The PokerStars.com Latin American Poker Tour stop in Uruguay is fast becoming one of the most popular ones on the tour. After last year’s event in Punta del Este at the luxurious Mantra Resort and Casino, word spread about the combination of solid LAPT action and fabulous vacation spot, and that brought the players from far and wide to participate in the 2009 event.
The action began with the playdown of the LAPT Mexico final table that had been in limbo since December, and it seemed to get many of the arriving players for the Uruguay tournament excited to get in on the action. Though the tournament area was rather small, the staff quickly accommodated the growing crowd of players which totaled 327 when registration closed. That field put the prize pool at $1,110,200, which would be apportioned to the top 36 finishers and give the first place winner $283,500 in the end.
The stars were certainly out for the tournament, and the list of names included Helen Prager and Rory Cox, the final heads-up duo from the LAPT Mexico tournament the prior day, along with Helen’s husband Josh Prager, Humberto and Alex Brenes, Max and Maria Stern, Dennis Phillips, Greg Raymer, Victor Ramdin, J.C. Alvarado, and the newest face of Team PokerStars and former Brazilian blogger Maria Mayrinck. Also in the crowd were Veronica Dabul, Andre Akkari, Fabian Ortiz, Paul Magriel, and Martha Herrera.
And while they all started the day, few finished. There were 64 remaining when all was said and done, with Oliver Rowe representing Canada and the chip lead with 136,000. Rounding out the rest of the top five, in order of chip counts, were Alberto Andres Font Rytzner, Angel Guillen, Ibuki Fukui, and Mario Salvagno.
The purpose of Day 2 was to reach the final table, and it looked to be a long day with 64 players out of the starting gate. It began with the last woman in the tournament, Rosamelia Ferreira, leaving soon into the action, and Alex Brenes left soon after. Hours passed before Gustav Schuldt Langner was ousted and left the tournament in hand-for-hand action on the money bubble. It only took a few minutes for Alberto Araujo to push all-in from the big blind with , and Oliver Rowe called with . But the flop came in his favor with a three, and another three came on the river to give Rowe trips and send Araujo out on the money bubble.
The rest of the players were guaranteed a minimum of $7,220 for their performances, and Clemenceau Merheb Calixto was the first to claim that with a 36th place finish. And former WPT champion Jose Rosenkrantz left a few spots later in 33rd place. To get to the final table bubble took another six hours, and with the eliminations of Octavio Bernardini in 12th place and Alejandro Bonanata in 11th, the bubble play began again, this time for the coveted nine seats at the final table. Ultimately, it was Rommer Prado who moved all-in with and found a caller in Karl Hevroy holding . The board came , and the river gave the pot to Hevroy, pushing Prado out in tenth place with $18,320 and final table dreams crushed.
It was 11:30pm in Punta del Este when the final nine were determined, and they were set to return the following afternoon with the following chip counts:
Karl Hevroy (Norway) 1,079,000
Angel Guillen (Mexico) 572,000
Oliver Rowe (Canada) 412,000
Alejandro de Arruabarrena (Argentina) 397,000
Wandermar Cogo (Brazil) 263,000
Bolivar Palacios (Panama) 167,000
Magno Aragao (Brazil) 153,000
Ron Wasiel (United States) 134,000
Andre Ventura (Brazil) 103,000
The action began with just that - action. Andre Ventura looked to move with his short stack and doubled up with queens versus the A-7 of Angel Guillen. He then sat back and awaited another opportunity, which came when he looked down at pocket jacks. But it was Rowe who quickly called with pocket queens. The board came , and Ventura couldn’t make it happen again. He was eliminated in ninth place, which was worth $21,000 in prize money.
The next hour and a half consisted of double-ups. Bolivar Palacios doubled through Waldemar Cogo, Ron Wasiel did it through Magno Aragao twice, and Cogo saved his tournament life through Rowe.
Aragao wasn’t able to come back from the brutal hands that allowed Wasiel to double through him twice, and he pushed the last of his stack all-in with pocket queens. Rowe and Karl Hevroy called, but after the flop came , Rowe bet and Hevroy got out of the way. Rowe turned up , but his top pair was no good against Aragao’s overpair. The turn was the , and the river brought a for Rowe’s straight. Magno Aragao was forced out in eighth place with $26,640.
Palacios was looking to improve his chip stack status and took all of his chips in with pocket queens. Alejandro de Arruabarrena called with . It looked as if the pocket pair would hold up when the flop came followed by a flop, but the came on the river to knock out Bolivar Palacios in seventh place, the exact same spot he experienced just days ago at the LAPT Mexico final table. This time, however, he picked up $37,740 for his effort.
Cogo took the opportunity to double again, this time through Guillen, but his short stack required it again a short time later. He pushed with , but Rowe made the call with a dominating . The board came , and Waldemar Cogo was gone in sixth place with $48,840.
Suddenly, there was a somewhat unexpected elimination. Oliver Rowe looked strong during most of the tournament, but his involvement with Hevroy became his demise. The two went to see a flop of , and more betting led to the on the turn. After Rowe led out, Hevroy pushed all-in with for the draw, and Rowe called all-in with pocket threes for the set. Amazingly, the came on the river to make that straight and send Rowe out in fifth place with $59,960.
Only 15 minutes later, Ron Wasiel was at risk after he pushed on a flop with . But Hevroy was on a roll and called with pocket jacks. The on the turn and on the river allowed the better two pair to hold up and sent Wasiel out of the tournament in fourth place with $82,160.
Very soon after, Guillen tried to make a preflop raise, but a reraise from Hevroy prompted Guillen to move all-in. Hevroy called with , but Guillen had the best hand with . Without much delay, the board produced , and Hevroy won another hand and eliminated another player. Angel Guillen took third place and the $99,120 that went with it.
Heads-up action was set to begin with the following counts:
Karl Hevroy 2,927,000
Alejandro de Arruabarrena 543,000
The final two took off to a dinner break, returned, and played exactly one hand. Arruabarrena began the hand with a call from the small blind, and Hevroy checked to see a flop. It was de Arruabarrena who made the first bet, and Hevroy check-called. The on the turn brought another bet from de Arruabarrena, but this time Hevroy’s response was an all-in raise. De Arruabarrena called all-in with , but Hevroy gladly showed his for the flopped full house. The on the river meant nothing and eliminated Alejandro de Arruabarrena in second place with $155,420.
Karl Hevroy became the latest Latin American Poker Tour champion, complete with a commemorative trophy and $283,500 in prize money.
(Thanks to the PokerStars blog for live updates.)