LAPT5 Colombia: The old guard

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lapt-promo.gif"They" say that in 2012, poker has become a young man's game. Young players have the focus to spend hours upon hours playing multiple tables online, shortening the learning curve. They also have the stamina and focus to play grueling 12-hour days in live tournament. They're even starting to invade the traditional bastion of the "old men", the stud variants.

But the old guys aren't going quietly. A look at Table 4 reveals two of them, both Costa Rican, still alive with 24 players to go: Humberto Brenes and Luis Jaikel. Brenes gets a lot of credit for being the Godfather of Costa Rican poker, but if there was anyone right there alongside him, it was Jaikel.

Jaikel's a quiet man, dressed conservatively in a tan corduroy jacket, a checkered button-down shirt, and blue jeans. The shirt is open at the throat to reveal a few wisps of gray chest hair, matching the gray shot through the dark hair on his head. To look at him, you wouldn't think he was a man who once played poker with the likes of Stu Ungar and Johnny Moss.

But when Brenes was first bringing the game of poker to Costa Rica, he needed people to help kickstart the nation's interest in the game. Family members like Humberto's brother Alex helped, but so did non-family members like Jaikel. Those weren't the days of flashy poker tournaments where everyone who claimed a trophy was the next rising star. Most of the action back then was in the cash games.

That's why, if you look at Jaikel's Hendon Mob entry, it's somewhat unimpressive. His lifetime tournament earnings total only $240,000, with no cashes larger than $40,000. The cash games are where Jaidel earns his keep, and in today's age of televised tournaments and large, branded poker tours like the LAPT, that's an anonymous poker life.

But the world may be starting to sit up and take notice of this old-timer. Jaikel managed a 15th place finish at EPT Berlin last year and finished 44th at this year's PCA. He looks like he's on the cusp of something big, something that will remind the world that the old guard can still teach a thing or two to the newer generation.


It took 13 minutes for the first player to be eliminated on Day 3. Javier Miranda opened all in from under the gun. Action passed to chip leader Ruben Ospina, who squeezed out A♦K♦ and said, "Pago." Miranda showed A♣7♦ and was quickly down to needing runners after a flop of K♣3♦5♦ gave Ospina top pair and the nut flush draw. The 6♥ on the turn was one such runner but the river bricked out to eliminate Miranda.

Miranda was followed by Nico Fierro and Team PokerStars Pro Humberto Brenes. This marks Brenes' fourth cash in the last five LAPT Main Events.


Nico Fierro - eliminated


It never fails. Even on Day 3, people still turn up late. Today's culprit was Weider Gutierrez, who started the day 7th in chips. His starting table was already broken by the time he arrived.


A round of applause for Oscar Jimenez, who arrived for Day 3 wearing a tri-color polo shirt: the three colors of the Colombian flag. Also, he gets our gratitude to Oscar for making himself easily identifiable.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in Medellin