LAPT Rio: Pros back against the wall

Today has been no day to be a member of Team PokerStars Pro.

Obviously, they have been typically well looked after away from the felt and have found a long procession of supporters in the halls wanting to shake their hands and pose for photos. But it's been brutal at the tables, with seven of nine already in the bar, in their bedroom or mixing it up right now on PokerStars.

The latest to join their number was Isabelle Mercier, who raised for about a third of her short stack from under the gun, holding pocket jacks. She was set in for about 5,000 total by a player in mid-position and the call was mandatory. Her nemesis flipped ace-king and they were off to the races.

That race lasted until the turn, when the king appeared. Goodnight Isabelle.

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Sometime slightly earlier, Vanessa Rousso also slipped into the night. No one saw her go, but we're a Lady Maverick missing in the tournament room.

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That leaves, by my reckoning, Gavin Griffin and Victor Ramdin as Team PokerStars Pro's last fighters.

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And if you had to have two to go to the plate on your behalf, you could do a whole lot worse.

Update: And no sooner was it written than Gavin also hit the rail. At least he went out in spectacular fashion, finding all of his 20,000-odd stack in the middle staring at a board of Qh-6d-6c-4c-4h.

It's difficult to know what must go through a poker player's mind when someone calls a bet like that and you're forced to turn over 9d-2d for what amounts to a bluff gone somewhat awry. Bearing in mind that any card higher than a queen would be enough to take this one, his opponent's A-Q seemed excessive.

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Griffin lives by the sword and this time died by it. But we always know we'll see more of him.

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While it might be tough to be in the team, it's not necessarily so bad to be related to Team PokerStars Pro. Just ask Alex Brenes, younger brother of Humberto.

The shark himself has been floating around the tournament area all day today, despite his relatively early bust out. The reason is his support of his brother, and he has watched Alex climb onward and upward, somewhere close to 80,000 now.

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No doubt Humberto would like to be sitting around the tables too, but he can hardly begrudge baby Brenes his spot. They're keeping it in the family, at least.

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Meanwhile, tournament director Mike Ward has just announced that we'll be playing down to the end of level nine tonight, which means play will end at around 12.45 a.m. local time.

Currently, with two hours until then, we have 160 players remaining, approximately half the starting field. By this time tomorrow, we're due to be closing in on a final table of nine, which, at this stage, seems a long way away.

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And if you want to see what we were all up to last night, the final edit of the PokerStars LAPT welcome party has just hit the screens.

Take a gander:
Please install Flash.

There's more where that came from HERE at