LAPT Colombia Day 1b: Come and get Csome

lapt-promo.gifYou see a lot of things on the tournament circuit. Poker, after all, is a game filled with improbability. But there were three improbabilities on Day 1b of the 2011 PokerStars.net Latin American Poker Tour's Colombian National Poker Championship that made even a veteran tournament reporter like me take pause.

At the top: how improbable was it that the LAPT's first-ever foray into Colombia should produce the largest field in the LAPT's four-season history? Usually new tournament stops take time to grow into their potential. In Colombia, it seems, there was so much pent-up interest in and passion for poker that the country instantly became the LAPT's biggest success story. 330 players on Day 1a. 351 players on Day 1b. Each day completely sold out (21 alternates were squeezed in today). It was a great welcome for the LAPT in Colombia, and the return welcome for the players is a top prize worth 288,329,000 Colombian pesos.

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The second improbability of Day 1b: there was never a truly big stack in the room until the very end of the day. The top stack of the Day 1b field hovered at about 100 big blinds from the middle stages of the day right up until the chip bags came out. In a field of 30 players, that wouldn't be surprising. In a field of 351 players, that's darn peculiar. The chip lead passed from player to player like a bad cold: David Posada, Julian Menendez, Pablo Martin Romo, Engelberth Varela, Polo Sisniega, Jorge Alvarado, Tony Ovalles and Cesar Mejia Medina all had the chip lead at one time or another. But none of those men were able to use their big stack to exert pressure on the rest of the table and thereby accumulate chips. The stacks were never big enough to do so.

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Tony Ovalles tried but failed to hold onto the chip lead.

That brought us to the third improbability (and one of the deepest buried ledes you'll ever see on this blog): Leandro "Peluca" Csome. Csome started the day strong and was steadily rising through the middle stages of the day. But a series of pots that slid the wrong way as we were getting close to the end of the day left Csome with just 10,000 chips. In the course of two levels, however, he went from one foot on the rail to the overnight chip lead.

Csome started by tripling up to 30,000 with a wheel against a set. He continued to accumulate from there until the killer blow -- he was dealt pocket aces against a medium stack's pocket kings. They got all the chips in on a queen-high flop, with Csome's aces holding up through the river. As the rest of the table tightened up with the end of the day in sight, Csome ramped up the pressure and bagged 149,000. He's followed by three Colombians: Cesar Mejia Medina (126,200); Juan Carlos Valencia (124,700); and Jorge Alvarado (113,500).

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Peluca will be part of a combined field of roughly 200 players who will return tomorrow for what promises to be an incredibly long Day 2 of this event. The improbabilities will no doubt continue to pile up as this event moves closer to its conclusion and its champion.

Until then, you can find me at the bar.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in Medellin