LAPT7 Chile: Jefferson Melo leads final 32 to end Day 2

After almost 10 full one-hour levels just 32 remain in the LAPT7 Chile Main Event. Jefferson Melo of Brazil had ended Day 1A with the chip lead, then came to play today just behind end-of-Day-1B leader Fernando Mazzeo of Argentina. But Melo wrestled back the lead and kept it all day and night, and sits with a leading stack of 1,063,000 to begin Saturday's Day 3.


Jefferson Melo

It seems a long time ago when 195 players filled the Grand Ballroom in the Enjoy Viña del Mar Casino and Resort to begin Day 2, survivors from the first two Day 1 flights and 609 total entries coming to Chile from 31 different countries.

All harbored hopes of being the one among them to claim the $175,311 first prize and trophy, though the bustouts began in rapid fashion and continued as the afternoon wore on.

Team PokerStars Pros Christian de Leon and Angel Guillen were among the early afternoon bustouts, with Guillen's coming at the feature table which viewers from around the world can was streaming live.


Angel Guillen

More than 50 had fallen by the first break of the day, during which we had a chance to talk with Ken "Teach" Aldridge, the retired school teacher from North Carolina who has spent the last several years winning a WSOP bracelet, almost winning a WPT title, and traveling the globe enjoying his favorite game and while furthering his own education.

The busts kept coming, and with about 100 left Melo had muscled his way back to the top of the counts.

With the top 87 cashing, the bubble was approaching, and before long it finally burst with Jorge Breda of Brazil the unfortunately player to be the last eliminated outside the money.


Jorge Breda

While Melo was pushing his stack upward toward 1 million, Team PokerStars Pro Humberto Brenes would be among the first cashers, finishing in 68th.

Others eliminated included the last woman in the field Miryam Murga (56th) and Ivan Luca (46th), with Team PokerStars Pro David Williams (44th) and Aldridge (43rd) going out on the same hand a little later.


Aldridge and Williams visit the cashier's desk together

It took a while longer, but the last knockouts finally came and with a cheer from the survivors played ended for the night.

Others with big stacks to end play included Raul Pino (758,000), Johann Ibanez (712,000), and Rodrigo Perez (666,000), while the last Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari will be returning to the shortest stack of everyone with 105,000. Meanwhile last year's Chile champ Pablo Tavitian came back from a short stack to start the day to end with 252,000 and continue his title defense. Click here to see all 32 players' counts to begin Day 3.

Play picks up again tomorrow at noon local time, with the plan being to play down to an eight-handed final table. Join us again to see if Melo can continue moving in a thumbs-up direction.

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.