LAPT Grand Final: Jean Double celebrates Carnival with chip lead
Imagine sitting in one of the world's largest cities. Twenty million people are packed in the streets around you celebrating the biggest weekend of their year. It's the excitement of Mardi Gras, the World Cup Finals, and New Year's Eve all packed into one and injected with steroids. That's where we are tonight as Brazil's Carnival spools up into a frenzy unlike any other in the world. In its dead center is the biggest event of the Latin American Poker Tour's Grand Final. If you're a poker player who likes a good party, there is no other place to be this Friday night. Just ask Jean Double. The man from Manaus (the capital of the state of Amazonas) traveled all the way from the north down to Sao Paulo to finish Day 1 with the chip lead. He's sitting on 189,400 to end the day.
When the day began some twelve hours ago, 367 players had put up 4,000 Brazilian Reals, to compete for the biggest poker title in Latin America. As Day 1 draws to a close, only around 100 of those people remain. Among them are Double and his closest competitors Quiroga (187,100), and Shaun Sheffield (181,700). They're joined by a host of Team Pros who seem bent on the idea of missing the Carnival festivities and winning this thing. Included in the bunch are Daniel Negreanu (121,700), Humberto Brenes (59,000), Jose "Nacho" Barbero (65,200), and Leo Fernandez (41,700).
While our focus today was appropriately on the Grand Final in front of us, we would being doing you a disservice (much like not eating a plantain at Fogo de Chao) if we didn't give you a little taste of the atmosphere here. For instance, as much as everyone is concerned about poker, the Carnival celebrations are in full swing. It's a celebration of a beautiful life in a wonderful city (even if the Sao Paulo traffic is way out of hand).
Meanwhile, the Team PokerStars Pros who made it to Brazil approached the celebrations differently, while Chris Moneymaker and ElkY failed to make it here at all. It may be for the best, as we tried to create scandal where there probably wasn't any.
Back to the Grand Final and some of its other implications. All five champions from Season 5 came here to play. They didn't do so well. Beyond that, there is also a LAPT Player of the Year race that will be decided here this week. For a complete look at what happened today, chip counts, payouts, and more, see our LAPT Grand Final Day 1 coverage.
Alas, That's all in the past now. As Carnival rages, so does this tournament, and we're not turning our backs on it now.
In deference to...well, our continued employment, we're skipping the Carnival parades and parties tonight. We'll be getting a good night's rest and returning here at noon tomorrow for the jump start of Day 2. From there, we'll watch the field hit the money with 48 players remaining. When that happens, we'll see the field cut itself in half before breaking for the day.
If you're reading from afar, get yourself some rest, and we'll see you back here in about eleven hours. If you're local and going out for Carnival, have yourself a good time, and be safe. We'll save some aspirin for you.