First off, the LAPT, PokerStars, and Atlantic City Casino folks are all extremely supportive and looking out for us at every step. The wireless network by which we access the internet is very fast and reliable, too. And we enjoyed what I thought was a fairly incredible meal at the casino buffet during one of our breaks. Another one of those sample-dozens-of-things-without-necessarily-noting-what-they-were type affairs, with just about everything being equally tasty.
The running of the tournament has gone well thus far, too. There were 40 tables set up for play yesterday -- 20 filling the main poker room, and 20 more taking up most of the outer area there on the second floor of the casino. They were ready for 400 players, maximum, and ended up seating 384, which came close to breaking the record (398) for entries in an LAPT event.
At one point during the day I went through to see where everyone was from, and counted 33 different countries being represented. Probably two-thirds or more are from South America, but there are a number from the U.S., Europe, and even a couple from Asia.
As was the case at the start of the EPT event in Kyiv, it was a bit of a challenge early on identifying folks. There were a few familiar faces -- particularly the PokerStars pros who were there -- though there were many with whom I was previously unfamiliar.
Of course, we had a lot of fun with one particular PokerStars pro, Maria “Maridu” Mayrinck, who for a short while early in the afternoon was wearing a disguise. But being a shamus, I was able to see through it, and so got our photographer, Carlos, to snap some pics.
Eventually we learned several new names and had a lot to report. Working alongside Reinaldo (writing for the Stars Spanish language site) and Sergio (writing for the Portuguese site) helped, as did working together with the PokerNews guys, Marc and Rick.
Speaking of PokerNews, Lynn Gilmartin was there yesterday, having arrived Vegas with a story about being delayed in Houston. Like me, she’d had an extra six hours or so added to her trip and hadn’t gotten to Lima until five a.m. or so. It was the first of a few coincidences that marked the day.
The other two happened about the same time, about halfway through the day’s play. Just as the fifth (of eight levels) began, I got messages of support regarding a tournament I was apparently playing against Vicky Coren. She had tweeted that she was “Heads up! Just me and Seamus the blogger left” in a Stars tourney. Shortly after, she tweeted that Seamus had won.
Alas, it was a fellow named Seamus McCauley -- also a blogger -- and not me who took down the sucker.
It was right about then we heard the news that a Dutch man named Joran van der Sloot, once a suspect in that 2005 case in which the U.S. teenager Natalee Holloway had disappeared in Aruba, was now suspected of killing a woman in Lima.
Adding to the weirdness of it all, the woman had been killed on May 30 -- the five-year anniversary of Hollaway’s disappearance. Not only that, van der Sloot and the victim apparently met at the Atlantic City Casino, and some of these reports were saying he was in Lima for the LAPT event. Last I heard yesterday, he had fled to Chile and a manhunt was on.
We were knee deep in covering the tourney and so couldn’t really devote much attention to tracking down further details about van der Sloot or the murder. Kind of reminded me of a plane trip Vera and I had taken back in June 1994. We had changed planes in Chicago, then later learned we were there at the same time O.J. Simpson had been. (Recall Simpson had flown to Chicago the night of the murders.)
I imagine we’ll hear a bit more today about the van der Sloot situation, but again I anticipate being occupied with much else. Will certainly be a long day, as the plan is to play down to 24 before we stop. Check in over at the PokerStars blog to follow along.