LAPT Punta del Este: Day 1, levels 5-8 live updates (400-800-100)
9:04pm: Bring out the bags
We've reached the end of Level 8, which means the conclusion of play for Day 1. Somewhere around 200 players -- less than half the 422 who started -- are still here to count down their stacks and seal them up at day's end. Back in a few with a full wrap of today's action. --MH
9:01pm: Torres out
The last representative of Team PokerStars, Fredy Torres (of Team Online), has been eliminated with just a few minutes left in Day 1.
In Torres' last hand he pushed his short stack all in with [K] only to be called by an opponent in the blinds with [A]. An ace flopped and Torres couldn't catch up, and the Colombian is out. --MH
8:55pm: Salles eliminated
On one of the last few hands of the night, Brazilian Team Pro Gualter Salles got pocket eights all in for his last 7,600 against K♦T♥. A ten hit the river and Salles was gone. --BW
8:36pm: Fernandez's long wait
This started out as a check on the final table in the main casino. It ended in such dramatic fashion, it's probably not true.
Leo Fernandez refused to play a bad hand. Though he held fewer than ten big blinds, he was making art out of folding. The process in between folds was a performance piece that consisted of Fernandez washing his face with his hands, taking deep cleansing breaths, yawning like a tired Labrador, and burying his hands in his hair. Rinse and repeat.
When the tournament director came into the room to break Fernandez's table, it was just about to be the Team Pro's big blind, a position that would almost force him to play. He saw the chip racks headed in his direction and moaned, "Oh, no. Please."
It was no use. Fernandez was moving to the main room.
He slunk down the escalator, into the big room, and down into a seat where he would have to play more hands before the blinds got to him. He waited. He waited some more. he checked his blackberry. He folded his big blind!
Finally, he could wait no more. A player opened all-in for 15,100. Fernandez called for his last 6,700. So did chip leader Juan Jose Perez, a man Fernandez taught to play.
It was two red queens for the open shover, pocket fives for Perez, and the hand that Fernandez had waited this long to play.
It was as if Fernandez didn't see it coming, like the 5♣ on the flop was inconceivable. We all saw it. It happened. And Fernandez was gone, a man no longer waiting for anything but room service. --BW
8:09pm: Fierro felled
"I eliminated the monster."
So said Miguel Alvarez to us shortly after he had knocked out one of the tougher players in today's field, Nicolas Fierro. Fierro, who finished 34th in this year's WSOP Main Event, had dropped to about 20,000 or so when he opened with a raise then Alvarez three-bet him. Fierro tanked a good while, then called with [A], behind Alvarez' [A][K]. The board blanked for Fierro, who hits the rail here at the start of Level 8.
Meanwhile, monster-killer Alvarez has about 40,000. --MH
8:01: Last level
They've moved to Level 8, the last one-hour level of Day 1. --MH
7:45pm: De Leon De Le-gone
I wandered up to Team PokerStars Pro Christian de Leon's table to see an already sizable pot and a flop of 6♠8♥2♣. De Leon bet 6,000 into the pot and got a call. When the 4♣ came on the turn, De Leon fingered his stack for a couple of seconds before announcing all-in. The call was of the snapping variety and drew an immediate frown from the Team PokerStars Pro. He turned up A♠K♣, drawing dead to the 6♥4♥ on the other side of the table. The 3♥ came uselessly on the river, prompting a quick handshake from De Leon and his just-as-quick exit. --BW
7:32pm: DeBora done
Following a hijack raise to 1,400, Greg DeBora reraised all in for his last 6,700 from the small blind. The big blind then reshoved all in over the top, forcing out the original raiser.
DeBora turned over K♣T♦, but his opponent had woken up with A♥K♠. The five community cards came Q♣Q♦3♣3♦8♣, and DeBora is out. --MH
7:18pm: Guillen gone
One player limped, then Angel Guillen raised to 1,400 from the cutoff. It folded to the player in the small blind who made it 3,200 to go. The big blind and limper got out, and Guillen called. --MH
The flop came [10h]2♥2♣. Guillen's opponent bet 4,200, and Guillen paused a short while before declaring himself all in for about 20,000 more. His opponent had Guillen barely covered, and made the call turning over A♠A♣. But Guillen had flopped a monster as he tabled  for a full house.
