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2011 LAPT Punta del Este Day 1: Perez Leads the Way

Juan Jose Perez

The PokerStars Latin American Poker Tour returned to Punta del Este, Uruguay, on Thursday for the 2011 LAPT Punta del Este. The Mantra Resort is host to the LAPT for a fourth consecutive season and this year had the biggest turnout of all. A field of 422 showed up to play, creating a prize pool of $941,480 and first-place prize of $244,720. Only 188 remain, and at the top of the counts after eight levels on Day 1 is Juan Jose Perez with 197,500.

For much of the day, Perez quietly amassed a stack in the back of the main room. It was not until Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez arrived at his table during the final level of the day when the rest of the room took notice. The two tangled in a pot, and although it was by no means the biggest pot, it sure was a good way for Perez to head into Day 2. He limped in from early position and another played involved shoved for 15,100. Fernandez, short-stacked and in the small blind, called all-in for 6,700. Perez also called, putting both players at risk, but was behind with {5-Hearts}{5-Spades} against Fernandez's {A-Clubs}{A-Spades} and the other player's {Q-Diamonds}{Q-Hearts}. Perez was happy to see the board roll out {6-Hearts}{5-Clubs}{3-Diamonds}{2-Hearts}{K-Hearts} to score the double knockout.

Fernandez was not the only member of Team PokerStars to have a tough go of it on Day 1. All six of the Team PokerStars Pros failed to reach Day 2. Defending Champion Jose “Nacho” Barbero was the first to bust. Barbero never gained traction on Day 1 and eventually succumbed when a race situation did not go in his favor. With {K-Spades}{Q-Hearts}, Barbero found himself all-in against {J-Diamonds}{J-Spades}. It was about as bad as it could get for the Season 3 LAPT Punta del Este Champion when the flop came out {J-Clubs}{3-Diamonds}{3-Spades}. Barbero needed running queens of kings to survive, but that was not the case when the {8-Hearts} turn and {7-Hearts} river fell.

Angel Guillén was another member of Team PokerStars to hit the rail on Day 1. With pocket tens, Guillén nailed a {10-Hearts}{2-Hearts}{2-Clubs} flop, getting his chips into the middle against {A-Spades}{A-Clubs}. The {J-Diamonds} landed on the turn and it was at this point when another player at the table commented that he laid down the {A-Hearts} preflop. The {A-Diamonds}, though, popped off on the river to end Guillén's tournament with a brutal one-outer. Christian de León, Gualter Salles, and Greg DeBora were the other Team PokerStars Pros to make the trip Uruguay, but won't be back for Day 2.

Play resumes at 1200 UYT (0800 PDT) on Friday and the goal of the day will be to reach the final 24 players. Our Live Reporting Team will be back on the floor to keep you up to date on everything that happens.

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