LAPT Colombia Day 1b: Levels 5-8 (blinds 150-300, ante 50)
9:50pm: Last break
Players are on their last 15-minute break of the day.
9:21pm: Table change!
The players at Table 12 have all requested a table change -- as in, they want a brand new table to play on. Their current table has developed a case of the wobbles. It shakes back and forth at the slightest movement from any of the players, as if it will collapse at any moment. With several alternate tables in the room to choose from, tournament staff have wisely decided to move Table 12 to one of those empty tables.
9:04pm: Posada the first to crack six figures
David Posada is coming on strong since the dinner break. From out of nowhere he's built his stack to more than 100,000, the first to do so. Pablo Martin Romo was flirting with 100,000 but was also playing lots of pots. That tendency caught up with him, causing him to drop back to about 80,000. He's joined there by Carlos Zapato.
8:50pm: Level 8 begins (blinds 400-800, ante 100, 165 players remain)
Yesterday we finished Day 1a with 101 players. After a busy Level 7 and with three hours still to play on Day 1b, we're already down to 165 players. "Under 100" is looking like a good bet right now.
We'll try to get some fresh counts with the start of the new level, but one name to add to the watch list is Colombian David Posada. Posada, with 78,000, is the only large stack at his table and seems to be in prime position to make a strong push through the end of the day.
8:34pm: We're down one Team Pro
Poor Leo Fernandez. He had a very, very quiet day, never really grinding his way above 20,000. Then, without any fanfare, poof! He was out. Nobody in the media saw his exit hand, but it was definitely within the last 10 minutes or so. Craps, anyone?
Fellow Team Pro Andre Akkari is still fighting, however. He's sitting behind 33,000 and enjoying a table massage from one of the local massage therapists.
8:20pm: Setback for Zapato
Before dinner we told you about Carlos Zapato, a Colombian player who grabbed the chip lead (such as it was). Since dinner his starting table broke and he now finds himself in the center of the room. He recently was part of a raised pot, out of position against one short-stacked player. Zapato checked a J♣7♥2♦ and induced a bet of 2,700 from his opponent. He then shoved all in; the opponent snap-called all in for 6,700 total. At the reveal, Zapato's J♠8♠ was dominated by his opponent's A♦J♥. Nothing changed by the river, knocking Zapato back to 63,000.
8:10pm: Romo flirting with 100k
We missed the pre-flop action, but it appeared to be raised to 1,600 and called three-ways by the big blind and the under-the-gun player, Pablo Martin Romo of Spain. They both checked to the third player in the hand, who moved all in for 6,100 on a flop of 8♥5♠[10s]. The big blind folded but Romo, sitting behind a large stack, took a flyer with 3♠3♣ and called. Romo's opponent shook his head grimly, tabling K♦Q♥. The [10d] on the turn gave him some more outs, but he was out after the river came a third ten, [10c].
Romo is the new chip leader, with about 95,000 in chips.
7:59pm: Gonzalez back in business
Leandro Csome, currently third in the Player of the Year race, was at the first table to break after dinner. By the luck of the draw, he was sent to the table at which sat Pablo Gonzalez -- the Player of the Year leader. The first hand that Csome was at the table, Gonzalez faced a tough decision. Sitting in the small blind, he led a 9♦4♦6♠ flop. His opponent, on the button, moved all in for 17,700 more -- most of Gonzalez's stack. He tanked for a minute, then quickly threw his calling chips into the pot, almost as if they burned his hand. He was drawing with Q♦J♦; his opponent had the best hand with unimproved king-high, K♠J♥. But Gonzalez hit his diamond flush immediately on the turn 2♦.
The button player sat at the table, stunned. Then he slowly stood up, shook his head, and exited the tournament area. Gonzalez, meanwhile, now has about 42,000.
7:50pm: Level 7 begins (blinds 300-600, ante 100, 202 players remain)
6:35pm: Dinner time
The players are on a 75-minute dinner break. Play will resume at 7:50pm local time.
6:27pm: Akkari shows a meaningless card
Sitting in middle position, Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari opened the pot to 1,100. He was called only by the big blind. Both players checked the A♣Q♣A♠ flop. The turn fell another Broadway card, the K♥. The big blind checked, then called a bet of 2,100 from Akkari, taking the two players to a 9♥ river. The big blind checked a third street in a row. Akkari kept the pressure on with a bet of 5,100. His opponent ponder for a minute, then folded, allowing Akkari to collect the pot and increase his count to 44,000.
Akkari showed the 4♥ as he stacked up his new chips.
