Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Travel Report: 2011 LAPT Lima, Arrival

Lima, PeruGood afternoon, peoples. I have safely wound my way back to the bottom half of the globe, returning once again to Lima, Peru where I’ll be helping cover the Latin American Poker Tour Lima Main Event over the next four days for the PokerStars blog.

Was looking back a little today at the last time we were here, when Jose “Nacho” Barbero bested a field of 384 to win. While doing so I was reminded of a big hand that took place involving Barbero near the final table bubble when just 11 players remained.

The Argentinian had opened with a raise, was reraised by the American Chris Conrad, then four-bet shoved all-in. Conrad tanked, then called with AcQd, forcing a sheepish Barbero to reveal the hand with which he’d gotten so randy -- and with which he’d now had put his tourney life on the line -- 8c4s!

Sound familiar? Sort of resembles a hand from earlier this week that got some attention from the NAPT Mohegan Sun (at which the final table is ongoing right now). You’ve heard about that one? In which Vanessa Selbst five-bet shoved with 8-4 against an opponent who called with pocket aces, then fortunately rivered a straight to win what I assume was a largish pot. Same hand as Barbero’s, although Selbst was the one putting the other player all in. (Her hand was also suited).

LAPTLike Selbst, luck was on Barbero’s side, too, as he spiked an eight on the river to double-up and then eventually go on to win the sucker, a back-to-back for Barbero as he had just won the previous LAPT event at Punta del Este, Uruguay. Interestingly, Selbst, too, is gunning for a back-to-back after her victory at the NAPT Mohegan Sun last year. (As I type, Selbst is still in with just three players left.)

Speaking of coincidences, the trip to the hotel this morning featured a somewhat grim one.

Last year we arrived in Lima shortly after news had broken that Joran van der Sloot, the prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba, was suspected of killing another woman, Stephany Tatiana Flores Ramírez, here in Lima. He was caught over in Chile shortly after our arrival, and I believe is presently in a Lima prison. That murder took place on May 30th, the fifth-year anniversary of Holloway’s disappearance.

On the cab ride in from the airport this morning, Dr. Pauly and I discovered death had preceded our arrival once again. As we drove along the western coast we saw some police tape and a dozen or so law-enforcement types circling a scene over on the left-hand side on the road. Some poor soul had fallen the 300 feet or so to his death, and the cabbie (whom we guessed might have been by the scene more than once already) noted that in fact two people had fallen.

That picture above (which I took last June) shows how the steep cliffs run right up against the coastline. We aren’t that far from the ocean, but don’t worry... we have no plans to do any running around up there!

'Dirty Spanish'Spent the afternoon hanging out with the always cool Reinaldo (of PokerStarsblog.la) and Pauly at the sportsbook at the Atlantic City casino. The three of us put a few soles apiece on underdog Tottenham Hotspur, then watched ‘em fight gamely but ultimately lose 1-0 to Real Madrid. The afternoon wasn‘t a total loss, however, as Reinaldo and I both learned a lot from this helpful Spanish phrase book Pauly brought.

We stuck around the Atlantic City a little longer to reunite with several LAPT and PokerStars folks before heading back to our hotel to rest up a little. Indeed, I’m going on about 36 hours here without any real snoozin’ to speak of, so I think I might rest my peepers for a while before we head over to the welcoming party. More to come!

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