The turn was the J♦ and all seemed well for Guillen. Then came the river -- the A♦! Adding to the drama was the fact that the limper mentioned he'd folded an ace, meaning the last one had arrived on the river to send the Team PokerStars Mexico player out. --MH
7:12pm: Lopez vanishes
Team PokerStars Online member and accomplished magician Karlo Lopez has been eliminated, the last of his stack having been claimed by Roberto Hernandez of Uruguay.
The pair had been involved in a few pots earlier in the day, including a memorable one in which Hernandez had claimed a number of chips off of Lopez with [A][K] versus Lopez [A][Q] on an ace-high board. In Lopez' final hand, Hernandez had opened for 1,500 from the cutoff, then Lopez shoved all in from the button for his last 11,000. The blinds got out, and Hernandez quickly called, showing K♥K♣ to Lopez' A♣[10s].
The board ran out [J] and Lopez is out. Meanwhile, Hernandez is now up over 100,000, one of the bigger stacks around at present. --MH
7:09pm: Table spotting
Looking out across the fruited plains of the Mantra Hotel and Casino, we've been able to get a rough count of the players who have survived until the seventh level of the night. The VIP Room has now completely broken. That leaves six tables in the main casino, four tables in the lobby outside this main conference room, and 17 tables inside the main room where this tournament will eventually finish.
With each table still playing ten-handed, that leaves us with 260-270 players still left in the field today. Expect that number to drop pretty dramatically in the next couple of hours. --BW
6:51: We're back
Players are back in their seats are back in the air. Two more one-hour levels today and they'll call it a night. --MH
6:34: Break it up
We've arrived at the end of Level 6 and the last 15-minute break of the day. --MH
It's official... a whopping 422 entrants came out for this year's LAPT Punta del Este event, smashing the previous best total of 351 from Season 1.
We're gathering prize pool information and will pass that along shortly. --MH
6:24pm: Brunelli battling
Diego Brunelli has had an up-and-down day of it thus far, mostly hovering below the starting stack of 20,000. Just now he was involved in a hand with a single opponent in which he pushed out a half pot-sized bet of 2,100 on the river with the board showing 7♥[10s]7♠5♦A♠ and got a fold, earning a modest-sized pot.
That one pushes Brunelli back to about 20,000. --MH
6:17pm: Active Alex
Alex Manzano opened with a raise to 1,000 from under the gun and got two callers, one sitting to his immediate left and the other in middle position. The dealer burned a card and delivered the flop. "As-ocho-cuatro," he said after spreading out the cards A♦8♣4♥. All three checked.
The turn came the [10s]. This time Manzano bet 1,800 and got one caller in the middle position player. The river was the 6♣ and Manzano bet again, this time 2,100. His opponent called with zero hesitation. Manzano turned over A♣3♣ for aces, and his opponent mucked.
Manzano still sits with about 68,000. --MH
6:06pm: Head'um up, move'em out
This day started in the equivalent of four different poker rooms. One of those was the well-hidden VIP room in the farthest reaches of the casino. Those walls held 120 of today's starting 400. Now, 100 players have been eliminated and the VIP Room is all but empty. --BW
5:55pm: Torres tanks, tanked
The board read Q♦2♦3♣4♣. Team PokerStars Online's Fredy Torres, had bet 2,900 into it. His opponent, a man we're calling "Vamos Cesar!" pushed all-in. Torres spent several minutes in the tank before calling to see Vamos Cesar's 5♦6♣. Torres, apparently drawing dead, mucked before the K♦ river left the dealer's hand. He's now down to a few big blinds. --BW
Leo Fernandez had started to accumulate some chips here of late, but just took a hit to get knocked back down the hill again.
