LAPT9 Bahamas: Main Event Day 1 updates (Levels 1-7)

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This is an archive of Levels 1-7 of the LAPT9 Bahamas Main Event. Want the latest news? RETURN TO LATEST LIVE UPDATES

6:33pm: Level 7 concludes
Level 7 - Blinds 250-500 (ante 50)

6:19pm: Trouble tables
Level 7 - Blinds 250-500 (ante 50)

The LAPT Bahamas field isn't just large, it's pretty tough.

We mentioned the big board hasn't been updated for a while, but we know there have been more than 200 re-entries and believe there are probably more than 700 entries total by now. And it's a challenging field, too, with top pros seemingly seated at every table.

At one table, would-be LAPT champions first have to battle with Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin, Dan Kelly and Jason Koon.

Further down the tournament area there's a table with Jonathan Little, Elliot Smith, and Chance Kornuth.

You can't wait out the pros either. One recently-opened late registration table seats Ismael Bojang, Scott Clements, and Mohsin Charania.

Whoever takes down the title won't have an easy road to victory. --AV

6:08pm: Liv is in, others still arriving
Level 7 - Blinds 250-500 (ante 50)

Part of the way into Level 7, players are still arriving as late registration remains open until the start of Level 9. Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree is one of the latest latecomers who'll be trying spin up the starting stack during the evening portion of play.

The tournament clock has remained on 526 entries for some time now, but it's clear the total is much higher. Stay tuned to see whether or not it challenges last year's 736-entry total. --MH

5:49pm: Level 7 begins
Level 7 - Blinds 250-500 (ante 50)

Level 7 is underway. Two more 50-minute levels and players will be taking a 75-minute dinner break. --MH

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5:30pm: Break time

With the end of Level 6 comes another 15-minute break for the players. --MH

5:25pm: Lack of luck for Luca
Level 6 - Blinds 200-400 (ante 50)

Brazil's not the only country experiencing poker growth.

While it's not experiencing an explosive boom like Brazil, the poker scene in Argentina has been growing steadily throughout the years. They even won their first World Series of Poker bracelet last year.

The sole Argentinian champion is Ivan Luca, who took down a $1,000 NLHE event and won $353,391. While it was a hefty payday, it only represented a portion of Luca's $2 million live tournament earnings. Luca will be looking to increase that number in this event but he has some catching up to do after he doubled up Asher Conniff.

In that hand, Luca raised to 950 from the hijack and Conniff three-bet to 2,200 from the button. The flop came 8♦Q♥A♦ and Luca check-called a bet of 1,800. The turn was a 4♥ and when checked to Conniff bet 4,300. Luca called again and a 6♠ completed the board.

The action replicated the other streets but this time Conniff moved all-in for 11,325. Luca thought for some time and then called.

Luca showed bottom pair with 5♦4♦ while Conniff tabled a set of aces with A♣A♥.

Conniff doubled up to about 40,000 while Luca dropped to 15,500. --AV

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Ivan Luca

5:15pm: Cal collects
Level 6 - Blinds 200-400 (ante 50)

We arrived at the river to see the conclusion of a hand between Calvin Anderson and Peter Nigh.

The board read 8♦4♣Q♠6♣4♦ and Anderson had just fired a bet of 10,300, about half the pot and also about half the size of what Nigh had behind. After some thought Nigh finally called, and when Anderson showed 6♥6♠ for sixes full his opponent mucked.

Anderson, winner of seven 'COOP titles on PokerStars, is up over 60,000 now. Meanwhile Marco Zevola continues to accumulate chips and now has more than 100,000, likely the first in the room to exceed that mark. --MH

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Calvin Anderson

5:08pm: Day 1 extended two extra levels
Level 6 - Blinds 200-400 (ante 50)

News flash... we have just learned that thanks to large field, play will actually continue until the end of Level 14 today (instead of the planned-for Level 12).

The dinner break is still coming after Level 8, and the close of late registration/re-entries still comes at the start of Level 9. --MH

4:50pm: More champs
Level 6 - Blinds 200-400 (ante 50)

Another world champion has entered the field. Greg Merson, the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event champion, is now the third WSOP Main Event winner to take a shot at this year's LAPT Bahamas title (along with Ryan Riess and Joe Cada).

