LAPT8 Bahamas: Kay breaks Finger's momentum, wins heads-up
With a better than 2-to-1 chip lead to start heads-up play, Martin Finger appeared primed to add a Latin American Poker Tour title -- in one of the biggest LAPT Main Events ever -- to his EPT Main Event and Super High Roller wins and WSOP bracelet. And after chipping up further during the first part of his duel with Josh Kay, it appeared even more likely.
But Kay began battling back, picking up a few chips with a pocket pair, then another modest pot when he flopped trips. Then after picking up another pot he was up to 6.2 million, having closed the gap with Finger who'd slipped to about 8.2 million.
Then came a hand in which Finger raised his button, Kay called, and the flop came 4♠3♠5♦.
Here we must admit the undeniable effect of watching the "cards up" coverage on the live stream as it has its influence on how suspense can build.
In this case Finger's hand was obscured, but Kay's was not. And Kay had a good one for this flop, all right -- 7♠6♦.
Kay checked his straight, Finger continued for 140,000, Kay made it 390,000 to go, and Finger called. The 8♥ turn brought another bet of 700,000 from Kay, and after thinking a while Finger called. Then the Q♥ river saw Kay betting a hefty 1.8 million, and Finger exhalingly call once more.
Kay still had the nuts, and then we discovered what Finger had -- 5♣4♥ for two pair. Suddenly it was Kay sitting with 9.245 million and Finger down to 5 million.
The very next hand saw Kay flop a flush with his suited jack-ten, and he'd earn a little more there to bump up over 10 million. He'd flop trips next and get a couple of streets' worth of value, and just like that Kay was up over 11 million to Finger's 3.1 million.
While Finger had been the one eliminating opponents with pocket aces and flopping two pair during the afternoon, now Kay was getting the cards -- and making the right bets in order to benefit from them.
Then a hand arose that saw Finger open for 160,000 from the button with Q♦[10d], then Kay look down to see 9♠9♦. He three-bet to 450,000 behind the strength of his pocket pair, and after thinking a moment Finger called.
It was yet another Kay-favorable flop, coming 8♣9♣5♥ to give him a set while Finger drew an open-ended straight. Kay led for 325,000, and Finger called.
The turn was the [10h], pairing Finger, and this time Kay checked. Finger paused about a half-minute, then slid 525,000 ahead of him, leaving himself about 1.7 million behind. Kay sat quietly for several seconds, then announced he was all in.
Finger sat back in his chair and amid much head-rubbing and focus spent a full three minutes deciding what to do. Finally with the toss of a single chip he indicated he was calling.
Finger slumped a little after seeing he was down to four outs -- the remaining jacks in the deck -- to survive. The Q♣ fell to give him a second-best two pair, and it was all over -- Kay had won.
Finger falls just shy of creating his own special "Triple Crown" here today, but pockets a handsome $223,900 nonetheless. Meanwhile Kay earns the title and $367,928, a huge achievement for the Michigan-based player whose previous career earnings had totaled $110,000.
Back shortly with a recap of this exciting final day of action from the LAPT Bahamas.
Photography from LAPT8 Bahamas by Carlos Monti. Click here for live updates in Spanish, and here for live updates in Portuguese. And be sure to check out the cards-up final table coverage over at EPT Live.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.