LAPT Rio: Boa noite

The sun has vanished behind the Sugarloaf, the samba clubs in downtown Rio are full. It's the end of the first day of this LAPT event, the first day of a whole new tour. All the organisers, players and supporters deserve all the accolades coming their way.


And while so much feels new, so much is all so familiar. We've had races into the chip lead, then shooting down in flames.

We've had familiar faces vanquished, and young guns climbing to the top. The less said about Dave Hardy's elimination the better.

And now the dust is beginning to settle, we can get an idea of what's actually happened through all this bloodshed.

The chip lead seems to rest in front of either Carlos Lopez, a 30-year-old player from Lugo, Spain, and Julien Nuijten, a young player from Amsterdam, Holland.

Lopez spoke to Spanish PokerStars blogger Carles and told him of his preference for online play, his experience in the Spanish Poker Championships, and his cash at the 2006 World Series -- 102nd for $51,129, thanks very much. Lopez ends the day with more than 120,000 in chips.

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Nuijten, on the other hand, took out Humberto Brenes early in the day and never looked back. Team PokerStars Pro Noah Boeken, who is not here in Rio, also hails from Amsterdam, and these two share even more in common. Just like Boeken, Nuijten cut his teeth playing Magic: The Gathering and won the world title at the ripe old age of 15.

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The transition to the poker tables is going well so far. Nuijten is also nursing a six-figure stack.

It wasn't such a fine day in Rio for the Team PokerStars Pros. In fact, it was a stinker. Nine of the best came to Brazil with high hopes of adding an LAPT title to their glittering resumes. But they fell one by one, until only Victor Ramdin remained at the end of the day.

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The Pro from the Bronx is sitting behind 45,000 or so, and is in exceptionally high spirits.

"I'm gonna play my heart out for them tomorrow," he just chimed, coming over to media row to fill us in on a few details of his day. That included an all-in, pre-flop re-re-raise from the button against an aggressive big blind. Victor had 6-4 off suit and didn't show it, but let his reputation do the talking to force a muck.

"I folded because I saw your picture on the poster over there," said his opponent.

"My picture is on the poster because I'm crazy," Victor came back.

But while Victor was living it up, the expression on the face of Chris Moneymaker, below, speaks volumes for the other Team PokerStars Pros. He had kings cracked by jacks, for the record. One to forget.

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When we reconvene tomorrow, there will be 103 players of the original 314. The idea is to slice them down to final table of nine. We will see.

In the meantime, check out the video blogs from Rio on, including the first of a three-part interview with Gavin Griffin.

Please install Flash.

The official chp counts will be with us in due course, but our last level selected counts can be found HERE.

And take a look back on the highlights of the day from PokerStars blog with the links below.

Until tomorrow, boa noite.

Pros back against the wall
Crude and sick: Dave Hardy departs
Dave Hardy: A different kind of off-shore posting
Griffin on the rise
Ups and downs and outs
Tony Nikaj: Coping with the unexpected
Ones to watch in Rio
Shuffling and dealing