LAPT Colombia Day 1a: Levels 1-4 (blinds 50-100)

lapt-promo.gif4:20pm: Level 4 ends; 15-minute break

After dealing with some technical doo-dads that would flummox even the sharpest of 21st century minds, we'll be back strong in 15 minutes. For now, players are on their second break of the day (Dr. Pauly's favorite).

3:49pm: The charge of the Colombians; Guillen bows out

There are dozens of native Colombians in today's field, so it's no surprise that they are leading the charge up the leaderboard. Joining Mayu Roca near the top of the counts is native son Andres Castro, who seemed very sympathetic with our mangled Spanish when we asked him to very slowly give his name. He's got 61,000, an extraordinarily healthy stack at this stage.

One player who doesn't have a healthy stack: Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen. Guillen has no stack after he got it all in (about 15,000) on a flop of K♥J♥[3♣. He showed a combination draw with Q♥9♥ and needed to draw out against his opponent's two pair, K♣J♠. The turn and river were both blanks, sending Guillen to the rapidly growing rail of Team PokerStars Pros.

3:35pm: Nacho -- those are not yo' chips

Team PokerStars Pro Jose "Nacho" Barbero is known for a highly volatile style that can see him accumulate chips at an incredible rate -- or bust just a quickly. Today variance caught Barbero on the "busto" side. Down to 2,550, he shoved all in pre-flop with Q♣J♠ after one player limped in. That player called with A♦5♦, flopped an ace and rivered another to give Barbero the rest of the day off.

3:20pm: Level 4 begins (blinds 100-200, ante 25; 276 players remain)

3:13pm: Hasta luego a Cristian de Leon

A tough day for Team PokerStars Pro Cristian de Leon has ended here in the waning minutes of Level 3. Down to 3,200 in chips, he opened pre-flop from middle position with a min-raise to 400. The player two seats to his left re-raised to 1,200. De Leon put the rest of his chips at risk with 9♦9♠ and was snap-called by K♦K♣. Cue up a king-high flop, K♥6♠3♥, and de Leon was on his way to the exit. He was drawing dead after the Q♥ turn -- which made the 9♣ that hit the river some salt in the wound.

3:05pm: It's official - Day 1a sold out

With 33 tables all that the LAPT staff were able to fit in the room -- and even that was pushing it -- there were players everywhere to start the day. It's now confirmed that all 330 seats were filled. Day 1a was completely sold out. No word on whether players that wanted to play today were turned away, but given that Day 1b's of tournaments typically see a greater turnout than Day 1a's, there's a good chance tomorrow will sell out too.

286 players currently remain.

2:50pm: Ospina continues to move forward; Komaromi, de Leon trend downwards

Passing by Daniel Ospina's table, he offered a welcoming handshake. Ospina has reason to be in a good mood; he's climbed up to about 30,000. That's much better than Uruguay champion Alex Komaromi (6,500); Team Pro Cristian de Leon (4,500); and Lima final table player Samar Hodali (6,200).

One other player we've recently spotted: local Mayu Roca. If Roca's name sounds familiar, it's probably because he won 2011 WCOOP Event #47, $500 Stud Hi/Lo. But if that's not why, maybe you saw that he's also had some live success in Europe recently. And if we're still striking out, then we don't know why his name sounds familiar to you. But he's definitely a player capable of putting together a deep run here on his home turf.

2:31pm: Introducing Cesar Augusto Cifuentes

Listen, we know that the start of Level 3 is an incredibly early time to be declaring a chip leader (although that didn't stop one player from asking us, with 33 minutes left in Level 2, who the chip leader was). But as play progresses big stacks develop, and one of the bigger stacks in the room belongs to Cesar Augusto Cifuentes. Cifuentes, sitting at one of the back tables with the comparative luxury of space, finds himself with 55,000 chips in the early going.

It's a long way to go, of course, but getting some chips right at the start never hurts.

