There is big, and there is the Latin American Poker Tour event in Sao Paulo. There is huge and there is the record-breaking Day 1 of this Season 4 kick-off. There's every other event that's ever happened on the LAPT, and there's what happened today.
For the first time in LAPT history, the starting field size broke the 400 barrier. And then it broke the 500 barrier.
At final count this afternoon, 536 players had signed up to absolutely crush the previous record of 394 runners. This was not only the first time the LAPT had visited this biggest city of the southern hemisphere. It was also the day the LAPT started laying waste to its own records.
When our heads cleared at the end of the day, Argentina's Leandro Csome was leading the pack with 271,000. Word on the street is the guy has won the last two tournaments he's entered. His friends are already calling him "Hat Trick," which may seem a little presumptuous, but, hey, the guy has the chip lead at the end of a record-breaking Day 1, so let's give him a break, huh?
Csome still has three days to go, and, in all fairness, there are still more than a few people left headed to Day 2. At this hour, it appears there are around 170 players still hoping to knock Csome off his throne. If we haven't mentioned it yet, this was sort of a big field.
So, an oft asked question: how big is it? The short answer: huge. The long answer is as follows.
With 536 players in the field, there is a R$ 2,391,630 prize pool ready to be awarded to the top 64 finishers. Winners will walk away with a minimum of R$ 9,570. The champion will pocket R$ 615,840. If you're not reading from Brazil or don't typically pay your bills in Brazilian Reals, the exchange rate currently sits at at approximately 1 Real = .6 USD. If our math is correct, that means the victor will pull in somewhere in the neighborhood of $370,586.11 American. Looking back at past statistics, only one LAPT winner (Season 2 Grand Final champ Dominik Nitsche) has won more. He picked up $381,030. However, it should be pointed out, the buy-in for that tournament was $5,200 USD and the field was only 291 strong. Also, due to the vagaries of field size and payout percentages, the prize pool in Nitsche's event was also less than this main event.
So, the upshot of all of it is this: The 536 players in the LAPT Sao Paulo main event is by far the biggest field in LAPT history. It is also carries the biggest prize pool in the four seasons of the LAPT. The winner of this event will be the second-biggest winner since LAPT began (and only by a small margin). So, again...it's huge.
Of the 536 entries into this event, a whopping 325 of them hail from Brazil. More than 60% of this field is playing on home turf. No other country has more than 5% of the field. That brings up an interesting point. No Brazilian has ever won an LAPT event. With 60% of the field, can Brazil finally pull in a win? To do it, they are going to have to do something about that Csome character. Hailing from Argentina, he's the fly in the Brazilian ointment tonight.
In this big field, there was many a Team PokerStars Pro to come and go. The fallen include Andre Akkari, Leo Fernandez, Alex Gomes, Gualter Salles, and Joao Nunes. Still carrying the flag of the big red spade are the likes of Maria Mayrinck (36,800 chips), Humberto Brenes (55,100), Christian de Leon (31,600), Angel Guillen (16,300), and Nacho Barbero (75,700). It bears mentioning that Barbero won two of these things last year (not to metion almost everything else he played), so Brazil may have him with which to contend, too.
And, so, it was a day that went from huge to just merely very, very big. It's all chronicled here in time-stamped, irreverent, occasionally-cheeky, but ultimately accurate form:
For some more stories from the day, check out this video, featuring a fairly disheveled yours truly.
To be frank, that's all we have for the night. Somewhere there sits a concrete slab on which to rest our bones. You'll find us there until duty calls again here at the Sheraton.
All photos © Carlos Monti