LAPT5 Colombia: E-I-E-I-O
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Last year, Australia's Stu McDonald reached the final table of LAPT4 Colombia. That final table was one in which the bustouts were few and far between. After an extended stretch of six-handed play, McDonald helped negotiate a six-way chop. As the chip leader at the time, he got the best end of the deal, pocketing about $93,000.
Back then, McDonald had just relocated to South America. He now makes his home in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he lives with his girlfriend, a Brazilian native. McDonald mentioned that the LAPT events provide a perfect opportunity for him to exit Brazil, since as a visitor he's only allowed to remain in the country for three months at a time.
McDonald is the epitome of what online poker allows to those who work hard at the game and succeed. It's the chance to travel the world and live wherever they want - assuming they keep their travel documents in good order. McDonald mentioned wanting to attend LAPT5 Uruguay back in late May, but he had some passport issues that he was unable to resolve in time.
Last season, McDonald didn't distinguish himself in Medellin until Day 2, when aggressive play and a few fortuitous breaks allowed him to bag the overnight chip lead with 28 players left. McDonald rode that stack all the way to a six-handed chop and the most prize money.
This season, McDonald is starting out a little more slowly in Medellin. Near the end of Level 4, he'd only managed to increase his starting stack of 20,000 to about 26,000. He's on a tough table with Team PokerStars Pro Cristian De Leon, who has been opening seemingly every other pot.
McDonald doesn't speak a word of Spanish. He's a native English speaker who is working on his Portuguese, now that he's dating a Brazilian and living in Sao Paulo. When I asked him about Spanish, he laughed and said that he doesn't want to confuse himself with the Portuguese.
He also mentioned that he didn't travel to Las Vegas this year because he didn't feel he was properly bankrolled for the trip. It's the type of statement you won't often hear young online poker players making.
If McDonald exhibits as much wisdom at the table here in Medellin as he professed to in our conversation, he could very well make back-to-back final tables.
IPAD GAME OF THE HOUR
Monopoly against "the computer" in between hands at a poker tournament? For one LAPT5 Colombia player, it's the game of choice. At least it's not Angry Birds.
LAPT FAN OF THE HOUR
It's warm on the floor of the Allegre Casino, so much so that floor fans are being deployed to provide some relief to players and staff.
OFFICIAL NUMBER OF THE HOUR
LAPT officials confirmed that 218 players started Day 1b. Added to the 115 Day 1a players, that makes the final tally for LAPT5 Colombia 333 players.