LAPT7 Panama: After two rounds with Ortiz, Russo leads final 12

They've reached the end of Level 24 at the LAPT Panama Main Event, an hour punctuated by a two-round battle between a couple of the current chip leaders, Fabian Ortiz of Argentina and Australia's Nick Russo.

In the first hand of the sequence, a J♦4♦7♥ flop drew a bet of 120,000 from Oritz and Russo called. The turn then brought the J♥ and a check from Ortiz, with Russo taking the opening to bet 150,000 and Ortiz calling.

The river was the 3♣, and Ortiz was checking again. This time Russo made a big bet of 375,000 and after a lengthy tank Ortiz found a reason to call the bet.

The Argentinian flipped over 7♦6♦ for jacks and sevens, and after seeing the Australian show A♦5♦ Ortiz was rewarded with the pot.

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Fabian Ortiz

Some time after that the pair got involved once more in a hand that saw them battle back and forth as the board came [10d]5♠K♦J♠9♦. With almost 730,000 in the middle, Ortiz bet 225,000 and this time it was Russo going into the tank.

Or at least appearing to do so, as after some time Russo announced he was raising all in with the almost 700,000 he had left, and Ortiz called without any hesitation.

Russo showed A♦3♦ -- the nut-flush diamond draw had hit this time -- and Ortiz mucked.

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Nick Russo

Play continued a short while longer before the end of Level 24, at which the final 12 took their leave for a 75-minute dinner break. Here's how the counts look across both of the six-handed tables at the moment, with Russo getting to enjoy the chip lead thanks to that last exchange of chips.

Nick Russo (Australia) -- 1,496,000
Javier Rios (Colombia) -- 1,326,000
Hugo Suarez (Mexico) -- 1,285,000
Fabian Ortiz (Argentina) -- 1,250,000
Guillermo Olvera (Mexico) -- 972,000
Hugo Lemaire (Malta) -- 827,000
Antonio Hogaza (Mexico) -- 793,000
Alexander Haber (Jamaica) -- 762,000
Alex Brenes (Costa Rica) -- 731,000
Ariel Scarparro (Argentina) -- 647,000
Luis Perez (Venezuela) -- 356,000
Derek Ecenarro (United States) -- 354,000

Photography from LAPT7 Panama by Carlos Monti. Click here for live updates in Spanish, and here for live updates in Portuguese. Also check out the start-to-finish live streaming coverage (in both Spanish and Portuguese) at

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.