LAPT Punta del Este: The stories so far

The tournament has just entered level 12, where the blinds are 1,000-2,000 (150 ante) and the field has been trimmed to the final 58 players. Fifteen of those will still go home empty handed, with the money kicking in at 32nd place.

Among the high profile departures this afternoon was Valdemar Kwaysser, the PokerStars qualifier who won in San Jose last month and who now won't become the first two-time LAPT champion. He has been joined on the rail by Alex "Assassinato" Fitzgerald, who became a victim of the player now at the top of the standings: Daniel Benjamin, from Brazil, who has more than 160,000.

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Daniel Benjamin

Benjamin began the day with just 26,225 but profited from three huge hands. First, he flopped a set of twos and busted two other pocket pairs -- tens and queens -- which were overpairs to a low board. Strike one. Then, his king-seven made a flush in a big pot against Fitzgerald, strike two, before Benjamin's aces were too strong for Assassinato's A-J. Strike three, and out.

Team PokerStars Pro remains very well represented. On the feature table, Alexandre Gomes just saw his stack swell to around 70,000 when he knocked out a button shover.

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Gomes was in the big blind, fancied his A-7 was ahead against the button-raiser's range, and called the 20,000 all in. Indeed it was -- the raiser had A-5 -- and Gomes ended up with a straight to the seven.

Greg Raymer is keeping his team-mate company under the studio lights and still has something like his starting stack of 75,000. By Raymer's own admission, he's not looking to get too cute without some decent cards at this stage of the tournament, because "once they see one bluff" it'll get a little tricky.

Vanessa Rousso is also on the up and now has close to 80,000.

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She was all-but all-in against another stack of around 25,000 but was way in front with her king-queen against king-jack. The king flopped to give both top pair, but the kicker played.

Humberto Brenes is also still clinging on, although he now has less than about 20,000. His brother Alex, meanwhile, continues to keep Humberto in the shadows and now has close to 150,000.


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Alex Brenes, background, keeping his brother Humberto, foreground, on the peripheries

Today's other story was an unfortunate one featuring the PokerStars qualifier Andrew Li. Li failed to materialise in his chair when things started up again today, and was still absent through the first two levels, as his chips were blinded away on his behalf.

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Andrew Li's chips

When Li finally surfaced -- he had been the victim of a wake-up call that never came -- he was forced to shove with the first high card he saw, but his king-high was not good enough and he was out.

More sleep for Andrew, more chips for the survivors. It's getting interesting.