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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

Sulaiman Slow and Steady to LAPT Costa Rica

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One of the fastest growing tours of all hosted by PokerStars around the world, the PokerStars.net Latin American Poker Tour has garnered much attention for bringing poker tournaments to Central and South America. To launch its third season, the LAPT traveled to an exclusive resort in Costa Rica called the Paradisus Playa Conchal on the country’s Gold Coast, and players came from numerous countries to participate and kick off a new and exciting season of tournaments.

Day 1 of the LAPT Playa Conchal was the only starting day and brought 259 competitors to the tables for the $2,700 Main Event. Included in the field were many well-known players like Victor Ramdin, Gaulter Salles, Maria Mayrinck, Jean-Robert Bellande, Alex Gomes, Paul Magriel, David Plastik, Shirley Rosario, Jon Friedberg, Veronica Dabul, and various members of the Brenes family. But when the day ended, only 119 players held on to chips, and Rob Woodcock had the most with a stack of 147,600 chips.

Day 2 saw the field quickly thin toward the money, and with 40 players set to be paid, it was a fight through the beginning levels of the day to make it there. When it finally came to the hand-for-hand portion of the tournament, it was a big hand that found Gustavo Justiniano all-in with {J-Diamonds}{7-Clubs}, Brad Stebeleski all-in with {A-Spades}{4-Spades}, and Edgar Cruz calling them both with {K-Diamonds}{5-Spades}. The board came {3-Clubs}{5-Diamonds}{9-Hearts}{7-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}, and Justiniano doubled up, Cruz took the side pot, and Stebeleski left the tournament on the bubble in 41st place.

As the night progressed, the plan was to play to 32 players but it went more quickly than anticipated. Ezequiel Giuzzi left first in 40th place with $3,454, and play stopped just over 30 minutes later with the elimination of Alphonse Voigt in 31st place. The remaining 30 players were led by Eric Levesque and his stack of 420K chips, and they retired for the night knowing the following day would be the playdown to the final table.

Day 3 was a tough one for players, especially Team PokerStars Pros. Alex Gomes was the first to go on the day, taking $4,082 for 30th place, and Maria Mayrinck left soon after in 24th place. Later in the evening, the field had thinned down to nine players with one more to go before the final table was set. And it was Pandilica Alin who was crippled by Bouchard and subsequently moved all-in for his last 49K in chips. Eric Levesque and Francis-Nicolas Bouchard were both along for the ride, and all three watched the board come {7-Hearts}{6-Clubs}{4-Diamonds}. Levesque and Bouchard checked that, as well as the {J-Spades} on the turn and the {5-Diamonds} on the river, at which point Bouchard showed {8-Spades}{3-Clubs} for the straight. Levesque made nothing with his {K-Clubs}{9-Spades}, and Alin was out with his {10-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}. Pandilica Alin scored $9,107 for the ninth place finish.

The final table was then set for the following day with seat assignments and chip counts as listed here:

Seat 1: 
Amer Sulaiman
604,000
Seat 2:
Sol Bergren
1,327,000
Seat 3: 
Patrick De Koster
340,000
Seat 4:
Francis-Nicolas Bouchard 
564,000
Seat 5:
Rogelio Pardo 
685,000
Seat 6: 
Carlos Girou 
400,000
Seat 7:
Eric Levesque
694,000
Seat 8: 
Darren Keyes 
572,000

Action began with several of the shorter stacks making all-in moves during the first level that went uncalled. Keyes and Pardo got it all-in, but both players had pocket kings and chopped.

It was finally De Koster who moved and got the call. He pushed with {A-Diamonds}{7-Spades}, and Levesque happened to have pocket queens in the big blind. The board brought hope on the flop with {9-Spades}{7-Diamonds}{5-Spades}, but the {J-Hearts} on the turn and {K-Spades} on the river ended all hopes for the short stack. Patrick De Koster was the first to leave the table, taking with him $13,818 for the eighth place finish.

On the path to another elimination, there were quite a few double-ups and significant chips changing hands. Keyes took a big hit from Bergren but doubled through Giron to stay alive. Bouchard doubled through Bergren, but Pardo and Giron both doubled through Levesque.

But the double-up wasn’t enough for Giron, and he was anxious to get it all-in again, doing it this time with {A-Hearts}{9-Spades}. Bergren called from the big blind with {Q-Clubs}{J-Clubs}, and the flop hit Bergren with {Q-Diamonds}{10-Spades}{6-Clubs}. The {10-Diamonds} turn and {5-Diamonds} river did nothing but eliminate Carlos Giron in seventh place with $20,098.

Keyes was the next to put himself at risk, and he did it with the ever-popular {A-Hearts}{7-Hearts}. Sulaiman pushed all-in over the top to isolate, which worked, and he turned over {A-Spades}{K-Diamonds}. The flop came in favor of Keyes with {8-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}{6-Clubs}, and the {3-Clubs} on the turn kept him in the lead. But the {K-Clubs} fell on the river to give the top pair to Sulaiman, and Darren Keyes was ousted in sixth place with $26,380.

Some time passed before another elimination, during which time Pardo doubled through Bergren and Sulaiman climbed into the chip lead and stayed securely in that place.

Bouchard was one of the short stacks with only 590K and pushed it all-in with {K-Hearts}{9-Clubs}. Sulaiman happened to look down at pocket aces in the big blind and happily called. The board came {K-Clubs}{10-Clubs}{J-Spades}{6-Diamonds}{A-Diamonds}, and Francis-Nicolas Bouchard was sent to the rail in fifth place with $32,660.

Levesque was the next to move, and it came about during a preflop raising war between him and Bergren. It was the latter who reraised all-in with pocket eights, and Levesque called for his tournament life with {A-Clubs}{Q-Diamonds}. The board blanked with {J-Hearts}{5-Diamonds}{4-Spades}{3-Clubs}{7-Hearts}, and Eric Levesque was gone in fourth place with $45,221.

Pardo made his decision to shove all-in with {A-Clubs}{3-Hearts} and his last 540K, but Bergren took him up on that offer with pocket fives. The board blanked for Pardo with {K-Clubs}{8-Diamonds}{6-Clubs}{4-Clubs}{5-Hearts}, and Rogelio Pardo was eliminated in third place with $61,551.

The two remaining players, both representing Canada, were heads-up with the following counts:

Sol Bergren
2,905,000
Amer Sulaiman 
2,280,000

Sulaiman came out swinging, taking the first pot with aggression. And he continued in that fashion, climbing to more than 3 million chips and relegating Bergren to the 2-million mark. It got worse for Bergren, and though he had mild success, Bergren finally decided to move all-in.

The hand started with a limped flop of {10-Hearts}{5-Spades}{4-Clubs}. Bergren led out, but when Sulaiman check-raised, Bergren made the all-in reraise for about 600K more. Sulaiman called with {10-Diamonds}{7-Hearts} and top pair, and Bergren showed {7-Spades}{6-Spades} for the open-ended straight draw. The {A-Clubs} on the turn helped no one, and the {Q-Hearts} on the river ended the tournament. Sol Bergren finished in second place with $100,492 for the effort.

Amer Sulaiman took down the LAPT Playa Conchal event, complete with a trophy and $172,095 in prize money.

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