground of the day, meaning we're into level seven. Nine are scheduled on this slightly shortened first day, and 183 players remain from the opening 351.
Back at that first table, Kwaysser remains with about 25,000 in chips. He's been joined, on his immediate left, by Alex "Assassinato" Fitzgerald, another online young gun with a huge reputation. Fitzgerald has a beer in hand, a suitcase full of anecdotes, and is entertaining all with his tales from the tables. But his focus is still fixed firmly on the game, and he has amassed about 30,000. The New Zealand PokerStars player James Honeybone completes a triumvirate of big-time online players tearing it up around that particular table.
Team PokerStars Pro Greg Raymer is still the tournament leader with more than 80,000 in chips. It was the Fossilman who accounted for Andre Akkari about an hour ago, the American's aces holding up against the Brazilian's queens. Raymer was smart enough to get out the way when his other Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso was all in moments later. Rousso had the aces this time, another player had kings, and Lady Maverick vaulted to about 28,000.
Earlier in the day, Rousso and Chad Brown caught up with our video blog team to talk about the tournament, the LAPT and their chances.
Watch LAPT Punta del Este: Chad and Vanessa on PokerStars.tv
The payouts for LAPT Punta del Este have been confirmed. The remaining players are chasing this much:
1 - $ 241,735
2 - $ 127,675
3 - $ 93,630
4 - $ 68,100
5 - $ 51,070
6 - $ 34,045
7 - $ 25,535
8 - $ 17,025
9 - $ 12,765
10-12 - $ 11,065
13-16 - $ 9,360
17-24 - $ 7,660
25-33 - $ 5,960