Monday, March 24, 2014

Travel Report: LAPT7 Chile, Day 4 -- Crashing and Barking

The fourth day -- final table day -- was the shortest, as often happens on the Latin American Poker Tour (and elsewhere). The long, three-hour final table bubble the day before at Viña del Mar had created several short stacks, and indeed most would bust early as eight players quickly became five and then two.

The rapid pace slowed a bit at five-handed as the remaining players took a half-hour to discuss a deal that never materialized. Then after one more knockout a deal was swiftly reached, with two more busts happening immediately thereafter to set up heads-up play between Rodrigo Perez of Chile and Mario Lopez of Argentina with Perez enjoying a better than 3-to-1 chip lead to start their duel.

Looked for a moment like heads-up play might only last a single hand as both players were dealt aces and got all of Lopez’s stack in straight away. But Lopez had the better kicker and his hand held up, and soon he drew even and then pulled ahead of the Chilean.

They’d go at it for about an hour-and-a-half before Lopez finally finished the deal to pick up the $22K or so that had been set aside for the winner after the four-way deal. In the end both he and Perez walked away with about $120K each from the $915K-ish prize pool. (Melo the muscle man, referenced yesterday, finished third.)

After all the loose-end-tying was done, Sergio and I again were able to enjoy a very nice dinner in which I again went for the seafood dish -- swordfish, this time -- followed by a super sweet ice cream-based dessert dish featuring several kinds of chocolate.

During dinner I checked the scrolling score updating the UNC-Iowa State NCAA tilt, thereby learning the Heels’ season has concluded. I had hastily filled out a bracket on Thursday morning and in fact had UNC losing their first game to Providence (which nearly happened), so for them to get as far as they did wasn’t too disappointing. And, of course, there was the added pleasure of seeing that Dook fell dramatically to Mercer in their first tourney game, which was delightful.

Got to bed at a decent hour although didn’t sleep all that well, mostly just from being restless about another long bit of travel coming up today, I think. While laying awake for part of the night I realized there had been two constants when it came to the soundtrack of my week in Chile, essentially playing at all times although I hadn’t always noticed thanks to other distractions filling my noggin’.

One was the waves, constantly crashing against the shore not too far from my hotel. Earlier in the week I managed to fashion a Pablo Neruda post along the way, noting the Chilean poet’s preoccupation with the ocean. It’s hard not to be so preoccupied with the soothing ambient noise filling all of the quiet spaces up and down the long Pacific coast.

The other was the sounds of dogs barking. As I have already mentioned this week, they’re on every corner, on the beach, everywhere. Often laying about and restful, sometimes they’re spurred to comment on goings-on around them.

One day this week I laughed when seeing a runner on the sidewalk with a leashed dog passing the same canine quartet I’d photographed the day before. All four suddenly sprang into action to chase the intruders to the next intersection, seemingly barking notice that the block was theirs.

The dogs’ night barking wasn’t so bothersome, really, and while it wasn’t so permanent as the sound of the waves it was still a frequent accompaniment.

Am heading to the airport later this afternoon for another overnight flight back, and so may do some more walking -- and perhaps even running, too -- before I leave. One last chance to commune a little with the waves and the dogs.

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