LAPT6 Colombia: Run for the money

June 09, 2013

The cab ride every morning between my hotel and the Casino Allegre takes me about a mile down Avenida Poblado, the main artery of Medellin. This morning, I noticed that the southbound side of the street was completely closed to cars. Joggers, dog-walkers and bicyclists had command of the blacktop on that side of the street, separated from cars on the northbound side by a tree-lined median. It made me think of PokerStars Head of Long-Distance Running, Brad Willis.

I asked my cab driver if it was normal for the street to be closed on Sunday.

“Yes,” he said. “Every Sunday until 1pm. Holidays too.”

That’s one of the many little touches that makes this city so wonderful. Unfortunately, I assumed I wouldn’t have time or space to go for a run and thus left my running shoes at home. But if any of the eight final-table players in the 2013 Latin American Poker Tour Colombia National Poker Championship want to get energized before the final table, Avenida Poblado awaits.

The final table will begin at noon local time with Colombian player Miguel Velasco behind the tallest stack. Velasco had some trouble handling Mayu Roca at one of the outer tables yesterday afternoon and found himself with only 32,000 at the 6,000-12,000 level. His freefall reversed itself right there. By the time Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen busted in 9th place to bring Day 3 to an end, Velasco had 2,435,000 and the chip lead.

Roca, the LAPT6 Brazil High Roller runner-up, is a dangerous player but will still the day as the short stack with 360,000 and Velasco two seats to his left. Roca will be looking to double-up as quickly as possible if he hopes to make it out of the first level of play.

Two seats to Roca’s right is Team PokerStars Pro Cristian “El Grillo” de Leon, following in the footsteps of Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari at LAPT6 Brazil by appearing at his first LAPT final table here today. When Grillo was bagging up his chips last night and filling out his final-table player profile, Tournament Director Mike Ward couldn’t resist a good-natured needle.

“This is a new experience for you, isn’t it?” Ward asked Grillo.

Grillo flashed the big smile for which he’s well-known on tour. He’s got good reason to smile: his count to start the day is 1,000,000, which puts him 5th out of the remaining eight players. His fellow Team Pros Leo Fernandez and Jose Barbero each have LAPT titles. Grillo will be looking to join their ranks.

Five other players will compete with Grillo, Roca and Velasco for that honor. This is how things will start at noon local time:

Seat 1: Team PokerStars Pro Cristian “El Grillo” de Leon (Mexico) – 1,000,000
Seat 2: Weider Gutierrez (Colombia) – 1,500,000
Seat 3: Mayu Roca (Colombia) – 360,000
Seat 4: Miguel Moscoso (Venezuela) – 500,000
Seat 5: Miguel Velasco (Colombia) – 2,435,000
Seat 6: Alejandro Arrubarrena (Argentina) – 1,210,000
Seat 7: Pablo Luzardo (Ecuador) – 1,580,000
Seat 8: Juan Manual Pastor (Argentina) – 610,000

By the end of the night, somebody is going to be COP 222,140,000 (USD 117,500) richer and headed for a victory lap around Medellin as a new LAPT champion.

Dave Behr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog. He ate “cerdo dos veces” for dinner last night and it was wonderful.

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