Thursday, May 12, 2016

Travel Report: LAPT9 Panama, Arrival -- Ain’t That a Kick in the Head

I write today from hot, nearly-sweltering Panama City where I’ll be situated for the next several days helping cover the Latin American Poker Tour Panama Main Event.

The flights down to Miami and then to the Tocumen International Airport in Panama were both smooth and on time. They took a little longer than I remembered from a couple of years ago, but I was in no rush.

In fact on the second leg I was able to watch all of the original Ocean’s 11, the one from 1960 starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop of the “Rat Pack” along with several other recognizables. A fun time-filler (I’d never seen it before), featuring a kind of hilarious ending that jarred with my memory of having seen the remake some time back.

Love the constant stream of hipster lingo in the flick, a lot of which overlaps with “hard-boiled”-type chatter. Dean Martin kind of steals it, I think -- I didn’t even mind hearing him sing “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” three or four times. Also dug Cesar Romero a lot as the scheme-spoiling Duke Santos.

Got my shuttle to the Sortis Hotel, Spa & Casino and was checked in a little after 9 p.m. local time. The LAPT moved its Panama series to the Sortis last year, so when I came in 2014 we were in a different location. This is a brand-spanking new place, only going up a couple of years ago, and it still has that “new casino” feel.

I’m reminded a little of covering an event at the Sands Bethlehem back in late 2012 not long after it had opened up -- everything shiny and in perfect working order, and lots of examples of the latest and greatest when it comes to accommodations.

Met up with my buddy Sergio and got to meet Will O’Connor, my blogging partner-in-crime for this trip, whom I already know will help make the trip a fun one. Have been going solo on these LAPT excursions for a long while now (for the last 3-4 years or so), which makes it’s great to have someone to team up with for the long days and nights.

We three had dinner in the sportsbook here, then I was able to get back to the room at a decent hour to rest up for the days to come. Our plan here will be less elaborate than the one Danny and his boys cooked up in the movie -- just a straightforward, day-by-day accounting of what happens in this tournament over the next five days. Start checking the PokerStars blog today to see how we pull it off.

Image: Ocean’s 11 (1960), Amazon.

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