It’s a busy time of year in the poker world. Events that take place anywhere outside of Las Vegas butt heads with the World Series of Poker, which kicked off a week ago. I know what a great product the LAPT puts out – I’ve been covering events on tour since Season 2 – but I also know that it’s tough to compete with the venerable elder statesman of poker tournament series.
As a result, some of the regulars that we’re used to seeing at LAPT events aren’t here this time around. Team PokerStars Pros Andre Akkari and Humberto Brenes are both competing in the Amazing Bracelet Race, and we are poorer for it in Medellin. They are almost certainly joined by many other LAPT regulars, although I won’t be able to say for sure until after late registration closes tomorrow which regulars decided to skips this event in favor of Vegas.
Even though Akkari and Brenes didn’t make the trip to Medellin, several of their PokerStars colleagues did. On the far side of the room sits Team Online player and native Colombian Freddy Torres. Torres had the chip lead after Day 1 of LAPT4 Colombia but busted short of the money on Day 2. Last year he again ended Day 1 as the chip leader… and again busted short of the money.
So far Torres seems unlikely to go for three-peat in 2013. At last count, his stack stood at 8,600, down from the starting stack of 15,000. If Torres should bust today, however, he could always try again for the three-peat by re-entering tomorrow. This event, like every previous LAPT Main Event this season, is a re-entry event that allows players unlimited re-entries on the first foru days of each Day 1 flight.
Team PokerStars Pro Cristian “El Grillo” de Leon (11,500) is only faring mildly better than Torres. The true talk of the first half of Day 1a has to belong to Team Pros Angel Guillen and Leo Fernandez, each of whom is sitting behind a stack of about 50,000. Guillen, as usual, is all quiet business at the table. He’s broken off of two tables already today.
Fernandez has been broken once and now sits at the feature table, directly to the right of the dangerous Amos Ben. He and Ben both seem in great spirits, even turning away from the table to engage a videographer with Codigo Poker, who filmed a short interview with both of them from the rail.
The Team Pros were joined today by about 200 other Day 1a players. LAPT5 Colombia champion Robbie Renehan was not among them. Given that Renehan hails from Ireland, I’d be surprised if we see him tomorrow.
Most likely the only LAPT Colombia champion in this event will be Julian Menendez, who won the inaugural 2011 event after a five-way chop. Menendez hasn’t been able to get it in gear yet today. At last check he was sitting behind about 9,000.
The day is long though, and even for the players that have a short day, there’s always tomorrow. Right now it looks like Fernandez has brought his LAPT6 Brazil form with him to Medellin, but who knows what the next level or even the next hand will bring?
Dave Behr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.
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