Every poker hand is like an argument. Players make a case for their hands via their bets. Sometimes they force opponents to concede by folding. Other times they make their points heard by showing down better cards.

That’s one way poker hands are not like arguments — in a poker, the winners and losers are usually pretty clear.

Many of those here for this week’s LAPT Grand Final are looking to make another variety of points, too — Season 8 Player of the Year points.

They’ve pushed through the first couple of one-hour levels of Day 1A of the LAPT Grand Final in São Paulo, carrying players to the first break of the day. About a dozen tables are in action so far, with late registration extending all of the way through the end of the dinner break and start of Level 7.

Lots of familiar folks sitting around those dozen tables, among them Nicolas Fierro, Ricardo Chauriye, Damian Salas, Osvaldo Lewis, and Fernando “Grow” Garcia. Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez also took a seat at the end of the second level, with his teammate Andre Akkari expected to play tomorrow.

The Brazilian Victor Sbrissa is here as well, looking to earn a second LAPT Main Event title in São Paulo after having won this event two years ago at LAPT6 Brazil — and coming just one spot shy of winning it again last year when he took runner-up to Caio Hey.

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Victor Sbrissa
The action has been characteristically slow to start, although Helio Neves — final tablist at LAPT8 Peru where he finished sixth — became one of the first to re-enter the R$10,000 buy-in event after busting his stack halfway through Level 2.

We mentioned before how both Oscar Alache and Renata Teixeira are both here — currently positioned first and second, respectively in the LAPT Season 8 Player of the Year race. Indeed, many of those vying for that honor will be looking to gather points during this last stop of the season.

Alache built his POY lead riding a rush of strong performances that has stretched back into the previous year. In Viña del Mar, Alache won a PLO side event, then won the LAPT8 Chile Main Event — his second LAPT Main Event title in six months after having won the Grand Final in Peru to conclude LAPT Season 7.

He won another side event at LAPT8 Panama, then final tabled high rollers at both LAPT8 Peru and LAPT8 Uruguay. Meanwhile Alache collected cashes this year in France on the EPT, in Las Vegas at the WSOP, and just a few weeks ago on the Asian Poker Tour in the Sihanoukville province of Cambodia.

Meanwhile Renata Teixeira has five cashes on the LAPT this season, three of them final tables and the other two ninth-place finishes. We mentioned before her runner-up to Alache in the LAPT8 Chile Main Event where in fact she enjoyed the chip lead with four left when a final table deal was struck, netting her a $113,460 score. She’s picked up a half-dozen more Brazilian Series of Poker cashes in 2015 on top of that.

Patricio Rojas of Chile is currently in third position in the Season 8 LAPT POY rankings, and he, too, has taken a seat at the start of today’s LAPT Grand Final Day 1A.

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Patricio Rojas
Rojas’s first career LAPT cash was a good one — he won LAPT6 Peru back in the summer of 2013 — and since then he’s been getting closer and closer to nabbing a second career Main Event title. This year alone the Chilean has cashed in three of the five LAPT Main Events, finishing 38th (LAPT8 Chile), ninth (LAPT8 Peru), and sixth (LAPT8 Uruguay).

Marco Zevola is currently fourth in the rankings, and he’s also in action today. Cashes in the Bahamas, Chile, and Peru have helped the Argentinian edge up the POY leaderboard.

Here’s how the top 10 looked prior to the start of the festival:

1. Oscar Alache (Chile) — 958.60
2. Renata Teixeira (Brazil) — 764.13
3. Patricio Rojas (Chile) — 647.38
4. Marco Zevola (Argentina) — 617.08
5. Chadi Moustapha (Lebanon) — 575.98
6. Mario Lopez (Argentina) — 564.63
7. Amos Ben (Chile) — 557.35
8. Andres Jeckeln (Argentina) — 546.79
9. Rodrigo Quezada (Chile) — 545.47
10. Justo Esquivel (Chile) — 520.52

We’re still looking for other POY contenders to join the group that’s gathered in the “Azul / Blue” corner of the Golden Hall for the Grand Final. Meanwhile we’ll keep watching as well to see which players start accumulating the most chips here on Day 1A, proof of sorts they’re scoring points in the hands over which they’re feuding.

Photography from LAPT8 Brazil by Carlos Monti. You can also follow the action in Spanish here and in Portuguese here.

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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.


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