Saturday, March 07, 2015

Travel Report: LAPT8 Chile, Day 1a: Fierro in Front

It was your basic noon-to-midnight run yesterday for Day 1a of the Latin American Poker Tour Chile Main Event.

There were 155 entries for the $2,500 tournament (including reentries), and surely there will be more today. That buy-in is up from last season’s $1,700, meaning the fields will probably be a little smaller although I expect the prize pools to remain comparable if not grow larger.

Early on I had a chance to meet and talk to a Brazilian poker star, Rodrigo Garrido. I’d watched him win the Sunday Million on PokerStars just a few weeks ago, and so it was interesting to discuss that victory with him as well as other things. He was the 2014 Player of the Year for the Brazilian Series of Poker, and perhaps unsurprisingly roared out to a fast start yesterday here, becoming the first player in the room to 100,000 chips.

Another player I’ve watched win a lot online did well yesterday, too -- Nicolas “PKaiser” Fierro of Chile, who just this week moved back to the top of the Pocket Fives global rankings of online players. Whereas Garrido dominated early, Fierro won a couple of big pots late to charge way out in front and end the day chip leader among the 48 making it through to Sunday’s Day 2.

Interestingly, Fierro ended with 197,500 -- the exact amount leader Jefferson Melo ended Day 1a with here last year. (Melo ended up finishing third.)

I mentioned in yesterday’s short post there was a cash game (pictured above). Dubbed a “celebrity cash game,” it included a few poker pros -- Team PokerStars Pros Christian de Leon and Andre Akkari among them -- plus some folks from the entertainment world including television personality Otavio Mesquita and the actor Gonzalo Valenzuela (who actually final-tabled the LAPT Chile Main Event a few years ago).

They weren’t playing for high stakes, but the game was fun nonetheless. It’s one of several new ideas they’re experimenting with on the LAPT this year, with the expansion of the festival schedule (from nine to 13 events) being another.

A “mix-max” event was played yesterday and attracted a decent field of 110 players; coming up will be some non-hold’em events, too, including an intriguing sounding “Dealer’s Choice” PLO event that will allow the button to call each hand whether the game will be straight 4-card PLO or the 5-card version.

Head over to the PokerStars blog today for another round of noon-to-midnight updating and see how many and who else comes out.

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