LAPT7 Panama: Hugo Lemaire leaves in eighth; Ortiz still on top

The first half-hour has seen lots of action during the final table's first dozen hands, culminating in the day's first elimination.

Rios on a roll early; Ortiz bounces back

The very first hand of the final table saw Ortiz open-raising from the small blind and Rios calling, then Ortiz fired increasingly large barrels on the flop, turn, and river as the board came 7♥J♠2♥5♦3♣, with Rios calling each time.

By the last bet Ortiz had committed over 1 million chips to the hand, and Rios's final call came instantly. Ortiz then showed [10h]2♦ for bottom pair, and Rios tabled 7♣5♣ for a turned two pair to earn the huge pot.

Suddenly Rios was up around 3 million, the new leader, while Oritz had lost half his stack to slip back below the average.

Rios would win the next hand versus his neighbor Alexander Haber in another blind-vs.-blind battle, and the third one, too, versus Hugo Suarez to extend his newly-obtained lead even further.

Things settled for the rest of the orbit, then when Ortiz and Rios met again in the blinds it would be the Argentinian winning more than a half-million back after making a flush versus Rios's trips. Flopping a full house against Nick Russo soon after earned him more chips, and just like that Ortiz was back to 3 million, having nudged back ahead of Russo and into first.

Lemaire leaves in eighth

Soon short stack Antonio Hogaza was pushing all in from middle position with his last 295,000 with 9♣8♦ and Hugo Lemaire called from the big blind with 7♥6♦. The flop missed both, then a six on the turn put Hogaza in peril. But a nine fell on fifth street and Hogaza survived.

The very next hand saw Hogaza open-push for 700,000 from middle position, Rios call from the cutoff, then Hugo Lemaire think a short while before calling all in with his last 250,000 from the small blind.

Lemaire: K♥Q♠
Hogaza: A♦[10h]
Rios: 8♣8♠

The flop came A♠7♦9♠, putting Hogaza in front, and while the K♦ turn helped Lemaire, the 3♠ river wasn't enough for the Frenchman, and he leaves in eighth for $17,700.

LAPT -PANA-7S-2600.jpg

Hugo Lemaire, 8th place

A half-hour in, then, and Ortiz is still the front-runner with seven now left.

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.