LAPT5 Colombia: Growth spurt

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lapt-promo.gifFar be it for me to be the one to judge a poker player's skill level. I haven't played a hand of poker since early December 2011. I have exactly zero major tournament wins to my credit. Hell, I don't even have a five-figure tournament score to my credit, live or online. I'm the very definition of "recreational player".

However, I'm also a recreational player who's seen high-level, big-buyin tournament poker played all over the world for the last four years. During that time I've developed a very healthy appreciation of a skill level that I can never hope to match. And I don't think I'm bursting any bubbles or shattering any illusions to say that, in the early days of the LAPT, the skill level of the typical LAPT player had tremendous room for growth.

But that's the beauty of this game. With time, practice, dedication, hard work, and the ability to reflect accurately on mistakes and successes (no matter the relevant outcomes), players can significantly improve their poker skills. That's exactly what LAPT players have done.

Consider this - through the first four levels of player here in Medellin, there have been fewer than 15 eliminations. In wilder times on the LAPT, 15 players might bust in the first level of the day. But as online poker has grown in South America, so has the ability for LAPT players to dedicate themselves to the pursuit of poker and hone their skills.


The LAPT has existed for four full seasons now, and has complete two events of its fifth season. There was a time when North American players were excited to qualify for LAPT events online. The events offered not only a trip to an exotic destination but also the chance to play against players whose baseline skill level was not as high as that of North Americans.

Those days have passed. While we still see plays every once in a while that leave us scratching our heads in puzzlement, we don't see them with any more frequency in South America than we do in North America, or in Europe, or in Asia.

In South America, poker's all grown up.


Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez, a late arrival on Day 1a, is an early departure. That leaves Freddy Torres as the only member of the Red Spade Brigade still in the field. He seems comfortable and in control at Table 12.


QR codes for each event at LAPT5 Colombia are displayed on flat-panel screens around the tournament floor. Each code is linked to that event's structure sheet. No more pieces of paper to lose.


Sorel Mizzi - yes, the real Sorel Mizzi - is with us here in Medellin on Day 1a. All the other Sorel Mizzis are just imitating.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in Medellin