Friday, August 05, 2011

Travel Report: 2011 LAPT Punta del Este, Day 1

Saloa de PokerWas a relatively smooth day, reporting-wise, at LAPT Punta del Este yesterday. A day of running around.

The event attracted 422 players. Or “runners,” as they say. Well above what many were predicting based on the 307 who came the last time the tour stopped at this east coast city.

That big field meant we were racing all over the Mantra casino, covering the main poker room and an additional room downstairs, plus two more rooms full of players on an upper level. So up the stairs we went. And back down. And back up again. And back down again.

As it happened, all of the PokerStars team pros busted out by the end of the day, meaning that over on the PokerStars blog we’ll be refocusing our attention on everyone else going forward. Which is just fine, as a few personalities have already started to emerge among the 188 who made it to today’s Day 2, and other stories will surely come up as play continues today.

I say the reporting went well yesterday, although I will add that as the day wore on our attentions began to be affected somewhat by a simple, basic human need -- hunger.

I mentioned yesterday how we find ourselves without many options nearby, our hotel located on a mostly desolate highway running alongside the beach. Our hotel did provide a nominal breakfast (bread and coffee), but we’d had no lunch when play began. We then pushed through all eight levels without a dinner break, and without any drinks or snacks to sustain us we were friggin’ famished by the time all the day’s loose ends were tied.

The Mantra casino has but two restaurants, and so sometime after 10 p.m. a group of us landed at one of them for what turned out to be a very good, leisurely-paced meal. Salad, steak, and cheesecake for your humble scribbler, all delish. On the expensive side -- as most everything is here -- but actually fairly priced given the quality of the eats.

The meal took something like two-and-a-half hours, which pushed us past midnight. A shuttle back to our hotel was supposed to run until 1 a.m., so we weren’t too concerned. However, after we got to the lobby and waited a half-hour, it was obvious no shuttle was coming for us, so we ended up cabbing it back.

At one point while we were waiting for the non-existant shuttle, Mickey got a laugh from me by ducking into the revolving door to exit, taking a tiny lap, then walking back inside.

“How metaphorical,” I said to Mickey upon his reentry.

The dealers arriveIt was a lot of running around yesterday. And most of it in circles. And we find ourselves this morning back where we started. The dealers have arrived and are preparing for the day’s play.

Soon we’ll be watching hands again, following the action go around the tables. And around and around.

Fun circles in which to be traveling, though.

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