Poker tournaments have rhythms to them. At the start of the day, a bubble of energy fills the room as players file in, all hopeful of being the next champion. Little by little, the bubble deflates over the course of ten levels, emptying the room from right to left. There’s almost an audible *pop* every time a table is broken and the energy level ratchets down another notch. By the end of the night, what started as a society of equals has whittled down to a thin group of lean, battered survivors. There is no energy at that point, only the tired smiles of players who know they’ve made another day.
The survivors are no longer the equals they were at the start of the day. The big stacks count themselves the luckiest in the room; the short stacks count themselves lucky to have any chips at all. Here on Day 1a at LAPT6 Viña del Mar, the luckiest of the lucky is Chilean Rodrigo Quezada.
Quezada was in the poker news a scant three months ago. At the Enjoy Poker Series Grand Final in Santiago, he found himself heads-up with none other than Team PokerStars Pro Jose “Nacho” Barbero. Barbero got the better of Quezada that day and won the event, claiming the top prize of almost $50,000. Quezada settled for runner-up, $31,000, and a case of the what-might-have-beens.
Today the roles were reversed. Barbero was out early, but Quezada bagged up 226,500 in chips to claim the Day 1a overnight chip lead. He also gets the luxury of not having to decide whether or not to fire a re-entry bullet on tomorrow’s Day 1b.
Trailing Quezada in 2nd and 3rd place are Ezequiel Lebed of Argentina (200,000) and Zackary “thrash370” Koerper (198,900), an American who currently resides in Costa Rica.
Late registration closed after Level 4. It was at that point that a Day 1a total of 377 players was announced, almost assuring that tomorrow will see an LAPT attendance record be set. It was a bit of news that brought smiles to the faces of the bloggers.
Near the end of the day it was clear that only a quarter of the field – and a quarter of the Team Pros — would survive the day. By that point Quezada was crushing his table, en route to bagging the most chips at the end of the night.
Tomorrow will be a case of “second verse, same as the first”. Day 1b starts at 12 noon (GMT-3). Until then, you can find us at the bar.
Dave Behr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.
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