With the board showing 6♥7♦A♦7♥, Fernandez' opponent bet 2,400 from early position -- about half the pot -- and Fernandez called. The river brought the A♠ and another bet from the early position player, this time for 6,300. Fernandez thought about it, then called. His opponent quickly tabled 7♣7♠ for quads, and Fernandez mucked.
The Team PokerStars Argentina Pro is back down to about 10,000 now. --MH
5:43pm: Von Buxhoeveden movin' up
The bigger stacks are starting to distinguish themselves a bit as we move into Level 6. One player, Erik von Buxhoeveden of Austria, is drawing a lot of attention in one of the upstairs rooms with his stack of 90,000 now. --MH
5:28pm: Early elims
The recently-completed Level 5 saw us lose a couple of final tablists from Season 4 LAPT Lima. Daniel Ospina, who took seventh back in Peru back in April, is out, as is third-place finisher Pablo Gonzales. --MH
5:00pm: No double-helping for Nacho
Jose "Nacho" Barbero should've looked the part of a champion. He owned the LAPT in Season 3. He won here in Punta, and then won again in Lima, Peru. His return to Uruguay was a champion's journey and one that should've seen him carried out of here on a bed of 5k chips tonight. Instead, he simply looked miserable.
His head was squeezed in a vise of headphones. He scowled at the hands his dealer handed him and scowled at his own hands as they mechanically cut out chips for the ever-increasing ante. His graying hair was longer than normal, almost unkempt, even if stylishly so. In front of him sat 5,500 in chips, all he had left from the 20,000 they handed him to start the day. Misery in the form of a Nacho.
He watched fellow Team Pro Angel Guillen play three hands in a row and looked on with a grudge. There wasn't a person within a 12-foot radius of Barbero's brooding that didn't know Barbero only had one hand left. With less than 6,000 in front of him, he was going to move all-in at the first opportunity. It happened when Barbero saw somebody limp for 300 and somebody else raise to 1,500. Barbero stuck it in with K♠Q♥.
Like seemingly everything else, the timing was off. The limper held J♦J♠ and raised enough to isolate the one-time champion. As if to put a bow on the box of hate, the dealer put out the flop: J♣3♦3♠.
Barbero stood, nodded at everybody at the table, and swayed out of the room. Last we saw him, he was still swaying left to right as he walked the long stairs to the Mantra hotel.
In short, there will be no repeat Punta champion this year. --BW
4:43pm: Angel shooting
Our photographer Carlos just shot a picture of Angel Guillen for us (see below), capturing the Team PokerStars Mexico member deep in thought. Guillen might have been thinking about how the first four levels weren't going so well for him, given that he slipped below the 10,000-chip mark for much of the latter half of that stretch. He's started Level 5 on a good note, though.
After a couple of players limped, Guillen made it 1,500 to go from the hijack seat and both of the limpers stuck around. All three checked the 8♥8♦Q♠ flop. The turn was the Q♥, pairing the board a second time, and when it checked to Guillen he tossed out two yellow chips for a bet of 2,000, getting folds from both of his opponents.
Guillen shoots back up to 16,000. --MH
4:38pm: Manzano munches
No dinner break scheduled today, so players are doing what they can during the 15-minute breaks to satisfy their appetites.
For example, Alex Manzano grabbed himself a sandwich during the break and was still finishing it as he played a hand early in Level 5. A player on the button opened with a raise to 750, and as he settled his check Manzano took a last bite before defending his big blind. Both players checked the 4♣[10s]4♦ flop. The turn brought the 9♥, and Manzano bet 1,050, getting a fold from his opponent.
You could say Manzano has been feasting all afternoon, in a way, as he's up close to the 70,000-chip mark. --MH
4:30pm: Four more levels
I've always been more of a Rule of Threes kind of guy, but today is all about the fours. Four hundred or so players, four levels played twice, and now, four more levels to play. And yes, in the four o'clock hour.
While we wait for everybody to sit down, here's our local magician Karlo Lopez, from Team PokerStars Online. --BW
Live coverage of LAPT Punta del Este is brought to you by Martin "Master of Player Identification" Harris and Brad "Doesn't Recognize Himself in the Mirror" Willis.