LAPT7 Chile: Lopez outlasts Perez, denies Chilean the title
Just two remained from the 609 entries in the LAPT Chile Main Event. LAPT President David Carrion introduced the final competitors, Mario Lopez (Argentina) and Rodrigo Perez (Chile), and after a handshake their duel commenced.
Luis Resk (fourth-place finisher) and Jefferson Melo (who took third) had gone out in rapid order, and it appeared there might be one more quick knockout on the first hand of heads-up play after Lopez opened with a raise, Perez shoved all in, and after some consideration Lopez called.
Both players had been dealt aces, with Lopez's A♦8♦ putting him in good shape versus the A♥3♣ of Perez. The 4♠8♥K♦ flop put Lopez in even better shape with a pair, but the 3♠ on the turn kept the suspense going a little longer as Perez had outs to win.
But the river was the Q♣, and Lopez quickly doubled to start heads-up play with just over 5 million to Perez's 6.7 million.
The battle continued from there, moving into Level 31 (60,000/120,000/20,000) with several small-pot hands including an interesting one that saw Lopez calling a river bet from Perez on a Q♠5♠2♥9♦9♣ board holding but K♠[10d] for king-high, and turning out to be correct as Perez had but 8♠7♣. Before long, Lopez had edged in front.
Play continued. Fichas van, fichas vienen. (Chips came and went.) Lopez frequently held his head in one hand when contemplating his actions...
...while Perez often sat back in his chair, watching his opponent carefully for signs by which to guide his own decisions.
Lopez edged slightly further in front, then a little more, moving up over 7.6 million while Perez slipped to about 4.2 million. Small pots continued to be exchanged as the duel crossed the one-hour mark and continued forward.
Then just as the level was coming to a close, Perez made an opening raise from the button, Lopez reraised, and without much hesitation Perez stated he was all in and Lopez called right away.
The crowd began shouting as the preflop action had accelerated and then at the sight of the hands...
The noise kicked up a few more decibels after the dealer spread the Q♣7♣6♥ flop, pairing Perez and giving the Chilean hopes to survive and retake the lead. Then the dealer burned one and turned over fourth street...
A set for Lopez! And an unshakeable stranglehold on the hand as Perez was now suddenly drawing dead. The crowd erupted in recognition of what had transpired as the inconsequential J♥ completed the board.
Perez congratulated the Argentinian for his triumph, the pair sharing another handshake to bookend their lengthy, hour-and-a-half-long battle. Perez actually takes away slightly more than the winner thanks to the deal, as Lopez earns a total of $117,991.
What a day! Back in a little while with a recap of today's exciting finale from Viña del Mar.
Photography from LAPT7 Chile by Carlos Monti.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.