LAPT Punta del Este: Final table player profiles

The final table of the Latin American Poker Tour event in Punta del Este is scheduled to begin in about an hour. Nine people out of the original starting field of 327 remain and will be competing for the $283,500 first prize. The PokerStars Blog will have live coverage beginning at 2pm local time.

Here is a little bit about the final table players.

Seat 1: Andre Ventura (Brazil) 103,000 -- You may look at Andre Ventura's chip stack and wonder if he's at all happy with being the shortest stack at the table. Consider this: just an hour before play broke for the night, he only had 13,000 chips--not even enough to pay the blinds. After getting crippled with pocket sixes against pocket queens, Ventura battled back to make the final table. The 28 year-old hedge fund manager is a married man, but after not having a vacation in two years decided to come to Punta with his buddies. He's been playing online since 2004, but this is his first live event.

Seat 2: Oliver Rowe (Canada) 412,000 -- If you look at Oliver Rowe the right way, you might think he's a South America revolutionary. With a bit of scruff on his face and a particular kind of cap, he could pass pretty well. In fact, the online poker pro is from Vancouver, Canada. Soft-spoken and hard to read, Rowe came out of Day 1 with the chip lead and powered through Day 2 to make the final table. Though he's played the World Series Main Event and a tournament on at APPT, this is his first big live cash. Rowe qualified for this event through a PokerStars Steps tournament.

Seat 3: Bolivar Palacios (Panama) 167,000 -- Bolivar Palacios, born and still living in Santiago de Veraguas, Panamá was an industrial engineer for 5 months until he received a check for $300 and deposited it online. Since that deposit, he has cashed for $350,000 in lifetime winnings online. Now a professional poker player for a year, he has two final tables under his belt. He took seventh place in the LAPT Mexico event and now is ready to play his second. He think he is a better online tourney player than live tournament player, but he seems to be proving his theory wrong so far this week. He is a member of the "rat pack of Panama" along with his best friends, Jose Severino, Victor Lemos and Jose Miguel de la Guardia.

Seat 4: Waldemar Cogo (Brazil) 263,000 -- Waldemar Cogo hails from Ponta Porã in Mato Grosso. Retired and living strong at 64 years old, he's living the high light afteer a career seeling auto parts. Cogo only started playing online poker a couple of months ago. This is his first live tournament ever. Cogo carries himself quietly and plays with a general calm that is an example to anybody who plays. Even when doubling up just before the final table, Cogo barely raised his voice. Married with three daughters, Cogo is known in his home town as "Coguinho"...short for "Little Cogo."

Seat 5: Karl Hevroy (Norway) 1,079,000 -- Karl Hevroy had a problem with his buy-in. He couldn't withdraw enough money from his account in time to buy into the event. Fortunately, the 20-year-old politics student had some friends to call on. Hevroy had met a bunch of Peruvians buddies at EPT Copenhagen and decided to come visit. The friends were headed to Uruguay for the LAPT, so he joined them. It turned out to be a good decision. He's the chip leader in this event with nearly double the chips of his closest competitor. Hailing from Bergen, Norway, Henvroy is a long way from home, but already showing he has adapted well to warmer climes.

Seat 6: Magno Aragão (Brazil) 153,000 -- Hailing from Rio de Janeiro, Magno Aragão was chip leader on Level 3, but ended up losing most of his chips before the end of Day 1. At 42 years old--married with three kids--he chalked up his Day 1 losses to fatigue. After making it to Day 2, he hoped to make the money. He did more than that. After spending the entire day on the short stack, he "climbed the ladder step by step" and made the final table. The aluminum company owner also likes to drive rally cars in his spare time.

Seat 7: Angel Guillén (Mexico) 572,000 -- Angel Guillen hopes to be the first Mexican to win the coveted title of LAPT champion. The opportunity is source of pride not only for him, but for Mexico in general. Guillén represents the PokerStars-sponsored Team Mexico. Guillén has been playing poker professionally more than two years. His day job consists of live cash games, and on Sunday he likes to sit back and relax while cashing in the Sunday 500. Having recently placed 51st in the PCA, Guillén is still hungry for a live tournament victory and hopes Friday will be that day.

Seat 8: Alejandro De Arruabarrena (Argentina) 397,000 -- Alejandro De Arruabarrena is looking at an ideal situation for any sport: beautiful weather and homefield advantage. De Arruabarrena has been playing poker for the past four years in Uruguay, and he's done well. He's won five tournaments in Uruguay. His most recent victory was in December. When he's not tearing up the Uruguayan poker scene, this father of two returns to his day job of importing computers and electronics. De Arruabarrena recently discovered the joy of online poker. He joined PokerStars under the name of 'Alex6818' and has been spending his Sundays on the virtual felt. De Arruabarrena feels confident about Friday, and expects to improve his homegame record to 6-0.

Seat 9: Ron Wasiel (USA) 134,000 -- Normally a $10 rebuy tournament player on Pokerstars, Wasiel is about to embark on his biggest poker performance ever. The union painter from the south Chicago, Illinois suburbs is playing on only his second big live event ever. He played one event on the APPT in Macau, but didn't manage to cash. Now, he's made it all the way to the final table. The return on his investment looks to be a good one. He got into this event through a PokerStars $10 3x chance qualifier. Now he stands to make a minimum of $21,000. No matter how he paints it, it's a good showing. "Hey, I made it," he said as he walked off the stage on Day 2. "I didn't expect to be here tomorrow." You are, sir. You are.