The exciting Latin America Poker Tour, sponsored by PokerStars.net, just crowned its third winner in Punta del Este, Uruguay. 351 people from all over showed up to play, creating a prize pool of $851,175. The tournament was held at the Mantra Resort and Casino.
93 players survived through Day 1. Notable big stacks after Day 1 were Greg Raymer, Alex Brenes, and Humberto Brenes. Raymer was near the top of the leaderboard all day, despite being sat at the ‘table of death’ with both Vanessa Rousso and Andrew Akkari. Akkari actually ended up busting to Raymer, running his QQ into Raymer’s AA after getting it all in preflop.
Day 2 of the three day event saw many people going for big stacks, and over half the field was eliminated within the first four levels of play. Raymer’s big stack didn’t take him all the way and he ended up crippled after getting it all in with AK versus 66 and losing the flip. He wasn’t able to come back with a short stack and he busted outside the money.
Alex Brenes broke the money bubble on Day 2, out-flopping his opponent’s TT with 88. Humberto Brenes made the money but went no further, eliminated by fellow Team PokerStars player Alexandre Gomes. Another notable bust was that of Vanessa Rousso, who was eliminated in 10th place. Carlos Alberto Curi was the final elimination of Day 2, not quite making it to the 8-person final table. Alexandre Gomes finished the day with the chip lead.
Here were the stacks at the start of Day 3 and the Final Table:
Alexandre Gomes – 763,000 chips
Gylbert Drolet – 691,000 chips
Jose Miguel Espinar – 675,000 chips
Lisandro Gallo – 465,000 chips
Alex Brenes – 457,000 chips
Paulo Cesar Ribeiro – 281,000 chips
Juan Jose Perez – 167,000 chips
Sidney Chreem – 93,000 chips
The final table started out with three very quick eliminations, with Ribeiro being the first to leave after getting it in with JJ versus Espinar’s KQ on a 6KK flop. He took home $17,025 for his 8th place effort. Espinar caused the next elimination, as well, this time with an impressive bad beat. After 3-betting Perez’s early raise with AJ on the button, he called Perez’s push and found himself against AA. It was Espinar’s lucky day, however; he flopped a gutshot straight draw and although Perez made a set on the turn, he hit the gin card on the river. Perez left with $25,535 and a bad taste in his mouth.
Chreem was the third quickie bust at the final table, losing a flip versus Gallo’s 77 with Q9s. He took 6th place and $34,045. Several hours later, Gallo busted another player in another race situation. This time the victim was Drolet, who held JJ and couldn’t hold after Gallo’s AQ flopped the nut flush draw. Drolet won $51,070 for 5th.
Gomes started the day with the chip lead, but he couldn’t hold it and ended up busting in 4th place for $68,100. He got it in after flopping a gutshot straight draw, a flush draw, and even overcards, but he couldn’t hit versus Brenes’s single overcard and open-ended straight draw. Brene hit his straight and Gomes went home.
Two hours went by as the remaining players sat 3-handed. Finally Gallo, sitting with the short stack, was forced to make a move on the button with Q9, but he got unlucky and Brenes had AA in the blinds. Gallo took home a healthy $93,630 for his efforts.
At the start of heads-up play, Espinar had the chip lead:
Espinar: 1,993,000 chips
Brenes: 1,528,000 chips
Heads-up lasted for a very long time, as neither player wanted to make a big mistake and an impressive $241,735 was at stake! They played for so long that they ended up at the tournament’s final blind level, at the point where there were no further scheduled blind increases. When it finally came for a cooler, Brenes was at the short end of the stick, holding A9 versus Espinar’s AT. At this point Brenes found himself crippled, and he ended up pushing his very own AT the very next hand. Espinar called with K3s, flopped top pair with a flush draw, and it held to eliminate Brenes in 2nd place. Brenes won $126,625 for 2nd and Espinar, as the winner, won $241,735.
Congratulations to Espinar for winning the third event of the Latin America Poker Tour. He has only been playing poker for a year, and this is his first major tournament win. $241,735 is quite an impressive first victory!