LAPT6 Chile: Bubble who?

March 15, 2013

I’ve seen some wild things on the Latin American Poker Tour, but I’ve never seen a bubble as wild and confusing as the one that just went down here in Chile.

At the last break 166 players remained in the field. 160 were guaranteed money. Normal poker tournament rhythms dictate that after the break, play would be tight as the short stacks tried to squeeze their way into a minimum-cash, a far preferable alternative to bubbling the tournament.

An unlucky river card earned one of the short stacks an early exit. All in pre-flop with pocket 10s against A♦J♣, the short stack flopped a set, 6♠10♦K♥. The turn was a blank but the river Q♣ filled a gutshot Broadway draw to knock the short stack out and draw a few sympathetic groans from others at the table.

Another player went down by running pocket treys into pocket 10s. A dealer called out an elimination from the other side of the room, bringing the tally of player remaining down to 163. The LAPT staff kept an eye on the field, ready to start hand for hand in just a few more eliminations. Then things got wonky.

The eliminations didn’t slow down. They picked up speed.

A rapid burst of eliminations rang out across the room. The staff announced that hand-for-hand play was about to commence and that all dealers should complete the hand they were on. At Table 8, a hand involved Team PokerStars Pro Christian “Grillo” de Leon, who shoved a stack of about 55,000 from the button after a big stack opened in early position. Leon’s shove folded the blinds but the initial aggressor snap-called with A♠A♥. Grillo had 10♣10♠.

“I played four hands today,” Grillo told me later. “Pocket tens each time. Two times I ran into aces. One time the other guy had kings and I found a fold.”

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Not Grillo’s day

This time around there was no way to fold. The board ran out a sweat-worthy Q♣A♣4♣6♥9♦, ending Grillo’s tournament. He shook his opponent’s hand and walked off, with cheers rising from the tables around his. Thirty seconds later the LAPT staff announced that the remaining players were in the money, drawing applause from the entire room.

Grillo wandered over to the blogger desk, where friend and fellow Mexican Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen waited. They chatted a few moments, long enough for a floorperson to come over and direct Grillo to the payouts table. A confused Grillo followed.

It turned out that an Argentinian named Alejandro Rodrigues was eliminated before Grillo. By the time Grillo busted, Rodrigues had already bolted from the room. It all happened lightning-quick, but Grillo finished in 160th place.

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The real bubble

“I thought I was the bubble,” Grillo said after it was all sorted out.

So did I. I was getting ready to issue an apology to the people of Mexico for mush-mouthing Grillo by including a “surprising fact of the night” in a post last night – that Grillo had never cashed in an LAPT Main Event.

That’s no longer true. Grillo was the first player in the money at LAPT6 Chile. 159 more will follow by Sunday night.

Dave Behr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

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