6:12pm: Player of the Year update
The top five players in the LAPT Player of the Year race -- in order, Pablo Gonzalez, Daniel Ospina, Leandro Csome, Engelberth Varela and Luis Yepez -- are all here in Colombia for this event. Ospina played yesterday, finishing the day with a slightly below average stack of 49,000.
Of the remaining four contenders, Leandro Csome is in the pole position right now with a stack that he has built up to 50,000. Varela recently took a hit to drop to 26,000, while Yepez and Gonzalez have struggled to get out of the gate today. Each has approximately 20,000 and lots of work to do if they want to bag up any chips by the end of the day.
A final table here in Colombia from any one of the five would be enough to vault that player into the lead for Player of the Year. Gonzalez, pictured below, will not easily capture that award.
5:51pm: Where are the big stacks?
When you spend years covering poker tournaments, you see a lot of odd things. Who can forget the board straight flush at the final table of the LAPT Season 2 San Jose event -- a board straight flush that was beaten by eventual champion Ryan Fee's royal flush?
Still, in more than three years traveling all around the world covering tournament poker, I don't ever remember making it to Level 6 of a tournament without a few big stacks emerging. Here on Day 1b of the LAPT Colombian National Poker Championship, there are lots of middle to slightly-above-average stacks, but no monsters. I'm not sure if playing 10-handed slowed people down or if there's something in the water, but it's really bizarre.
Tables are starting move to 9-handed now, however, so perhaps the pace of play will pick up slightly and we'll start to see some leaders break away from the pack. If that doesn't happen, I might have to release the hounds.
5:35pm: Level 6 begins (blinds 200-400, ante 75, 250 players remain)
5:29pm: Zapato's strange call; Honeybone cruising
A three-handed flop at Carlos Zapato's table ended with a strange river call by Zapato and another pot added to his stack. Zapato led for 1,000 on the flop, J♠7♣[10h], and was called by a player behind him before the small blind check-raised to 2,750. Zapato was the only caller to the 8♣ turn. The small blind checked and called a bet of 2,400. On the river 2♥, Zapato bet 3,150 out of turn. After getting clarification on his options from the dealer, the small blind bet the minimum 300. We're not sure if Zapato was forced to just call, but just call he did -- with the nuts, Q♦9♥. The small blind showed two pair J♦7♥, not enough to prevent Zapato from climbing to 72,000.
On the other side of the room, New Zealander James Honeybone brushed off a slow start. He's increased his count to 45,000.
5:13pm: Akkari snaps off a bluff
Deep runs in poker tournaments are also sometimes about snapping off bluffs (which, I suppose, falls under the "pots you win" category, but still). Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari opened a pot to 700 pre-flop and was called by both blinds. All three players checked an ace-high flop, J♦A♣K♠. On the turn 3♦, the big blind bet 1,200, with Akkari and the small blind both calling. The big blind fired again on the J♠ river, this time for 2,500. Only Akkari called, tabling A♦3♠ for a pair of aces. The big blind flashed the Q♦ and mucked.
For top pair, no kicker, it was a nice little pot for Akkari. He's up to about 49,000. His fellow Team Pro, Leo Fernandez (pictured below) continues to struggle to build any steam.
5:02pm: Menendez avoids a sticky spot
Sometimes making a deep run in poker tournaments is as much about the hands you fold as it is about the pots you win. Chip leader Julian Menendez found himself involved in a pot with heavy pre-flop action. One player limped under the gun; a middle position player raised to 950. Menendez called the 950, but was three-bet behind by the button to 3,500. Both blinds and the under-the-gun player folded.
The original raiser looked down at his stack of 11,450 total and then (with a bit of a hand shake) put it into the middle. Menendez pursed his lips. He glanced back at his cards one time, then eyeballed the button player's stack (about 20,000). He finally folded, and good thing. The button player called the all in with [10d][10h] and ran smack into A♠A♥. Aces held this time around on a board that likely missed Menendez's hand, 9♦4♥7♥2♥9♣.
4:46pm: Zapato at the head of the class
We started Level 5 by getting a snapshot of the chip counts in the room. Colombian Carlos Zapato continues to lead for the home team with 65,000. He's trailed by Julian Menendez with 58,000. Andre Akkari has rebounded from his earlier brush with pocket aces to climb to 40,000.
4:35pm: Level 5 begins (blinds 150-300, ante 50, 270 players remain)
The players are back from their second 15-minute break of the day. We'll play two more levels before everyone gets 75 minutes for dinner.