LAPT7 Panama: First hour sees Fernandez, fifteen others fall

We wondered if perhaps the pace might be quick to start today. After one level the answer is a resounding ... as in sixteen! That's the number of players ousted during just the first hour of play on Day 3, swiftly carving our field from 47 down to 31.

They'd barely sat down when the U.K.'s Scott Margererson was ousted in 47th after an early confrontation with Guillermo Olvera of Mexico.

Soon after that a hand developed that saw Carter Gill of the U.S. opening with a minimum-raise to 16,000 from early position, then the Brazilian Rubens Bontempo reraising to 38,000 from the big blind. Gill called, and following a T♥2♣J♦ flop it was Bontempo pushing the 150,000 or so he had left in the middle and Gill calling without hesitating a beat.

Bontempo had an open-ender with K♣Q♣ while Gill's J♥T♦ gave him top two, then the T♣ fell on the turn to fill Gill up and end all further doubt about the hand's outcome. Moments later Bontempo was at the cashier's table to collect his winnings for finishing 46th.

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Rubens Bontempo

Rafael Chung (45th), Steve Thompson (44th), Gael Robert Gilbert (43rd), Robert Lipkin (42nd), Jose Manuel Solares (41st), Ricardo Andres Chauriye (40th), and Andres Felipe Alzate Gomez (39th) would all march over to the payout desk over the next several minutes as the bustouts continued unabated.

Over on the feature table Joseph Santana ran 7♠7♣ into Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez's A♥A♦ to fall in 38th, with Tim Marsters (37th) and Pablo Gonzalez (36th) hitting the rail shortly thereafter.

Alas for Fernandez, he wasn't able to put Santana's chips to good use as he'd soon be out in 35th.

The fall was hard but perhaps inevitable for the Argentinian after preflop back-and-forthing with Peter Nigh brought them to a [10s]K♥[10h] flop, at which point Fernandez's stack would find its way into the middle behind the strength of his A♦K♦. But Nigh had a stranglehold on the hand, having flopped quads with [10c][10d], and two cards later Fernandez made his leave.

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Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez

Michelle Reyes of Ecuador -- the lone woman left in the event -- next went out in 34th after running pocket jacks into an opponent's queens. And Yehia Ali Lama (33rd) and Bakalo Gal (32nd) likewise made their exits before the second hour had even begun.

Meanwhile leader Derek Ecenarro continues to hold sway over on the feature table, sitting confidently behind a stack of more than 1.2 million while staying out in front -- the only constant during the dynamic first hour of Day 3.

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David Ecenarro

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.