Monday, June 07, 2010

Travel Report: LAPT Lima, Departure

Latin American Poker TourBack in Vegas I am. Broiling. Up around 105˚ today, with the hot, hot winds making it feel as though you’re walking into a hair dryer. Quite a change from Lima, where it was overcast all week with temps in the upper 60˚s for most of our time there.

I arrived at McCarran early this morning after flying all night, then slept away most of the day here at the home away from home. I’ll be back on the floor at the Rio soon, but thankfully have a little space first to recover and regroup before rejoining my colleagues at PokerNews to help cover the WSOP.

Was a lazy day in Lima yesterday. I managed to do some walking around, heading back down to the Larcomar mall area and its immediate environs. Aside from a few places selling crafts, the mall is essentially made up of stores and restaurants that aren’t any different from what you find in yr average U.S. mall.

Still, it was fun to get out and be among the families and others enjoying a weekend afternoon. (Click pics for enlarged view.)

When walking around the mall area, I did experience what seemed like it must have been a pick-pocketing attempt. A woman ran into me from behind and basically hugged me before moving away with a “lo siento.” If it were a theft attempt, it came up empty as in such situations I tend to go front-pockets-only with whatever items I might be carrying.

As Otis noted over on Rapid Eye Reality, the police presence was significant everywhere I went, with at least a couple on each corner and often more. So if it were a try for my wallet, it was perhaps a bit bold.

Then again, I am quite huggable.

Walked around for perhaps an hour or so, stopping frequently to gaze out on the west coast of South America.

I shopped a bit for gifts, then made my way back to the hotel. By early evening Otis and I were in a cab to the Jorge Chávez International Airport.

We parted once we got inside, as he was on a different airline with a different destination. I made it all the way through to the gate without incident, other than having unexpectedly to pay $31 for an “airport fee.” That’s the charge for international flights (it is less for domestic, I think), and it must be paid in cash. Was there a couple of hours early and so grabbed a sandwich and hopped on the free wi-fi to follow the end of the Celts-Lakers as well as Tom “durrrr” Dwan’s final table.

Then I went over to my gate and waited with Lynn of PokerNews and Jacob Baumgartner, the end-of-day-1 chip leader at LAPT Lima Peru and eventual 19th-place finisher. He and I talked about his career thus far, including his huge score in the $530 buy-in no-limit hold’em heads up WCOOP event last fall. Baumgartner took second in that one to Eugene “Myrabbifoo” Katchalov, earning a cool $120,000 after an end-of-event chop.

The three of us chatted with a few other travelers as well, including a friendly woman whom I eventually found out -- after the others had been called to board the plane -- was a novelist, about to embark on a publicity tour for her most recent book. She asked lots of questions of each of us about the whole poker thing, expressing incredulity (partially feigned, I decided later) at the idea that Baumgartner was making a living playing.

“Does your mother know what you’re doing?” she asked Baumgartner, who laughed in response. He did a good job explaining his own story and how it is indeed possible for some -- not many -- to be poker pros.

“When is the next tournament?” was her next question. “Tomorrow,” was his reply, and it was Lynn and me laughing this time. Indeed, his plan was to sleep on the plane, then enter that $1,500 short-handed NLHE event (No. 16) that began at noon today.

My next tournament won’t be until Wednesday. Should be good one, the $10,000 buy-in Event No. 19, the 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship (No-Limit), attracting a lot of big names. Meanwhile, I’ll be catching up on the last week of WSOP action, including reviewing Tom “durrrr” Dwan’s near-miss last night at a bracelet -- and cashing in on side bets that sounded like they exceeded what the Main Event winner is going to get.

All in all a fun, interesting week.

Travel Report: LAPT Lima, Arrival
Travel Report: LAPT Lima, Pregame
Travel Report: LAPT Lima, Day 1
Travel Report: LAPT Lima, Day 2
Travel Report: LAPT Lima, Day 3
Travel Report: LAPT Lima, Day 4

Thanks for your patience during my detour below the equator. WSOP reports return tomorrow!

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