2:20pm: Level 3 begins (blinds 100-200)

2:05pm: 15-minute break

1:51pm: Small hit for the Shark

Humberto Brenes found himself in an unusual spot pre-flop a few moments ago, and it resulted in the loss of about 3,000 chips. He raised to 750 after the under-the-gun player limped in. Action folded back to that player, who re-raised to 2,950. Brenes called, then folded to a bet of 4,100 on a flop of 5♣Q♦7♦. His opponent turned up an unimproved A♣K♣.

A few tables away, Team Online member Fredy Torres is treading water so far with about 13,000.

1:35pm: Opa! Manzano bluffs with the best hand

LAPT Season 4 Sao Paulo champion Alex Manzano raised the turn of a A♣J♥2♦6♥ board, increasing his opponent's bet of 650 to 2,050. That player thought briefly, then called. Almost as soon as the river feel 8♦, that player snap-bet 3,575. Manzano had 10,900 left in his stack and pushed them all into the middle. His opponent made an angry call.

Manzano looked to the ceiling, perhaps thinking,"That's not good," then tapped the felt with both of his cards still face down. His opponent did not open, finally prompting Manzano to sheepishly reveal Q♣J♣ for a pair of jacks. Manzano's opponent let out an expletive and angrily threw his cards into the muck, face down. A stunned Manzano collected the pot to move to 27,000.

1:21pm: Ospina inches forward

LAPT Lima final table player Daniel Ospina is out of the gate strong. He's already up to 23,000 and looking to be in control of his table. Ospina, a well-known online grinder, is a Colombian by heritage who has spent large portions of his life living in the U.S. He's not the early leader (a few people have already doubled up by knocking out opponents) but he's definitely a player to keep an eye on.

With the slightly shallower-than-normal stacks, we expect that Level 2 will create the first significant chip movements of the day.

While we track down the action, why not check out PokerStars TV's welcome video for this event.

1:05pm: Level 2 begins (blinds 75-150)

12:56pm: No relief in sight

It looks like the temperature of the room is going to be a variable that the tournament staff can't control. Players are adjusting by stripping off their usual layers of warm casino clothing. We're still getting to know the field but as of yet there hasn't been much big action.

One thing we have noticed (as barely proficient Spanish speakers) is that none of the tournament announcements are being made in English. That's not so surprising -- almost all of South America speaks Spanish, and even in Brazil, where Portuguese is the primary language, Spanish is understood -- but it does represent a departure from the LAPT norm.

12:38pm: Feelin' hot, hot, hot

An unfortunate side effect of being as accommodating as possible and maximizing the number of players that can fit in a small space: body heat. The tournament floor is quite warm at the moment, and while that could be considered a welcome change from the usual Arctic chill that permeates casinos, several players have already complained. Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen flagged down one of the LAPT staff and made a fanning motion with both hands, begging for someone to figure out how to turn up the A/C.

It doesn't help that there are at least 50 spectators packed along the rail, adding their own warmth to the proceedings.

12:22pm: What a field!

With most of the players now settled into their seats, it's clear that this is going to be a massive field. Nearly every seat is filled at the 33 tables in the room. So far four Team PokerStars Pros have been spotted: Cristian de Leon (Mexico); Jose Barbero (Argentina); Angel Guillen (Mexico); and Humberto Brenes (Costa Rica). We also noticed that Season 4 Punta del Este champion Alex Komaromi, Season 4 Sao Paulo champion Alex Manzano and Season 4 Lima final table player Daniel Ospina are here in Medellin to try to add to their LAPT Season 4 success.

No doubt we'll be getting to know more of the field in short order.

12:05pm: Shuffle up and deal!

They're crammed in for the first ever LAPT event to take place in Colombia. The LAPT staff has managed to squeeze more than 30 ten-handed tables into the tournament space for Day 1a, and it looks like all of them are going to be in use.

After the usual logistics, cards are in the air. Players are starting with a 15,000-chip stack and blinds of 50 and 100.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in Medellin