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When you travel to an event like LAPT5 Colombia, the poker predominates. This is, first and foremost, a poker tournament. Everybody's here to plunk down $2500 for the Main Event (and more, perhaps, in side events) to try to win a six-figure chunk of money in one fell swoop.
But if poker were the only reason to come to an event like LAPT5 Colombia, poker tournaments wouldn't be as successful as they are. There's a social component to poker, a rather large social component, and the people met and friends made are just as important a part of these events. There is as much time for socializing away from the table and having mini-adventures in the exotic locales that host LAPT stops.
And so it was that tonight PokerStars Portuguese-language blogger Sergio Prado and I found ourselves considering our dinner options near the Casino Allegre. I suppose there's someone out there who might not like Sergio, but that person's probably a jerk. Multiple LAPT events across several years have demonstrated that Sergio is definitely one of "The Good Guys" in the world. It's always a pleasure to be able to share a meal or a beer with him. Or both.
There's a food court in the back of the Premium Plaza shopping center that houses Casino Allegre. Sergio decided he wanted pasta for dinner, which was definitely a healthier choice than most of the rest of the food that we could have eaten. We perused the menus at three pasta places before doubling back and settling on the second of the three, a small counter called Dezeo.
The cashier was a tall Colombian guy in his 20s with a penchant for speaking quickly. He saw Sergio's black PokerStars polo and asked why Sergio was wearing it. Sergio, ever the friendly guy, explained that we were in Medellin for the LAPT tournament at Casino Allegre.
The cashier stealthily lifted his left hand from behind the cash register, revealing that he was holding an iPhone -- on which he was playing poker on PokerStars. He told us he spends most nights playing $1.50 sit-n-go's in between customers. Cash games, I imagine, might be too stressful if a sudden stream of customers diverts the cashier's attention from his phone. $1.50 SNGs give him something to play for, but nothing to be too concerned about if he has to abandon ship mid-tournament.
And he did get busy after we ordered. A line of customers formed behind Sergio and me as we placed our orders, some of whom were refugees from the tournament themselves, looking to grab a bite to eat before heading back to the casino for the four post-dinner levels. Our poor cashier was forced to cast his $1.50 to the wind as he rushed to fill the dinner orders of a dozen hungry people.
If there had been more time and slightly different circumstances, Sergio and I probably would have gotten to know quite a bit more about our pasta cashier. And he us. That's what poker this silly little social game of poker does. It brings people together, some of them perhaps thousands of miles away from their homes.
Without that social glue, poker would just be a bunch of people slinging chips around.
CHIP LEADER OF THE HOUR
Say hello to Brazilian player Rafael Moraes. He's our post-dinner chip leader with 115,000. That's quite a change from Level 4, when Moraes had but 4,000 chips in his stack. He's today's answer to Day 1a's Ivan Freitez.
"The chips are falling in my lap," said Moraes.
THREE-WAY ALL IN OF THE HOUR
All the way in the back of the room, three short(ish) stacks got the chips into the middle pre-flop, aces versus kings versus ace-queen. Do aces ever win this hand? They didn't here, as a king flopped.
OFFICIAL NUMBER OF THE HOUR
The official number of the hour is 284,700,000, which represents the 1st-place prize, in Colombian Pesos, that the winner of this tournament will receive. Converted to U.S. Dollars, that's about $159,000.