LAPT7 Panama: Derek Ecenarro carries lead to Day 3; 47 remain

When play concluded on Day 3 of the LAPT7 Panama Main Event, it appeared certain that Derek Ecenarro of Miami, Florida had seized the chip lead, his many 25-chip high stacks designating that to be the case.

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Derek Ecenarro

Ecenarro began counting his many stacks, then after doing some quick multiplication decided he surely had well over 750,000, and so wrote "750K+" on his bag before piling in his chips and sealing it tight.

On his slip he wrote what most believe a reasonable estimation -- "1 MILLION" -- although he may have considerably more. In any case that's the not-so-specific amount we assign to our end-of-Day-2 chip leader with 47 players remaining at LAPT Panama.

Challenging Ecenarro -- and providing a more exact count -- is Rios Gomez of Colombia who bagged up 910,000, and those two will be the pace-setters when play resumes on Saturday. Occupying the next spots in the counts to start Day 3 will be Antonio Hogaza (662,000), Hugo Lemaire (516,000), and Brian England (426,000).

Fabian Ortiz (275,000), Jordan Westmorland (239,000), Alex Manzano (217,000), Carter Gill (210,000), Alex Brenes (174,000), and the lone remaining Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez (169,000) will also be back on Saturday. Click here for a full list of all 47 returning players and their chip counts.

From a 550-entry field there were 179 players taking seats as Day 2 took off, and the action commenced immediately with big hands right away, including one catapulting start-of-day chip leader Farid Jattin up further to more than twice his nearest challenger during the early going.

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Farid Jattin

As players fell others eventually emerged to challenge Jattin, including Brian England who soon got near the Colombian in chips, then passed him for a while to lead until Jattin took back over the top spot.

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Brian England

As the afternoon wore on nearly 100 players had fallen, the towers of chips starting to resemble the crowded Panama City landscape as a result.

While LAPT6 Brazil winner Victor Sbrissa was among the eliminated, several former LAPT Main Event champions remained in the mix, including Team PokerStars Pros Leo Fernandez and double-winner Nacho Barbero, Fabian Ortiz, Alex Manzano, and Carter Gill.

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Carter Gill

At last the bubble arrived, and after a lengthy sequence of hand-for-hand play Sebastian Orjuela became the unfortunate player to finish one spot shy of the cash after his pocket kings failed to hold against LAPT6 Player of the Year Amos Ben's ace-queen.

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Sebastian Orjuela

FPP-satellite winner Angelina Rich would be the next player out and the first to make the money by finishing 79th.

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Angelina Rich

Serafin Ponti (76th), Scott Montgomery (74th), and Gustavo Lopes (65th) would be among those following her to the rail, then Team PokerStars Pro Humberto Brenes would follow them a bit later (57th) as the night wound to a close.

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Team PokerStars Pro Humberto Brenes

Brenes's teammate Nacho Barbero would soon join him among the eliminated (55th), as would Amos Ben (53rd), Anthony Spinella (50th), and Chris "Big Huni" Hunichen (49th). Finally after having slid down the counts it was start-of-day leader Farid Jattin becoming the last player eliminated on Day 2 in 48th. Click here for a list of all LAPT7 Panama Main Event finishes.

It's time to join the pool party on the other side of the seventh floor of the Veneto Wyndham Grand Hotel. After those festivities and a good night's rest, the players and the rest of us will be back tomorrow starting at 12 noon local time (Central).

Perhaps Ecenarro has the right idea, not worrying too greatly about just how many chips he has to end the second day. After all, in two more days all the chip counting will be done, with every player's total but one being exactly the same. Join us tomorrow as we continue to discover who will be that exception and our next LAPT champion.

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.