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LAPT Rosario: Fierro en Fuego

lapt-promo.gifI have yet to figure out the city of Rosario. The acres of impossibly green farmland on its outskirts recalls the American midwest. The packed-together high-rise apartments that line Boulevard Orono bring to mind some of the South American seaside enclaves we've visited elsewhere on the LAPT, like Vina del Mar, Chile and Punta del Este, Uruguay. The way the neighborhoods change from block to block recalls pre-Giuliani Manhattan and the grand white-stone buildings peppered with wrought-iron balconies are straight out of western Europe. Perplexed by my surroundings, I asked my well-traveled co-blogger, Brad Willis what Rosario reminded him of.

"Um, Argentina?" he replied, half-joking, half-seriously.

Argentina itself is a great melting pot of cultures and appropriately enough, drew 254 players from every corner of the world to it's second-largest city for the LAPT Season 3 Grand Final. The prize pool eclipsed the $1 million mark, coming in at $1,176,200 and the winner will walk away with $322,280. After eight levels of play, the field was whittled down to 131 players, who will return to work at noon tomorrow.

Team PokerStars Pro had a strong contingent flying the mighty red spade in the southern hemisphere. Americans Victor Ramdin and Chris Moneymaker had the longest flights but the shortest stays in the tournament, busting out within the first few levels. Both men headed back to their rooms and immediately jumped online, Moneymaker into WCOOP Events #53 and 54, where he's still alive and kicking as of press time. Brazilians Gualter Salles and Alexandre Gomes only lasted a few levels, but Andre Akkari is building quite the chip castle. He'll take 71,900 into Day 2, the most of any Team Pro.

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Andre Akkari

Three LAPT champions were on hand today, two going for their second title and Jose "Nacho" Barbero pursuing his third. Dominik Nitsche won the Season 2 Grand Final in Mar del Plata but exited in Level 4, eliminating any hopes for a repeat champion. Florianopolis champion Matthias Haberning had a strong start to his day, knocking out two players to take his stack up to 60,000. Although his stack slipped a bit, he'll return tomorrow with an above-average stack of 50,800. Barbero already won back-to-back titles this season in Punta del Este and Lima, and ended Day 1 with a healthy 42,200 in chips. An EPT champion was also in the house today, St.Louis native Tim Vance who won over $1.2 million at the 2008 EPT Copenhagen. Always an entertaining presence, Vance was down, but not out at the end of Day 1, bagging up 12,800 in chips.

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LAPT Florianopolis champion Matthias Haberning

WCOOP and SCOOP champion Terrence Chan was quite the mover and shaker today, despite a tough table draw that included Maria "maridu" Mayrinck and Angel Guillen. Known as one of the world's top limit hold'em players, Chan proved he's no slouch when it comes to big-bet poker, running his chip stack up to 67,200.

Brazilian PokerStars qualifier Hugo Adametes rocketed into the chip lead during the last level of the day, his stack topping out at an astounding 215,000. To put that into perspective, with more than 150 players remaining, he had what would be an average stack with only three tables to go. Adametes' reign at the top was all-too brief, however, as he doubled up Nico Fierro in the closing minutes of Level 8. Adametes raised, Fierro three-bet and Adametes called. They went heads-up to a king-queen-deuce flop with one diamond. Adametes checked, Fierro bet 15,000 and Adametes called. Both players checked the T♦ on the turn, but when the 9♦ fell on the river, Adametes immediately moved all-in. Fierro insta-called, tabling the second-nut flush and just like that, Adametes' stack was sliced nearly in half.

From there, it was all downhill for Adametes. His stack all but evaporated a few minutes later, Fierro the recipient of nearly all of Adametes' fichas when his pocket aces held up against Adametes' ace-king. Fierro bagged up 238,200 at the end of the night and is the dominant chip leader, while Adametes was left with only a bit more than his 20,000 starting stack.

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Day 1 chip leader Nico Fierro

Humberto Brenes did not survive Day 1, his pocket tens falling to ace-jack. His fellow Team Pros Angel Guillen, Maria "maridu" Mayrinck, Dennis Phillips, Leo Fernandez, Christian de Leon, Andre Akkari and Nacho Barbero, however, will return tomorrow to continue the grind. We'll be there too, from the first flop to the last river. Do join us again.

Looking for the Day 1 chip counts? They'll be right here on the LAPT Rosario chip count page as soon as they're available. Want to know what they're playing for? The prizepool and payouts page has everything you're looking for in that regard. Speak Spanish and prefer your live updates in Argentina's native tongue. Check out the PokerStars Spanish blog.

From Rosario, Argentina, that's a wrap. We're long overdue for a steak and a Quilmes.

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