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LAPT Punta del Este

August 23, 2011

Tags: Buenos Aires, Angel Guillen, Jose Igancio Barbero, LAPT, Latin American Poker Tour, Punta del Este, Uruguay, Argentina, Travel, Tourism, Christian de Leon, Alex .

I just had a nice and relaxing week at home in Melbourne, Australia after a whirlwind trip to Uruguay for the PokerStars.net Latin American Poker Tour in the awesome beachside party town of Punta del Este earlier this month. The LAPT’s are notorious for having fast-paced final tables, but I rarely see one over in less than five hours! That’s what happened when Alex Komolomi entered the final table of eight with 35% of the chips in play. He dominated his way to heads-up in just over three hours, and after a couple of unscheduled breaks and one chip-lead swap that only lasted a few minutes, we had a winner in lightning speed. The great part was that Komolomi was a local, not only being the first Uruguayan LAPT champion, but also winning it on his home turf. He was so nervous after his win that he politely requested he do his interviews after calming down for half an hour! What a sweetheart. As the event was drawing to a close with just the eight players returning for the fourth day of play, we put together a little string of highlights, taking out the hardwork for you if you failed to follow along at the time, rolling all the fun into one video.

The Mantra Resort, where the LAPT was held, was amazing. It is the middle of winter right now and freezing cold in Uruguay, but the sun came out to say hello on one of the days while Christian de Leon was drowning his sorrows after an unsuccessful LAPT. This was my favorite interview of the entire week simply because of the setting. You’ll notice that it’s not a PokerNews video, but actually a PokerStars.tv video, which the team here at PokerNews also produce.

Once the tournament ended it would have been a waste to come all this way and then just go straight home, so I added a couple of days to relax before the long journey back to Australia. Angel Guillen and I headed over to Buenos Aires for two days. I had no idea how amazing that place is. Leo Fernandez said to us one morning when convincing us to go "it's like Paris" at which Angel laughed, but now I understand why he said that. Argentinians are like the French, the walk with so much confidence and are so well dressed - and I didn't see a single overweight person there! Jose Ignacio Barbero took us to his "favourite restaurant in the whole world" - Osaka. It's in the heart of the stunning Palermo area and is a combination of Japanese and Peruvian food. It was incredible! He also recommended Guido's - a little Italian restaurant right by our hotel (across from the zoo so it was a bit of a stinky walk). You don't get given a menu here, you just get fed anything and everything the owner feels like feeding you! As you're sitting down the appetisers are already coming, and all the meals are like home-cooked Nona's specialties. It was so cosy inside, I loved it!

Adios Lima!

April 21, 2011

Tags: LAPT, Tourism, Blog, Travel, Latin American Poker Tour, Miraflores, Peru, Lima, Angel Guillen, Christian de Leon, Nichole Pickering.

I’m writing this as I’m sitting on my third of four flights in my trek out of Lima, Peru, after an awesome week at the PokerStars.net LAPT. As always I had an amazing time. It’s really hard not to with the awesome team PokerStars has both behind the scenes and on the felt, and of course the stunning destinations that each stop takes us to.

This time I was lucky enough to return to the classy little town of Miraflores – one of the most upscale neighborhoods of Lima. My first visit was on a warm and welcomed break from the Rio for a week during the WSOP last year when the LAPT went to Peru for the first time in season three. Of course, that visit was rushed with the need to get back to Las Vegas, so this time around I took the liberty of arriving a day early to really take in the sights around town, as I wrote about last week.

Once the rest of the PokerNews team arrived, including our new Aussie hostess Nichole Pickering for her "initiation," it was straight into Trojan Horse working mode. I was hosting videos for PokerStars.tv that week, and our first shoot was of all the beautiful sights around Mirafloress, which you can check below.

Larcomar is one of my favorite spots in Miraflores,. If you didn’t catch it in the video above, it’s a three-story mall built into the cliff’s edge overlooking the ocean, equipped with shopping, restaurants, cinemas and two of Lima’s best nightclubs. On the eve of the Main Event, I took Team PokerStars Pro Christian De Leon on a little shopping trip. He and fellow Mexican Team Pro Angel Guillen are definitely one of the best-dressed team of pros at the felt. Angel was supposed to join us on this shopping tour but after a late-night snack at the poker table he was bed-ridden with food poisoning. The moral of his story? Don’t order creamy pasta in the middle of the night in some foreign casino’s poker room! So Christian and I had set aside a couple of hours to find him a “Day 2 Shirt.” Little did I know that this man can shop. The first shop we went into was also our last, and we both came out with our hands full.

As I mentioned, Nicki Pickering joined us in Lima for her first-ever gig with PokerNews. Of course, that then required an official initiation with a calling of the clock! You can get to know Nicki a little better in the following “sixty-seconds” – lets face it, I’m a rule-breaker when it comes to the minute-limit in these videos, athough I’m sure many would appreciate it with some of the “post-minute” questions I threw at her.

For a little “team bonding,” Nicki and I decided to enter the LAPT Ladies Event with our iPhones glued to PokerNews and microphones ready to go for break-time interviews, of course. I’m not going to lie; I was pretty impressed with the two of us at the multi-tasking awesomeness that took place over these two hours. The players always seem so pleasantly surprised when they see us actually playing for a change rather than always standing over them. So besides having our Mexican backers railing us, it was also side-bet-central around our table of ladies. Those who had faith in me were deservedly paid off as I managed to make it to the money with a three-way chop. There were only two tables, so it’s nothing to write home about, but obviously I was still excited, seeing as how I managed to not only last longer than Nicki, but I actually knocked her out. That’s what happens when the new girl challenges the old duck!

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