The third season of the PokerStars.net Latin American Poker Tour kicked off in November with a tournament in Costa Rica. It was there that Amer Sulaiman defeated the rest of the 259-player field to take home $172,095 for winning the LAPT Playa Conchal event. The three-month hiatus that followed left players to tend to the holidays before resuming action in February, this time at the Punta del Este Resort in Uruguay.
Action began on February 24 with the first day of play, which garnered 307 players, all with $3,700 in hand for the buy-in, which created a prize pool that prepared to award more than $279K to the winner. Among the players in the group on Day 1 were Humberto Brenes and his two sons Roberto and Jose, Leo Fernandez, Veronica Dabul, Jose Ignacio Barbero, Andre Akkari, Alex Gomes, and Pieter de Korver. But when all was said and done, only 145 players survived and Martin Fuentes was the chip leader.
Day 2 saw the field thin greatly, as only 24 remained out of the original 145 that started the day. In the process, the money bubble came into play, as hand-for-hand began with 49 players. And it was eventually that Daniel Zapiello and Pedro Komaromi got involved with a third player to see the flop. Action heated up after the on the turn, at which point, the unknown player got out when a bet and raise made it too costly to stick around. The on the river prompted an all-in move from Zapiello with , and Komaromi called for his tournament life with pocket tens. His full house couldn’t beat Zapiello’s, and Komaromi was out in 49th place.
Everyone was then guaranteed a minimum payout of $5,210. As the day proceeded, some of the players who busted in the money included Veronica Dabul in 38th place and Paul Howard in 25th, the latter of which ended the day. And Cesar Mostafa sat atop the leaderboard when all the chips were counted, as his 529,000 was the best of the 24 players remaining.
Day 3 played to the final table, and in the process found notables finishing in the money such as Steve Chidwick in 21st place, Oliver Rowe in 18th, Humberto Brenes in 16th, and Cesar Mostafa in tenth. It was then that they sought the final table bubble player. The hand that determined him came when Ernesto Panno pushed with , but Jose Barbero called with a dominating . The board came , and Panno couldn’t improve, so he was gone in ninth place with $14,590.
The final table was then set as follows:
|Seat 1: ||Roman Suarez ||403,000 |
|Seat 2: ||Norbert Ludger||1,596,000 |
|Seat 3: ||Jose Barbero ||548,000 |
|Seat 4: ||Bernardo Dias ||840,000 |
|Seat 5: ||Andres Korn ||503,000 |
|Seat 6: ||Nicolas Cardyn ||988,000 |
|Seat 7: ||Daniela Zapiello ||560,000 |
|Seat 8: ||Marco Caicedo ||666,000 |
Final table play began with Barbero and Cardyn making moves early, but the latter soon suffered some hits when both Korn and Suarez doubled through him.
But Suarez was perpetually short-stacked and couldn’t maintain any momentum. When he tried to raise preflop with , Barbero came back with an all-in reraise from the big blind holding . Suarez called with his tournament life, and the two watched as the board delivered , which gave Barbero trip sevens and the pot. Roman Suarez left the tournament in eighth place with $20,850.
More double-ups ensued, but two of them involved Dias doubling up, once through Cardyn and another time through Barbero. But it was Cardyn doubling back through him that put him in short stacked position again. He pushed his last 700K all-in with and found a caller in Korn, who woke up with pocket sevens in the small blind. The flop brought hope for another double when it came , but the on the turn and on the river didn’t help enough. Bernardo Dias was out in seventh place with $31,270.
Caicedo was the next to put his tournament life on the line. With only 350K, he pushed all-in with , and Barbero was the caller holding . The flop of put Barbero ahead, and the turn card and river only gave him trips. That left Marco Caicedo out of the tournament in sixth place with $41,690.
It was during the next few rounds that more chips changed hands. Cardyn doubled through Korn and Barbero, though Zapiello doubled through Cardyn. Korn was the short stack until he doubled through Zapiello, and that put the last woman in the tournament in jeopardy.
Zapiello moved all-in with in the hopes of finding a double-up opportunity of her own. But Ludger called with . The flop of gave Zapiello the pair of queens but Ludger the straight draw. The on the turn gave Ludger more straight outs, and the on the river gave it to him. Daniela Zapiello was eliminated in fifth place with $52,110.
Ludger came into the final table with a monstrous chip lead but lost ground throughout the first hours of action. Finally, he got involved in a pot with Korn and Cardyn that would put him at risk of elimination. The three started with a flop, and when Ludger bet, Korn got out of the way. Cardyn check-called, and the two took a look at the on the turn. Ludger bet again, this time all-in for his last 910K. Cardyn called with and top pair, which was good against the of Ludger. The showed up on the river, sending Norbert Ludger out in fourth place with $72,960.
And that was when Barbero soared. He doubled twice through Cardyn to take a solid chip lead during three-handed play.
Korn sought the same momentum when he pushed all-in preflop for his last 950K. Barbero called with , which dominated Korn’s . The board blanked with , and Andres Korn was gone in third place with $99,020.
Heads-up action then started with the following chip counts:
|Jose Barbero ||4,400,000 |
|Nicolas Cardyn ||1,700,000 |
Barbero came on strong during the match, but Cardyn soon leveled the counts with a double-up holding A-7 over the Q-10 of Barbero.
But then came the pot that would give the lead back to Barbero, who had lost his chip lead momentarily. On a flop of , Cardyn pushed all-in, and Barbero called for all of his chips with against the of Cardyn. The rest of the board allowed Barbero’s hand to stand, and Cardyn was left with 750K.
It didn’t take long for Cardyn to push his stack all-in with . Barbero called with as the underdog in the hand. The flop of changed nothing, nor did the on the turn. But the on the river gave Barbero the pair, and Nicolas Cardyn was forced to accept second place with the $161,550 that went with it.
Jose “Nacho” Ignacio Barbero, a member of Team PokerStars Pro, captured the LAPT Punta del Este title along with $279,330 in prize money.