The most recent champion, Joe McKeehen will try as hard as he can to avoid joining the field as he's now third in chips in the $100,000 Super High Roller. One of the WSOP champs' European counterparts is in the field, though.

Adrian Mateos, who won the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event back in 2013 at the age of 19, is now trying to take down another title. Aside from his WSOP-E victory, Mateos has taken down two PokerStars events. He won the Estrella Poker Tour 4 Main Event in Madrid, and then EPT11 Monaco Main Event for $1.2 million last year.

Mateos isn't just hunting his first LAPT victory today though -- he's looking for his first LAPT cash. --AV

4:44pm: Level 6 begins
Level 6 - Blinds 200-400 (ante 50)

Level 6 has started, with the board showing 471 players left from a still-growing 526-entry field. --MH

4:40pm: Zevola zooms up
Level 5 - Blinds 150-300 (ante 25)

Near the end of Level 5, we watched a hand develop between Taylor Paur (small blind) and Alejandro Rodriguez (cutoff) in which the pair had built up a decent-sized pot by the turn with the board showing 3♣7♣K♠7♠. At that Paur fired 5,500 and Rodriguez called, bringing the pot up over 20,000 when the 4♥ river fell.

Paur paused a few beats then pushed all in for a little less than the pot, and Rodriguez made the call. Paur had Q♣T♣ for a busted flush draw, while Rodriguez had K♦5♥ for kings and sevens. Paur can still reenter if he wishes, as can anyone who busts prior to the start of Level 9 today. --MH

4:37pm: The Bear, the Grinder, and The-Toilet 0
Team PokerStars Pro Barry Greenstein is another the latecomers, as is Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi. Both sit with just under 30,000 at present.

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Team PokerStars Pro Barry Greenstein

Meanwhile Faraz Jaka -- who amid his travels has been crushing the Super Tuesday of late including winning it last October -- is also part of the field. He has just under the starting stack right now with about 17,000. --MH

4:28pm: Ex-LAPTs
Level 5 - Blinds 150-300 (ante 25)

As we've mentioned before, LAPT Bahamas gives lots of players a taste of a tournament series they normally wouldn't play. It might even inspire them to venture deeper and further into the LAPT, visiting tropical locations across Latin America while playing poker. Some might never leave.

That's already happened quite a bit. Latin America is now home to several players from the United States who went in search of warmer weather and friendlier online poker laws.

That's the case with Carter Gill, an LAPT regular who took up residence in Colombia and started a family. Gill's first LAPT cash was back in 2008 and since then he's added five more along with back-to-back final tables and a victory.

Now Gill's here to kick off season 9 and with a traditional Bahamian hangover.

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Carter Gill

While Gill and his hangover aren't an uncommon pairing, another LAPT veteran has changed a bit since we last saw him. Seth Davies, who frequents the LAPT scene and has been shacking up in Mexico, usually doesn't show much hair. His head's usually wrapped in a baseball cap and he's usually clean shaven.

Now it seems like there's been a follicular explosion across Davies' face.

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Seth Davies

"I've been working on my beard a bit," Davies said.

No word yet if this will help him score his first cash of the year. --AV

4:12pm: Zevola zooms up
Level 5 - Blinds 150-300 (ante 25)

It's gradually starting to become that time during the early stages of tournament watching that we stop looking up at faces and start looking down at chip stacks.

A last pass through the tournament area -- which now takes up nearly half of the spacious Convention Center here at the Atlantis where the PCA poker room is housed -- showed the Argentinian Marco Zevola to be sporting one of the biggest stacks at the moment.

A frequent casher on the LAPT, Zevola has spun the starting stack of 20,000 up around the 90,000-chip mark during the first four-plus levels today. --MH

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Marco Zevola

3:55pm: Level 5 begins
Level 5 - Blinds 150-300 (ante 25)

Players are back and cards are in the air once more. The board is showing 509 total entries thus far.

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3:38pm: Break time

They've reached the end of Level 4 and another 15-minute break.

3:23pm: The world's game
Level 4 - Blinds 100-200 (ante 25)

Like last year, the LAPT Bahamas Main Event is providing an opportunity for those who generally don't play LAPT events to compete against tour regulars.

Paul Volpe, Sam Stein, Aaron Massey, Olivier Busquet, Sorel Mizzi, and a couple of World Series of Poker Main Event champions -- Joe Cada (2009) and Ryan Riess (2013) -- have late registered, none of whom typically will be found among the fields in LAPT events.

