LAPT Rio: Ups and downs and outs
It's notoriously difficult to make sweeping generalisations about the early stages of these poker tournaments. You can double up early, win another monster pot, and still be home in time for tea without making any money. In short, you can't win a tournament on day one, but you can sure lose one.
Making his way out of the tournament arena moments ago was Team PokerStars Pro Humberto Brenes, who lost the largest pot of the tournament so far to the now-chip leader Julien Nuijten, of Holland. They got it all in pre-flop but Humberto's ace-king never caught up against Julien's pocket kings. The sharks flashed their little LEDs, the great Costa Rican growled and snapped himself.
All to no avail, and Brenes made a slow walk from the floor, pausing for a chat with Greg Raymer, then to pose for photos with fans. We'll be seeing him again in Costa Rica in a couple of weeks. Nuijten, meanwhile, has about 34,000.
Better news for the aforementioned Raymer, who has been building a stack all afternoon. He cracked aces with five-six, flopping two pair and milking his opponent for about 7,000. I then dropped past as he had cards exposed in front of him, against a single all-in short stack. Greg had pocket fives, his opponent ace-eight, and they both knew they were racing.
The flop catapulted one of them miles into the lead: ace-ace-queen. The turn bricked, but the river was a five and the tortoise caught the hare in this particular race to the finish. Greg shaked hands and nurtured a stack approaching 24,000.
Chris Moneymaker also cracked aces earlier today when he got his small stack all in pre-flop with pocket queens. His opponent had a fairly easy call with the aces, and flopped a set. But there were also straight cards out there, and by the river Moneymaker was on Broadway. He still only has about 8,000, but is heading in the right direction.
Breaking news: Team PokerStars Pro Chad Brown has just departed. Sitting to the right of the well-chipped Raymer, Chad had dwindled to about 4,000 when Andre Lichtenstein made up the blind, leaving just the two of them in the pot. Chad checked. The flop came Kh-4c-5c and the Brazilian player checked. Chad bet 325, he was check-raised to 1,000 and Chad moved all in.
When they flipped, it was pretty much a 50-50 shout. Andre had K-3o for top pair, no kicker. Chad showed 2c-3c for the open-ended straight flush draw. It had massive potential but delivered on none of it. Turn and river bricked and Chad was out.
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Meanwhile, watching all this from the business side of a camera and editing board is our team of video bloggers. Here we have their first despatch from Day One in Rio:
Remember, you can find coverage of former PokerStars tournaments on the newly-launched PokerStars.tv site.