In the introductory post to LAPT5 Punta del Este at Mantra a few hours ago, I mentioned that the tournament is spread out across multiple areas of the Mantra Resort, Casino and Spa. It’s an imperfect solution to a tournament director’s favorite problem: an over-abundance of players. As Tournament Director Mike Ward said at LAPT4 Medellin, players are the one thing without which he can’t do his job.
Lots of players means lots of table and creative use of space at the Mantra. That lead, however, to some confused players trying to locate their tables as they walked into the Mantra this morning. You could ask the LAPT staff for help, but what fun is that?
The lobby of the Mantra soars to a skylight 50 feet overhead, flooding a three-tiered white marble entryway with brilliant natural light as you enter the building. Your first decision of the day is immediate: duck left into a ballroom, or stop at the lobby bar for a quick coffee or beer (and try the calamari) before heading up an escalator to your right.
Should you find yourself seated in the ballroom, you still have to determine which walled-off half of the room you’re in, front or back. Not the biggest decision in the world, obviously – an open double door connects the two – but with black felt draped everywhere it’s possible you might miss the back half of the room.
Six tables are found in the front, situated beneath a video screen made up of 112 (16×7) one-foot square pieces of posterboard clipped together by metal rings. PokerStars.net and LAPT video ads are playing on that screen in an endless (and mercifully silent) loop. 19 tables around back have an excellent view of the large video “Twitter Wall”. Tag your tweets #LAPTPunta or #LAPTPuntaBR to ensure they show up on the wall. Bonus points for using the word “brick” in your tweet.
But maybe, just maybe, your table isn’t in either half of the ballroom. At the top of the lobby escalator you’ll find the entrance to the casino. (If you hit the pool, you’ve gone too far.) Past a few banks of slots is a table-game area, where six poker tables are roped off from the rest of the floor. Beyond those six tables is a twisting hallway that leads to the casino’s poker room. Another 13 tables (and hooray, another bar!) are tucked away back there. Neither one gets any fancy video screens or Twitter Walls, but those tables will also be the first to break, if that’s your “thing”.
In total there are 44 tables at the disposal of Tournament Director Mike Ward. 40 of them are in use to start the day. Late registration extends through the end of the first break, after Level 2, so there’s a chance we’ll put a few more of those empty tables in play by then.
Ballroom front, ballroom rear, casino floor or poker room: your table is out there somewhere. This Punta del Este Day 1 video blog with host Lynn Gilmartin might help you find it. And if not, it’ll give you some pointers about where to go in Punta del Este if you bust out today.