When I looked out the windows of my beachfront hotel room this morning in Punta del Este, Uruguay, I couldn’t see the ocean, despite the fact that it was a few hundred feet away. A heavy fog had rolled in off the water, shrouding the waves, the grizzled old men who fish from the beach and the dunes in front of them in a pale haze. As the sun rose higher in the sky and things warmed up a bit, the fog burned off to reveal the aforementioned coastal accoutrements, just as invitingly empty as they’ve been the past few mornings.
It seemed an apt representation of what’s going to happen in the tournament room today on Day 3 of the PokerStars.net LAPT Punta del Este at Mantra Main Event. Only the outlines of what’s to come are visible at this early hour. We’ll need to burn through the day to bring the fine details into sharper relief.
First up on the day’s agenda: playing down to the money bubble and determining which 56 of the remaining 76 players will be paid. The field should approach the money bubble in the second level of the day. It’s not an insignificant bubble, as the bottom rung of the pay ladder is worth $3,700. That’s a lot better than the $0 that places 57 and lower will receive upon elimination.
Once the bubble bursts, the in-the-money players will continue jockeying across eight additional levels of play to determine two important things: the nine players that will make up the final table, and the outcome of the bet for country pride between Team PokerStars Pros Andre Akkari and Jose “Nacho” Barbero.
Barbero’s got the lead to start the day in that bet, as the top three players to start Day 3 are all Argentinian: Ivan Luca (329,900), Cristian Lopez (289,600), and Season 4 LAPT Colombia winner Julian Menendez (270,300). The tournament is still a long, long way from determining the final table players, but claiming the three largest stack in the room with 76 players remaining is a boon for Barbero’s side of the bet. Barbero himself will start Day 3 with an above-average stack of 132,900. Akkari busted on Day 1.
The real prize that the players are chasing, however, is the $186,820 that’s up top for the winner. The bit of fog obscuring that won’t be shredded by sun, wind and chip consolidation until tomorrow night.
For today, however, we’ll play ten full levels or until the final table is set, whichever comes first. There’s no stopping the eliminations now. They’re as certain as the waves crashing on the beach, whether we can see them from this vantage or not.