You have to get up early to get anything past the LAPT tournament staff.
A sharp-eyed dealer thought something was odd about one of the yellow (1,000) chips put into a pot by a player at his table after the first break. He plucked the offending chip out of the pot and waved over a floor person. “This chip isn’t the same as the others,” he claimed.
He was right. The strange yellow chip was stamped slightly differently than all of the other yellow chips in play. It was an older variation of the LAPT yellow chips, a version that was retired after last season. A cursory search of the stack from whence it came produced three similar yellow chips.
It is perhaps worth noting that the player from whom the bogus chips were confiscated didn’t utter a single word of protest after almost one-third of his starting stack was called into question. He didn’t pay any mind while tournament staff stepped away from his table to confer about the proper course of action. And he raised no stink when TD Mike Ward decided that the chips would come out of play and would not be replaced.
Now. I’m not going to say that the player who had the illegitimate chips took them home from a previous LAPT event and added them into his stack after play began today. I’m not going to say that at all. What I am going to say is that the LAPT staff carefully checked every stack that was put out this morning before play began to make sure that the proper chips were being used. Knowing that the old chips were similar but not identical to the new chips in use here in Viña del Mar, they took extra care to avoid this very problem.
Make of that what you will. But just be warned that for the LAPT staff, the integrity of each event is an utmost priority.
Meanwhile, the late registration tables have started to thin out a bit. The most daunting of those tables had to be Table 32, where Team PokerStars Pro Christian de Leon found himself seated with two of the top-ranked players in Brazil: Ariel Celestino, a man who holds the record for largest online poker tournament prize ever won by a Brazilian, and Thiago Nishijima.
Nishijima put in for a table change after making a set of jacks on a 7-4-5-J-K board. He busted to a player with pocket kings, then commenced the Bad Beat Shuffle back to the registration cage to pay for Bullet No. 2.
Things haven’t gotten any easier since. Nishijima is now seated with the top-ranked Chilean player in the world (according to one ranking system, anyway), Nick Yunis. If you’ve forgotten who Yunis is, feel free to re-acquaint yourself.
Two other Team PokerStars Pros are at tables adjoining Nishijima’s. Jose “Nacho” Barbero, keeping true to his new strategy of turning up on time, ready and focused for action, has increased his 15,000 starting stack to about 33,000. Behind him, Leo Fernandez is struggling with about 8,000.
Dave Behr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.
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