LAPT Florianopolis: Matthias Habernig wins Brazil title and R$435,000

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Amid the crowds, the noise and the television cameras packed into the auditorium at the Costa do Santinho resort, Matthias Habernig, a 19-year-old from Klagenfurt, Austria, travelling through South American on vacation, has won the newest Latin American Poker Tour title in Florianopolis and a cheque for R$435,000.

The young Austrian, who returns home on Monday to begin his national public service, left Brazilian poker fans without a home grown winner, with runner up Dayan Vardanega from Ponta Grossa, unable to overturn Habernig's overwhelming momentum.



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LAPT Florianopolis winner Matthias Habernig

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Packed crowds on the rail

Habernig surfaced as the chip leader on day one. At that stage he'd put his success down to a great run of cards and not any natural talent, a similar explanation to that given yesterday when he bagged up more than 3 million chips ahead of today's final table. But his modesty did little to veil an obvious natural talent and the stack he'd built was one big enough to swing at anyone who challenged him. But with the exception of one heads-up hand that let Vardanega back in, Habernig didn't put a foot wrong, quickly reining his opponent back in and putting a lid on this superb new LAPT event.

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Runner up Dayan Vardanega

Eight players returned this afternoon, and after television preliminaries, got started on what proved to be a quick, no fuss final table.

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After just an hour we were down to five players. Former chip leader Rudy Blondeau was the surprise first elimination, then Rodrigo Scartezini and Andre Scaff busted within fifteen minutes. Soon after Robson Kozan, from the same town as Vardanega, departed, leaving four.

When Miguel Velasco departed in third, it left Vardanega and Habernig heads-up, the longest period of play without an elimination during the entire final table. During that time though, Habernig had cemented his lead, breaching the four million mark as others had done whatever they could to keep up.

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Dayan Vardanega had been the best of those challengers and carried the hopes of a strong local crowd as the last of the five Brazilian finalists. They cheered his every success, but as the last hand played out - Habernig's two pair (aces and tens) getting the better of Vardanega's two pairs (aces and sevens) - they graciously applauded the new champion. Faces from earlier stages of the event returned to see Habernig home, old adversaries who wanted to see how their own adventure could have turned out. They got a champion who will not be long in striking the business end of another major poker tournament.

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Heads up

That's all from what is now sunny Florianopolis, where the LAPT came for the first time and will leave a mark long after it has wheeled itself away.

Thanks for following the coverage on the PokerStars Blog. The thanks of myself and Alex Villegas to our Spanish and Brazilian bloggers Sergio Prado and Reinaldo Venegas who helped me identify players, order food and spell things. You can read their work on the Spanish and Portuguese blogs.

Finally, we may not have understood a word we said to each other, but thanks to Carlos Monti for the superlative photography that appeared in the blog this week, shots that gave our otherwise dreary text something to hide behind.

Until next month when the LAPT rolls into Rosario, Argentina, for the season finale, it's good bye from Brazil.