LAPT5 Colombia: Never clear the rail

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lapt-promo.gifLast year at LAPT4 Colombia, the rail was a sight to behold. That tournament, which drew an LAPT record 681 players, packed in almost as much excitement on the rail as it did at the tables. Spectators were lined up three and four deep along the length of the rail, straining to see friends win big pots, get knocked out, or double up. The novelty of big buy-in poker in Colombia surely contributed to that excitement, but there was something almost Brazilian about it.

With about half as many players this year (after the buy-in was more than doubled), and a year of poker under Colombia's belt, the rail would be forgiven for being less excitable. Yet still they're here. This is Day 1b of a four-day poker tournament. We're still at least eight one-hour levels removed from the money bubble, and another two days beyond that before a winner will be determined. Yet, with 156 of the 218 Day 1b starters still in the field, no fewer than 25 people are along the rail.

For the record, these are not the wives and girlfriends of poker players, those bored women you sometimes see hanging out for hours at a time, silently "sweating" their man from afar. The rail is almost entirely comprised of men, some of whom are chatting with friends that stop by periodically for quick pep talks.

It's all still exciting here in Colombia. If you could bottle that feeling and ship it around the world, as poker matures in various regions it would retain its freshness, would be insulated from the negativity that some players allow themselves to fall victims to as they take their share of bad beats. The Colombians have figured something out here.

We'll see if that level of excitement maintains through the next few days as the field continues to shrink.



With 7,000 chips in the pot, two players took a flop of [10c]J♠K♣. The first player to act checked, t hen called a bet of 4,000. On the turn 6♦, the early-position player again checked. His opponent bet another 4,000. The early-position player called to see a repeating K♠ fall on the river. He checked one more time, then snap-called all in for about 9,800 after a bet of 10,000. The aggressor in the hand showed trip kings, A♦K♦. The early-position player took the pot was a straight, A♠Q♥.


PokerStars TV presenter Lynn Gilmartin's smiling face - in a photo taken here last year - is part of a collage of photos used on a poster advertising this event that hangs above the urinals in the men's room of the Allegre Casino.


Action between Team PokerStars Pro Jose "Nacho" Barbero and one opponent was at the river. With about 15,000 in the middle, the out-of-position Barbero called 10,500 on a board of 3♠Q♣Q♠4♦J♣. Barbero's opponent rolled over Q♦9♣, trip queens. Barbero shook his head slowly a few times without surrendering his cards. He peeked back at his hand, then seemed to rub his eyes. He slowly shook his head a few more times before finally mucking his hand.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in Medellin