Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Travel Report: LAPT9 Panama, Day 4 -- On the Big Stage

The last day of the Latin American Poker Tour Panama Main Event turned out to be a bit longer and more exciting than I’d anticipated.

The eight-handed final table started at noon and didn’t end until after 11 p.m., which means it went on considerably longer than normally happens in these LAPT finales. And there was some intrigue, too, thanks to how things played out.

There were three Americans at this final table, something I can’t remember happening at any LAPT I’ve ever been to, and I’m sure hasn’t happened since Black Friday. One, Alcides Gomez, was the short stack and busted early, but Austin Peck (who finished fourth) and Aaron Mermelstein (who took third) both appeared as though they had as good a chance as anyone to win.

Heads-up was kind of wild, too, with Ruben Suarez (from Venezuela) and Andres Carrillo (from Colombia) battling kind of fiercely despite having shallow stacks. At one point Carrillo folded to a big Suarez bluff when calling would have essentially given him the win, something that appeared might have rattled him a little with the loud rail of Venezuelans not helping matters for him.

But Carrillo managed to hang on and eventually win in the end, prompting another enthusiastic celebration among his supporters. You can read a recap of how it all played out on the PokerStars blog.

The set-up for reporting was kind of ideal, as we were situated up on a stage looking over the final table below, making it easy both to see all of the action and to remain out of the way. Of course, if you were just passing by it might have looked like we were the show, being up on stage as we were. There a shot up top -- done in b/w by the great Carlos Monti -- giving you an idea. You can see another photo of me illustrating my partner Will O’Connor’s post-tourney recap on his blog, too.

To the left is another photo Will took of me, Reinaldo, Sergio, and Carlos -- actually four of them taken with a camera Reinaldo had. Would be a good album cover for our band, I’d think. And it really does feel like a band sometimes, and it was great fun having Will playing along as well this time.

We’d talked about playing some poker after everything was done which would’ve been fun, but things ended too late and some of us had to get up early this morning, so we skipped it.

Day of travel ahead. Was another fun trip but after working two in a row like this I’m more than anxious to get back to the farm. Talk to you again from there.

Photo: courtesy Carlos MontiPokerStars blog.

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