LAPT Colombia Day 2: McDonald by a nose on a long track

When I got out of bed this morning, I knew that Day 2 of the 2011 LAPT Colombian National Poker Championship promised to be a very, very long day. It comes with the territory sometimes, and there's not much you can do about it. The long day speaks volumes about the popularity of poker in this country and just how many players wanted to make sure they had a chance to play this event. Lots of players equals lots of chips, and lots of chips can make for long days.

Long days can create strange happenings in poker tournaments. If you set a line of 2.5 this morning for "number of top 5 chip stacks to start the day to make the money", we'd have happily booked a bet for the over -- and lost. Team Online player Freddy Torres, LAPT Sao Paulo final table player Leandro Csome and Chile's Osvaldo Colombo all failed to get any return on their tournament investment.

LAPT MEDELLIN 4 SEASON Freddy Torres Day 2 wrap.jpg

It was a mixed bag of a day for the Team PokerStars Pros also. Andre Akkari was stuck all day at about 35,000. That was workable when blinds were small to start the day, but less workable as time went on. He failed to cash.

Humberto Brenes, on the other hand, was cruising after turning a set of 9s against pocket kings (and then getting all the chips in the middle) but a badly timed bluff on the bubble of the tournament found Brenes hanging on to make it to the bottom rung of the pay ladder.

LAPT MEDELLIN 4 SEASON Brenes Day 2.JPG

Overall Day 2 was a day without a chip leader. That's not to say that there was never one "biggest stack in the room", but rather that the biggest stack in the room never seemed to be more than about 60 big blinds. Typically in tournament poker the big stack is three times that size. Players that traded turns as "big stack" included Julian Menendez, Martin Romero, Nicolas Cottin, David Garcia, Alejandro Araya, Cesar Mejia, Jonathan Markovitz, Gilbert Castillo, and American Jason Sudol (pictured below). That's quite a few different chip leaders, even for a 10-level day.

LAPT MEDELLIN 4 SEASON Jason Sudol Day 2.JPG

Although the original plan was to play until only two tables remained, an extended bubble (well over an hour) forced tournament staff to improvise. With 28 players remaining at the end of Level 20, and the clock already showing 1:30am, they mercifully brought out the chip bags and called an end to Day 2. With so many shallow stacks, it took some time to sort out who had the honor of bagging the most chips. It went to Stuart McDonald of Australia (754,000, pictured below). He's followed by Alex Gomez (713,000) and local hope David Garcia (701,000).

LAPT MEDELLIN 4 SEASON Stuart McDonald Day 2.JPG

Tomorrow the 28 survivors will return at noon local to play out the rest of the tournament. It promises to be an even longer day than today was. The stacks will be shallow to start -- an average of 365,000 won't go very far at blinds of 8,000 and 16,000 -- but that may only serve to encourage players to tighten up, thereby extending the tournament just a little longer.

We're not complaining though. As we explained this morning, tournament poker is an odd beast full of improbabilities. But there's always one certainty: at some point, someone will collect all of the chips.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in Medellin