LAPT7 Chile: Champions challenging Nacho

"I had a really tough table yesterday."

So began Nacho Barbero when we chatted with him at the first break of the day. After battling into the early evening yesterday, the Team PokerStars Pro was knocked out and is back today for a second try in the re-entry event. But we had noticed early on that his seat draw today didn't appear exactly favorable.

"Today I got two LAPT champions, one to my left and one to my right," he said with a sheepish grin.


A trio of titlists: Victor Sbrissa, Nacho Barbero, and Carter Gill

Indeed, on Barbero's left is LAPT6 Grand Final winner Carter Gill of the U.S., also back today after having busted on Day 1A. And it is the Brazilian Victor Sbrissa, LAPT6 Brazil champion, sitting on Barbero's right. Kind of a tight spot, you might say.

"Not to say anything against any other LAPT champions," continued the Argentinian, "but these two are really good... among the best you can find. It's not going to be an easy table. Victor is really, really good, and Carter has been running good, too, and he has position on me, so it's not ideal."

The trio have only been involved in a few small pots so far, although there have already been some interesting moments.

"Once I three-bet Victor once with 10-7 suited and it ended up four ways to the flop with Carter in there, too. The flop came K-7-6, I bet, Carter called, and the others folded. The turn was a deuce, and it was check-check. Then the river was a 6, and when I checked he bet."

"I told Carter he had K-Q suited as I folded, and he showed... K-Q suited."

Barbero read Gill's holding well on that one, but the American's range is so wide such sleuthing isn't always so simple.

"Carter's playing all the hands, so he could have anything. Victor is kind of short now, so he's a little bit more tight. But both are tough."

Among the three, Gill has chipped up the most during the first two hours today, going to break with 31,275 (up from the 20,000 starting stack). Barbero meanwhile has 21,375 and Sbrissa is down to 14,900.

Nacho's opponents aren't just challenging him for individual pots, but they also bring another kind of challenge to him here in Viña del Mar. So far Barbero ranks as the only two-time champion in LAPT history, winning back-to-back titles at LAPT3 Punta del Este and LAPT3 Peru, making Gill and Sbrissa are part of that select group of others with the potential to tie his record.

"I really want to improve on my performance from last year here," continued Barbero who finished third at LAPT6 Chile in a whopping 1,024-entry field.

"It was really sad when I busted... I had half of the chips in play with three left. I got coolered in one hand and had a bad beat in another and I was out. Nobody would ever catch me if I won three LAPTs...."

He stopped and waved his hand at Gill and Sbrissa's empty chairs.

"And now I got these guys."


(And these guys are good)

They've understandably decided to make the title-holding triumvirate's table the feature table coming back to Level 3, so check in over on the live streams (details below) to see how the champions fare.

Photography from LAPT7 Chile by Carlos Monti. Follow live streaming coverage throughout LAPT7 Chile in Spanish at PokerStars or via Facebook as well as in Portuguese, also at PokerStars or via Facebook.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.