Monday, November 30, 2015

Travel Report: LAPT8 Brazil, Day 4 -- A Sizable Bridge, a Small Bet, and Saying Bye

It’s a wrap. Yuri Martins, probably Brazil’s most successful online player, won the Latin American Poker Tour Grand Final in São Paulo on Sunday. It’s the biggest live score for Martins, and came at the end of an often interesting final table. In fact, there was one hand that was so interesting it turned out to be too strange to be true.

Afonse Henrique, also of Brazil (São Paulo, in fact), had led most of the day after starting the final table with a small chip lead over a couple of others, including Martins. In fact, at one point after a couple of hours’ worth of play Henrique actually had more than half of the total chips with eight players still left -- up around 6.5 million when the next highest had only about 1.5 million. Not sure I’ve seen that happen at a final table before (not live, anyway).

At the start of heads-up, though, Martins had scored the most recent two knockouts to take over the lead. Then Henrique earned a big double-up and after chipping up some more had Martins on the ropes, but the latter climbed back again.

At a lot of final tables reporters end up relying on live streams to follow the action as it isn’t always feasible to be near the table. Such was the case here, and my buddy Reinaldo (blogging in Spanish for the PokerStars blog) and I were kind of amazed to see one heads-up hand play out the way it did. Or seem to, that is.

I won’t narrate all the particulars, but the key bit of weirdness came when Martins appeared to have just 120,000 behind with about 5 million in the middle, then on the turn bet his last chips. Then Henrique folded, which seemed especially odd given the more than 40-to-1 pot odds being offered on a call.

It reminded me of playing for pennies online back in the day, where such hands would actually happen sometimes. You’d bet your last three cents into a four-dollar pot, and somehow your opponent would fold. As it turned out, they had things miscalculated somewhat on the stream -- Martins bet 1.2 million and earned the fold, not just 120,000 -- something we confirmed after following up. We had to find out for sure, it just seemed too strange to be believed.

It made me think of a post I’d written here several years ago about how sometimes exceedingly weird plays happen in tournaments, and when they do the reporter is in a tricky spot because even though true the report’s accuracy will necessarily be doubted. (Can’t put my finger on that post right now, but if I do I’ll come back and link here.)

Was still kind of an interesting fold, but not as wacky as it had seemed before. In any case, the hand was something of a momentum-shifter, and it wasn’t that long before Martins took the sucker down.

I actually was able to get out a little before play began on Sunday, walking about and snapping a few photos although there wasn’t too much to see. There is one of the photos above, of the nearby 453-foot tall Octavio Frias de Oliveira bridge that spans the Pinheiros River.

Lots of mopeds and bicyclists, lots of graffiti, lots of construction (and what looked like downed power lines, although I doubt they were live), and lots of clouds. In fact it began storming pretty hard just after I got back to the hotel, luckily missing getting doused.

Got done early enough to have one last nice dinner with Reinaldo and Sergio (who blogs in Portuguese and handles media coordinator duties, too). We snapped one last shot before leaving the Golden Hall, with the tables still ragin’ full on with the BSOP Millions having several days left to go.

Flying all day Monday. Check back through the PokerStars blog for those last reports from Brazil, and I’ll talk to you again from back in North America.

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