We’re in Punta del Este, the small resort city with a population of somewhere around 20,000 where the Latin American Poker Tour Uruguay festival is playing out at the Conrad Punte del Este Resort & Casino. The city is itself located on the southern coast of the country, comprising some of the inland area and a little peninsula that juts out into the water.
The Conrad (where we’re staying) is located on the west side of the peninsula, on what is called Playa Mansa (or Mansa Beach). Not far from the coast is a small, oblong-shaped land mass called Gorriti island covered over with greenery. Between the coast and the island is what is essentially a still, calm bay with little or no waves, and the sand on the beach is thick and yellowish.
Meanwhile the east side of the peninsula is Playa Brava (or Brava Beach), which is directly exposed to the Atlantic (i.e., without an island out there blocking the water). Thus the waves are a lot more evident crashing along the shoreline made up of finer, whitish sand and lots of rocks and shells.
Mansa means “tame” while Brava means “fierce,” words that describe the character of the water on either side. In between them is the Puerto de Punta del Este where lots of boats of varying sizes dock with a few restaurants, a yacht club, and other things to see. It’s one of the bigger ports around on this part of the continent.
Hoping on the day we leave to go explore all of this a little, including the great sculpture on the Brava side of the giant hand sticking up out of the sand, La Mano de Punta del Este, which anyone who comes to Punta del Este typically remembers as a distincitive feature of the place.
Sitting in between the “Mansa” and the “Brava” reminds me a little of what it’s often like at the poker table when caught between an aggressive and a passive player. You’d like for the more brava one to be on your right, meaning you have position on that player most of the time. Then again, it’s sometimes frustrating having a mansa or passive player on your left who seems to stick around with calls every time you try to bet or raise.
You have to adjust, whatever the seating assignments happen to be. Kind of like here in Punta you can just walk over from one beach to the other, should you prefer either the tame waters or the fierce waves.
Today it was the Argentinian Pedro Claus proving most successful at negotiating his way through Day 3, and he’ll carry the chip lead to the eight-handed final table tomorrow. Six of the eight are from Argentina, not too surprising given how 25 of the final 32 were from the neighboring country. The other two are from Brazil, the other country bordering Uruguay.
Neither Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez (who finished 29th) nor two-time LAPT winner Mario Lopez (who finished 14th) were able to make it to the final table island without crashing first.
Play gets going at 12 noon. Sail over to the PokerStars blog to find out which man wins the last mano.
Image: Google maps.