Meanwhile Joaquin Melogno, Andres Herrera, Marco Zevola, LAPT Season 6 Player of the Year Amos Ben, and two-time LAPT Main Event winner Mario Lopez are also part of the still-growing field.

Last year players from 49 different countries took part in the LAPT Bahamas Main Event. --MH

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Mario Lopez

3:04pm: Words and pictures from LAPT Bahamas
Level 4 - Blinds 100-200 (ante 25)

We're still tracking all of those showing up for this event, and recalling how last year a similar pattern emerged with a couple of hundred entries becoming a whopping 736 -- well over even the most hopeful-sounding projections prior to the start -- by the time late registration closed on the first LAPT Bahamas Main Event.

Some are letting others know about their participation via social media and text messages, such as EPT7 Grand Final winner Ivan Freitez.

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"Can't chat... am playing"

Meanwhile Sabina Hiatullah is using her phone to chronicling her participation in a different manner.

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A quick pose, then back to poker

The number of entries is inching close to 500 as they cross the halfway point of Level 4. Once again, late registration is open through the start of Level 9.

2:46pm: Level 4 begins
Level 4 - Blinds 100-200 (ante 25)

Level 4 is now underway, which means antes have arrived. The big board is currently showing 473 total entries so far. --MH

2:33pm: If at first you don't succeed
Level 3 - Blinds 100-200

We've already seen a few players lose their initial starting stacks of 20,000 chips and choose to start over again by exercising the option to reenter. Reentries are unlimited, although the chance to get back in the game will end once they get to the end of the dinner break and the start of Level 9.

Andrey Zaichenko, Jonathan Little, and Pierre Neuville are among the dozen or so players who have re-entered to this point, with no one having entered a third time as yet. --MH

2:17pm: Representing the red spade
Level 3 - Blinds 100-200

Five Team PokerStars Pros are registered for the LAPT Bahamas Main Event, and right now four of the five are in their seats and vying for an LAPT title.

We mentioned Eugene Katchalov is here, and just a couple of seats over from him is his teammate Andre Akkari, fresh from having participated in this morning's "Breakfast with the Pros."

At a nearby table is Leo Fernandez, with Victor Ramdin also in action across the room. Meanwhile Christophe de Meulder's seat is presently unoccupied, although we spotted him earlier and expect him to join the fray shortly. --MH

1:55pm: Level 3 begins
Level 3 - Blinds 100-200

Players are back in their seats and Level 3 has begun. The number of entrants continues to climb on the big board, and is presently pushing toward the 400-entry mark. --MH

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1:38pm: Break time

Level 2 has come to a close and players are taking their first 15-minute break of the day. --MH

1:29pm: Field continues to grow
Level 2 - Blinds 75-150

After a couple of days of cloudy skies and fierce wind and rain, today is sunny and clear, making the name "Paradise Island" seem a lot more appropriate. Those favorable conditions may also be contributing a little to some players' decision to take their seats a little later, although the tables are filling up at a rapid clip as one side of the huge poker room is being taken up by the LAPT Bahamas Main Event.

LAPT6 Peru winner Patricio Rojas, Allen Kessler, Ken Aldridge, and Nick Yunis are all here and sitting in a row at Table 5, with Guillaume Darcourt positioned on the other side of the table.

Jonathan Little, Ryan D'Angelo, Joe Keuther, Carter Gill, Alex Fitzgerald, 2013 November Niner Marc-Etienne McLaughlin, and 2015 November Niner Pierre Neuville are here as well. So, too, is last year's LAPT Bahamas champion, Josh Kay. --MH

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Josh Kay

1:13pm: LAPT8 Player of the Year Alache joins in
Level 2 - Blinds 75-150

LAPT Season 8 Player of the Year Oscar Alache of Chile just completed a magnificent 2015 that included a victory in the LAPT8 Chile Main Event, two more LAPT side event titles, and several final tables. That followed a not-so-bad 2014 that ended with his win in the LAPT7 Grand Final in Peru.

Indeed, last year's inaugural LAPT Bahamas event came in between Alache's two LAPT ME titles, so he's here today to fill that gap while beginning a quest to earn a second straight LAPT POY title. --MH

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Oscar Alache

12:55pm: Level 2 begins
Level 2 - Blinds 75-150

They've moved into the second 50-minute level with the overall number of players registered having pushed over 350. Late registration (and the ability to reenter) remains open through the start of Level 9.

