LAPT7 Brazil: Locked and loaded

As the clock ticked toward "Shuffle up and deal," I asked blogger Sergio Prado what turned out to be a pretty stupid question.

"Are players as crazy for re-entries here as they are north of the equator?"

The answer was a resounding yes, along with an anecdote involving a Team Pro who fired so many bullets in a recent LAPT event that he needed to finish sixth or better just to break even. While many today will only discharge a single bullet, even more will take a machine-gun approach in the early levels, firing early and often in the hope of building a big stack.

So far, over 40 tables are in action up here in the main ballroom of the Holiday Inn Parque Anhembi with another half-dozen or so in a second room downstairs. While the early hours of a Day 1 at the World Series of Poker are full of half-empty tables, the re-entry format here has re-established the importance of an on-time arrival. Players may re-enter the tournament for the first seven of the ten levels we'll play tonight and only minutes into Level 2, plenty have already exercised that option.

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One table that still has seats to fill is currently home to Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari. Perhaps they're stuck in the snarl of rush hour traffic, perhaps they're petrified to tangle with a WSOP bracelet winner. Nevertheless, four empty chairs surround Akkari, thrilled to play in his hometown after a long year on the tournament trail.

A few tables away sits his fellow Team Pro Leo Fernandez, clad in his signature aviator sunglasses. Already an LAPT champion (he won in Panama in Season 5), Fernandez is looking for his fourth career LAPT final table and his second in Sao Paulo (he finished 7th in Season 6).

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Team Pro Christian "el grillo" De Leon is also playing today (albeit tucked away in the downstairs ballroom). We've also spotted a slew of tour regulars including Joe Ebanks, Damian Salas, Joao Neto, Bolivar Palacios, Felipe Ramos, Christian Kruel, Fabian Ortiz, Rafael Pardo, Oded Minond, Walid Mubarak, Mayu "marroca5" Roca and Ivan Freitez-Rosales.

Players have just returned from their first break to a thundering bass line accompanying the traditional "Shuffle up and deal." Registration is still open for another five levels and despite the on-time nature of this particular flight, seats are still filling up.

Photography from LAPT7 Brazil by Carlos Monti. Live streaming of the action in both Spanish and Portuguese is available via You can also follow the Spanish feed at PokerStars or via Facebook, and the Portugeuse feed at PokerStars or via Facebook.

Kristin Bihr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Season 7