LAPT Punta del Este: Chips and chairs

Before clichés become clichés, they are usually astute truisms and while their repetition can become infuriating it doesn't reduce the accuracy. Poker is something of a breeding ground for clichés -- "chip and a chair", "any two cards", "a minute to learn, a lifetime to master" etc, etc, -- but each of them remains as true now as the day they were coined.

As day two begins in any major tournament, the cliche that always feels especially pertinent refers to the fact that it's impossible to win a tournament on day one, but only to lose it. Paraphrased, we're saying that by busting in the early stages, you will have no chance of taking the top prize, but also that taking the early chip lead is no guarantee of even reaching the final table, let alone taking the whole thing down.

Carter Gill, a PokerStars qualifier from the United States, will no doubt be well aware of this fact. He finished day one with 125,150 in chips, second in the overall standings, but first among the army of qualifiers making a splash in Punta del Este.


And it's a position he's been in before. Back in December 2007, Gill was chip leader in the APPT event in Sydney, again as a PokerStars qualifier, and he eventually finished 28th for a $13,000 payday.

That was good, but what happened in the summer was even better. Gill came third in the $2,000 no limit hold 'em event at the World Series, good for $228,898. He followed up with another $6,000 for 23rd in a pot-limit Omaha event at the Series, so Gill is a man in good form.

Here in Uruguay, Gill is sitting two away from Firas Bassam Massouh, from Brazil, who also finished day one with more than 100,000 in chips.

Firas Bassam Massouh

The two of them have enough in their numerous stacks to fill their table-mates partly with fear, but also with anticipation. This is a game where "it only takes one hand", remember.

Greg Raymer is enjoying himself in Punta del Este. He rose through the ranks to somewhere near the chip lead yesterday, and today he's on the feature table, which is like a second home. Earlier in the first level, he had a small discussion with the television producers about the placement of his trademark Diet Coke -- "If you have it between your arms, you won't knock it over. I have never spilled a drink on the table." -- but mostly he's just concentrating on his game, which is as focused and aggressive as ever.

Yesterday, our video blog team caught up with the Team PokerStars Pro as he entered level eight with a huge stack of chips. Here's what Greg had to say:

Watch LAPT Punta del Este: Greg Raymer on

More of the video blog team's work can be found over at