Among those seated so far is Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov. --MH

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Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov

12:45pm: $1 million Spin & Go winners giving LAPT Bahamas a spin
Level 1 - Blinds 500-100

Gledibe Brito of Brazil is among the ever-expanding field today, and his wife Samara will be coming to take a seat shortly as well.

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Gledibe Brito plans to use his spidey sense today

We know Brito from his frequent appearances in BSOP events. We know Samara, too, for a different reason. Back in October, she won a cool $1 million in a $5 buy-in Spin & Go on PokerStars.

Another $1 million Spin & Go winner from Brazil is in the field today as well -- Marcos Antunes -- who also hit the big one during the same week Samara did.

First prize here will be a bit shy of that mark, although last year's winner, Josh Kay, did win more than a third of a million for his efforts. --MH

12:29pm: Learning about poker in Brazil while having "Breakfast with the Pros"
Level 1 - Blinds 500-100

Before play began today, the first "Breakfast with the Pros" Q&A session of the festival took place in the nearby Players Lounge, with Team PokerStars Pros Andre Akkari and Friend of PokerStars Felipe "Mojave" Ramos sharing their thoughts regarding the current "boom" in poker in Brazil.

Click here to read more about what the pair had to say about the recent growth of the game in Brazil, its wild popularity currently, and what may come in the near future. --MH

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Felipe "Mojave" Ramos and Andre Akkari

12:16pm: Shuffle up and deal!
Level 1 - Blinds 500-100

Most tables are playing short-handed to start play today as players continue to arrive at a rapid pace. LAPT4 Brazil Main Event champion Alex Manzano is among the players already taking hands, while a couple of WSOP bracelet holders -- Ken Aldridge and Mike Leah -- are also readying to start.

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Alex Manzano

Meanwhile seated at the same table are Shaun Deeb, Maurice Hawkins, and Daniel Weinman, currently joking with the tournament director about the coincidence. Weinman is fresh off a big WSOP Circuit victory at Cherokee, North Carolina, and in fact already has made a final table here at the PCA, taking fifth last night in Event #7, a $2,220 eight-handed turbo. --MH

12:02pm: Shuffle up and deal!
Level 1 - Blinds 500-100

With about 200 players registered so far and the number increasing rapidly, the first hands of the LAPT9 Bahamas Main Event are being dealt. Today calls for 12 levels, each lasting 50 minutes, with a 75-minute dinner break coming after Level 8.

Players are starting with 20,000 chips, and those busting before the start of Level 9 will have the option to reenter. Stay tuned as we start to take a look around to see who's here. --MH

11:58am: Moments away!

We're just moments away from the start of LAPT9 Bahamas Main Event. The dealers are in their places and ready for the waves of players about to crash into the poker room for this one.

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Getting close!

11:30am: Season 9 of the LAPT about to begin

The Latin American Poker Tour is just a half-hour away from kicking off its ninth season with the $2,200 buy-in LAPT Bahamas Main Event. This marks the second time the LAPT has come to Paradise Island, and if this year's installment is anything like last year's, we expect a huge turnout for this early, popular side event option for PCA players.

A year ago the American Josh Kay topped a 736-entry field and a tough final table to earn a handsome $367,928 first prize in this event. Kay had to outlast Martin Finger (runner-up), Stefan Jedlicka (3rd), Jose Carlos Garcia (4th), Taylor Paur (5th), 2013 PCA Main Event champion Dimitar Danchev (6th), Jonathan Borenstein (7th), and Mustapha Kanit (8th) at the end to secure the first LAPT Main Event trophy of last year.

Day 1 gets going at 12 noon today, and we'll be here from start-to-finish for this three-day event with live updates, photos, and more. Back in a few for the start of LAPT Bahamas! --MH

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Want to be here next year? Sign up for PokerStars and start your journey. Click here to get an account.

Take a look at the official website of the PCA, with tournament schedule, videos, news, blogs and accommodation details for the Atlantis Resort in The Bahamas.

Also all of the schedule information is on the EPT App, which is available on both Android or IOS.

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the LAPT9 Bahamas Main Event: Martin Harris, Alex Villegas. Photos: Carlos Monti.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in Bahamas