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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

LAPT Punta del Este Title Attained by Spain

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The third stop of the inaugural Latin American Poker Tour has wrapped up in the beautiful resort town of Punta del Este in Uruguay, and Spanish player Jose Miguel Espinar has claimed victory. He is taking $241,735 back to Valencia, Spain, along with another LAPT title for the European contingent.

It has been an exciting start to the PokerStars-sponsored LAPT, beginning its first season in May when Julien Nuijten from Holland took down the first event in Rio de Janiero. Several weeks later, Valdemar Kwaysser from Hungary scored a victory in the San Jose, Costa Rica tournament, which was the second stop on the LAPT. And with the conclusion of the third event and Espinar’s win, it seems that European players succeeded in dominating Season 1 of the LAPT.

The LAPT Punta del Este was to be the last stop on the tour and held at the Mantra resort, spa, and casino location in the La Barra region of the Uruguay town. The tournament was a $2,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em event that would wrap in just three days. When all of the players were counted, the final number of entrants was 351, and it was confirmed that the top 33 players would be paid with the winner receiving $241,735.

Numerous pros were in attendance, like Team PokerStars Pros Greg Raymer, Barry Greenstein, Chad Brown, Vanessa Rousso, Humberto Brenes, and Alexandre Gomes. Humberto’s brother Alex Brenes was also in the field, along with Brandon Cantu, veterans Max and Maria Stern, and WSOP main event final table player David “Chino” Rheem. And Vlademar Kwaysser, the LAPT Costa Rican champion, was hoping to grab what would be a fantastically impressive second LAPT title.

Day 1 came to an end after nine levels had been played and many players had been sent to the rail. Only 95 remained, and two of the top ten were well-known players – Alex Brenes sat in fourth place with 104,600 in chips, and Greg Raymer held his own for Team PokerStars Pros with 73,800. And glad to have a chance at another day in the tournament were Humberto Brenes, Alexandre Gomes, and Vanessa Rousso.

Day 2 had the potential to be a long one, as the intention was to play down to the final eight players of the tournament. While the action seemed to move at a steady pace during the first part of the day, it slowed quite a bit as the money bubble approached. Finally, it burst after five hours, and with a few more eliminations, one player stood out as the clear chip leader after knocking Humberto Brenes from the game – Alexandre Gomes. Straight from winning a WSOP bracelet this summer, he was determined to show that he was looking for another title.

Just entering the twelfth hour of play for the day, not including the dinner break, it happened, and the final eight were set. With two notable players, one of whom was a Team PokerStars Pro, and two other players who were PokerStars qualifiers, the official final table chip counts were as follows:

Alexandre Gomes (Brazil) 763,000
Gylbert Drolet (Canada) 691,000
Jose Miguel Espinar (Spain) 675,000
Lisandro Gallo (Argentina) 465,000
Alex Brenes (Costa Rica) 457,000
Paulo Cesar Ribeiro (Brazil) 281,000
Juan Jose Perez (Argentina) 167,000
Sidney Chreem (Brazil) 93,000

The third and final day of the Punta del Este stop of the LAPT began shortly after 1pm local time on Saturday, August 9th. Within the first 15 minutes of play, the tournament’s first elimination had been recorded. As Espinar took control of the table and began a particular hand with a raise, Ribeiro took the opportunity to reraise, which received a call from Espinar. After a flop of K-K-6, Ribeiro bet, Espinar came over the top all-in, and Ribeiro called and was covered. Espinar showed K-Q for trips, and the pocket Jacks of Ribeiro were no good. The board didn’t help, and Paulo Ribeiro was out in 8th place with $17,025.

Within another few minutes, it would be another contest involving the aggressive Espinar, this time alongside Juan Jose Perez, who was all-in pre-flop with pocket Aces. Espinar called with only A-J, but the board was on his side and gave him the Q-10-2-A-K for the straight. Perez was gone in 7th place for $25,535.

Still within the first hour of the final table action, the extreme short-stacked player at the table, Sidney Chreem, shoved all-in pre-flop. Lisandro Gallo reraised to isolate, which succeeded, and he turned over pocket 7’s. Chreem had the Q-9, and though the flop of 10-10-8 looked promising, the turn and river were blanks and signaled the end of Chreem’s run. He took 6th place and $34,045 for his efforts.

Nearing the end of the first hour, Espinar was the clear chip leader with over 1.1 million in chips, while everyone else trailed by at least 300K. And though Espinar kept his lead for the second hour of play, it was Gomes that took some slight hits and Drolet who dropped the most to become the new short stack.

Though Drolet hung on for awhile, he finally pushed all-in pre-flop to a raise by Gallo. After everyone else folded, Gallo showed A-Q, and Drolet turned up pocket Jacks. The board brought four clubs, and Gallo was fortunate to have the Ace of clubs in his hand to give him the flush. Drolet left the tournament in 5th place with $51,070.

The next battle came down after a flop of 6-4-3, and Gomes and Brenes pushed, though Brenes had approximately only 65K more in chips to cover his opponent. Brenes had A-5, and Gomes showed Q-7. Though a 7 came on the river to give Gomes top pair, it completed Brenes’ straight, and the river didn’t help Gomes, who was gone in 4th place for a $68,100 prize.

Awhile later, Gallo and Espinar saw a flop of 10-6-2, then a turn of J, which prompted Espinar to bet and Gallo to raise all-in. Espinar called and was covered by only 10K. He showed A-J, and Gallo acknowledged his 8-6. The river brought another Jack for Espinar, and he left Gallo with practically nothing. Gallo was then all-in on the big blind, and though he doubled up twice in a row, he still finally moved in with Q-9 but found that Brenes had pocket Aces that time. Gallo took his leave in 3rd place with $93,630.

Heads-up play began at the exact start of level 24 with 15K-30K blinds and a 3K ante. Chip counts were as follows:

Jose Miguel Espinar 1,993,000
Alex Brenes 1,528,000

Play continued for over an hour until the dinner break, then returned with Espinar still in the lead, this time a more substantial one, however, with over 2.2 million to the 1.2 million of Brenes. Action continued for another several hours, with Brenes making numerous attempts at the chip lead and coming close several times. It wasn’t until 11:30pm that the hand of the night took place.

Brenes had taken a slight lead over his opponent, and both players pushed pre-flop, Brenes with A-9 and Espinar with A-10. The board gave a 9 to Brenes on the flop but a 10 to Espinar on the river, and Brenes was left with only 40K.

The next hand found Brenes pushing that 40K all-in with A-10, ironically his opponent’s hand that just crippled him, and Espinar called with K-5. Espinar received a King on the flop, and Brenes found no help on the board at all. After a brave fight, Alex Brenes was forced to settle for 2nd place and the subsequent prize of $127,675.

Jose Miguel Espinar from Spain took the title of LAPT Punta del Este champion, and he was awarded the $241,735 to take back to Europe.

This concluded the third and final stop of the first season of the Latin American Poker Tour. Details about a second season have yet to be announced.

*Special thanks to the PokerStars blog for updates, chip counts, and photo.*

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