LAPT5 Colombia: When the big wheel starts to spin

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lapt-promo.gifThe chip bags are out and players are furiously scribbling their names, counting, re-counting, and triple-counting their stacks, shoving it all into a chip ag and heading for the doors. Day 1b of the 2012 PokerStars.net Latin American Poker Tour Colombia Main Event is finished.

It looked like it was going to be neck and neck to the end of the day, but Ruben Ospina asserted his dominance over his table to bag up 171,300 in chips. That's not only the end-of-1b chip lead but it's also the overall chip lead for the tournament. He's followed by Ruben Fernandez (134,000) and Steven Escobar (126,900).

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Ruben Ospina

The official tally of Day 1b entrants was 218, not quite double the 115 that played yesterday. Together they make for an easy-to-remember 333 players in the LAPT5 Colombia field. Add in four no-shows for a final count of 337. About a third of that combined field -- 113 players -- will return on Day 2 at noon local time tomorrow to an average stack of 59,600, about 37 big blinds.

We started off the day by noting the plethora of players who were slow to take their seats - the white rabbits of LAPT5 Colombia. Turning up late seemed to work for a couple of the Team PokerStars Pros, as Cristian De Leon doubled almost right away and Angel Guillen ran his stack up past the 100,000 mark.

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Team PokerStars Pro Cristian De Leon

There were other players in the field, the ones who turned up on time, who must have been jealous of the Team Pro success. Daniel Berumen may not be one of them. He's on a total freeroll here in Medellin, a freeroll so good that it came with a one-semester scholarship at his university in Mexico. If anything, the Team Pros should be jealous of Berumen.

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The middle of the day brought some excitement in the form of the Olympics. Alex Brenes, brother of Team PokerStars Pro Humberto Brenes, spent the better part of two hours at the blogger desk sweating a bet on the women's football gold medal match between the U.S. and Japan. The U.S. won the game; Brenes lost the bet.

Once the soccer game was completed, we spent a few minutes talking with Stu McDonald, the cash prize champion of last year's Medellin event. McDonald didn't win last year, but he negotiated a six-way chop that gave him the most prize money. With the absence of champion Julian Menendez, McDonald carried the torch for last year's final table. Despite a nice piece of luck late in the day, McDonald did not survive to Day 2.

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McDonald triggered a trip down the proverbial Memory Lane for us, to the craziness that surrounded last year's inaugural event here in Medellin. In particular, the rail was crazy that day. The rail's been pretty crazy this year too, despite the fact that we haven't even reached Day 2 yet and despite a smaller field. It was a nice reminder that without people, poker wouldn't be much fun.

Near the end of the night, Guillen turned it back on. Despite some tangles with Humberto Brenes, Guillen began guiding his stack towards the 100,000-chip mark. By the end of the night, he fell back in the face of the assault of Brenes, who led all the Team Pros by bagging 105,200 in chips. Guillen was next with 75,000, followed by Andre Akkari (34,600) and Jose Barbero (15,700). Cristian De Leon did not survive the day.

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Akkari lives to see another day

Ten levels into the tournament, the big wheel is spinning now. Tomorrow the plan is to resume at noon local time and play down to 24 players, which should take about seven or eight levels. None of the remaining players can really know their odds. The only thing they know is that if they don't play they'll never win.

Having a big stack has to help their chances, though.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in Medellin