LAPT8 Brazil: A heads-up deal, a couple of doubles, and a big fold
Afonse Henrique had held the chip lead for nearly the entire final table, even at one point half the total chips with there were still eight players left. But Yuri "theNERDguy" Martins grabbed the edge at three-handed, then after knocking out Andrés Herrera in third was well ahead of Henrique with 8.24 million to Henrique's 4.605 million to begin heads-up play.
Henrique took the first pot of heads-up, a decent-sized one worthy of a fist pump and shout from him upon collecting the pot. He then open-shoved the next hand and Martins folded, and the gap between them narrowed a little more.
Just a few hands later the pair spent a moment counting up their stacks, and with Martins still enjoying a slight lead they decided to pause proceedings and talk about a possible deal.
It didn't take long before they were able to come to terms -- R$533,871 for each player, leaving R$118,638 for which to play. Soon they were back in their seats, and hands were being dealt once more.
Not long thereafter the pair saw a flop with Henrique leading, Martins raising, then Henrique reraising back and earning fold, the pot being pushed to him enough to give him back the chip lead. As we'd seen him do before, Henrique stood from the table, shouting and pumping his fist in contrast to the typically quiet deliberation with which he acted during hands.
But soon after that Martins would draw out two pair in a hand to earn a decent-sized pot, and he edged back in front once again.
Then came a hand in which Martins raised his button, Henrique called, and a flop came 4♣7♦3♦. Henrique checked, then Martins fired a bet of 450,000. Henrique swiftly responded with a raise to 1.5 million. At that Martins paused several beats, then announced he was all in. Henrique quickly called.
Martins showed Q♣7♣ for top pair, but Henrique had hit bottom two with 4♠3♠. Henrique stood up from his chair and began making noise once more, continuing to shout despite the 9♣ turn card that provided Martins a flush draw. Martins, meanwhile, sat with a stoic look, and his expression didn't change when the T♠ river blanked for him, earning more shouts from Henrique.
The chips were counted and reordered accordingly, with Henrique now up over 11.7 million to Martins's 1.325 million (about eight big blinds).
Martins's all-in raise on the next hand went uncalled, then a few hands after that they were up to Level 33, where the blinds were 100K/200K with a 30K ante. Martins shoved again, once more earning a fold. On the very next hand Henrique open-pushed from the button, and Martins called right away to commit the just over 1 million he had left.
Henrique had J♣9♣ while Martins had A♦7♥. The flop came T♦6♣3♥, keeping Martins in front, then the A♠ turn meant he'd clinched the hand to double back over 2 million.
A little later Martins had chipped up to about 3.7 million when a key hand took place.
It began with a raise to 450,000 by Martins from the button, then Henrique reraised to 1 million and Martins called. The flop then came 6♠K♥A♦, prompting a bet of 1.5 million from Henrique.
Martins went deep into the tank, thinking for a couple of minutes, then decided to call the bet and keep about 1.2 million behind. The pot was up to 5 million.
The turn was the J♦, and after Henrique checked, Martins put in his last chips. Henrique didn't act right away, then with a pained look let his hand go.
Martins won the next couple of hands after that, and now has nearly drawn even with Henrique! Keep close!
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.