LAPT5 Colombia: Lucky star
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"Papa don't preach. I'm in trouble deep," crooned Madonna from the radio of the SUV as Arturo, our driver for the last few days, drove us from our hotel to the Allegre Casino. I don't know if Arturo's been choosing a different radio station every morning just to mess with us, but this was the first we'd heard from the Material Girl.
"This song would make a great death metal cover," Portuguese-language blogger Sergio Prado said to me. Not being especially versed in the death metal genre, I just nodded my head.
Death is on the minds of the 25 players still fighting for the LAPT Colombian National Poker Championship title. When we left off last night at the end of Level 18, the top four stacks all belonged to Colombians: Ruben Ospina (744,000), Hernan Villa (703,000), Jhon Ferney Dulcey Diaz (512,000) and Oscar Andres Jimenez (405,000). In fact, Colombia claims seven of the top ten stacks to start the day, putting it in excellent shape to claim the trophy for the home team - unlike last year, when Argentine Julian Menendez denied Colombia a victory.
Each of the four big stacks will start on a different table when Day 3 begins at noon local time (GMT-5). But the tables will consolidate after the first elimination, and with four stacks starting with fewer than 10 big blinds, that shouldn't take more than a few minutes. From there, the big stacks almost have to start butting heads.
They'll also have to deal with the shark that patrols these waters - Team PokerStars Pro Humberto "the Shark" Brenes. Brenes has had a great run of LAPT cashes that has included a few final table near-misses, including a 15th place finish in last season's Sao Paulo event. He's looking to finally break through today and make his first LAPT final table.
Today we play poker until the tournament reaches a final table of eight players. Math being what it is, that's expected to take about six hours, giving everyone still involved our shortest work day in Medellin in two seasons. That will leave us plenty of time to find trouble in Medellin tonight.
As long as none of it's the type Madonna was singing to her father about, we should be fine.