LAPT8 Brazil: A tale of sound and Yuri; "theNERDguy" Martins wins Grand Final

It's all over from São Paulo! What an incredible five days it has been, with a suitably exciting finish. When we last left off, just two were left from the 426-entry field, both from Brazil -- Yuri Martins and Afonse Henrique. And after an up-and-down battle following a two-handed deal, it was Martins managing to outlast his fellow countryman to win the Latin American Poker Tour Grand Final and a prize of R$652,509.


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Yuri Martins - LAPT Grand Final champion

When we last left off Martins and Henrique were well into their heads-up duel, with the stacks nearly even after both players had survived all-ins to continue the match.


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The Grand Final's grand finish

Martins then edged ahead once again, and after Henrique chose to open-raise his stack of 5.645 million from the button (about 23 big blinds), Martins made the call.

Henrique: K♣9♠
Martins: K♦Q♥

The large crowd began to yell, all gathered in front of the feature table and down the center aisle of the spacious Golden Room here in the World Trade Center São Paulo complex. Even players in the Brazilian Series of Poker Main Event turned to look up at the big screen over the feature table as the announcer reported what was happening.

The flop came 5♦Q♣9♥, pairing both players' kickers, and the sound from the crowd swelled louder. Martins remained seated with a serious look, but broke into a grin when Henrique came over and patted his shoulder, bending over to share a few words.

The turn was the 7♠, signifying nothing (as the saying goes). Then came the river -- the K♥ -- and it was over. The crowd roared as Martins stood beside Henrique and the pair shook hands, exchanging congratulations and discussing details of what had just happened between them.


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A last heads-up exchange amid the noise

As "theNERDguy" on PokerStars and elsewhere, Martins has earned over $5 million playing online, highlighted by a runner-up finish in the World Championship of Online Poker Main Event in 2014. Meanwhile, what he earns for this win easily exceeds his previous best live cash -- only one of the reasons why the win is a momentous one for Martins.

"Being able to win here in Brazil is great," he explained afterwards. "Getting to celebrate with friends makes it very special."

Backing up to the start of the day, Brazil was well represented among the final eight players, comprising six of the eight making it to today's final day.


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The final eight

Henrique had a narrow chip lead to start the day, but during the first two hours of play would increase that advantage dramatically while the short stacks held on desperately to keep surviving. At one point Henrique actually pulled off the uncommon achievement of having half the chips in play with eight players left!


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Afonse Henrique - 2nd place

Finally things began to turn for the short stacks, with two Brazilians -- Gustavo Lopes and Bruno Kawauti -- going out shortly thereafter, both knocked out by Henrique.


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Gustavo Lopes - 8th place


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Bruno Kawauti - 7th place


A little while later two more players from Brazil were ousted -- Carlos Alves who ran jacks into Andrés Herrera's aces, then Alexandre Rivero whose pair of tens couldn't hold up against Martins's ace-jack.


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Carlos Alves - 6th place


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Alexandre Rivero - 5th place

That left two Chileans and two Brazilians with a chance at the trophy, but as it would happen the two players from Chile would be the next ones out.

Ricardo Chauriye had made his second LAPT Main Event final table of the season, having finished eighth at LAPT8 Peru. Here he made it all the way to fourth, getting knocked out after pushing his short stack with king-four, getting called by Martins who had a pair of jacks, and failing to improve.


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Ricardo Chauriye - 4th place

Then Chauriye's fellow countryman Andrés Herrera took ace-six up against Martins's queen-jack, saw a jack come among the community cards, and was eliminated in third.


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Andrés Herrera - 3rd place

That gave Martins about a 2-to-1 lead to start heads-up play, but Henrique would double through and push Martins down to just a few big blinds and the edge of elimination. But Martins climbed back, and after a lengthy battle managed to prevail.


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Yuri, with some of the sound-makers

LAPT8 Brazil - Grand Final Main Event final table results
Entries: 426
Prize pool: R$3,760,300

1. Yuri Martins (Brazil) -- R$652,509*
2. Afonso Henrique (Brazil) -- R$533,871*
3. Andrés Herrera (Chile) -- R$329,030
4. Ricardo Chauriye (Chile) -- R$261,340
5. Alexandre Rivero (Brazil) -- R$204,940
6. Carlos Alves (Brazil) -- R$160,540
7. Bruno Kawauti (Brazil) -- R$120,700
8. Gustavo Lopes (Brazil) -- R$85,730
*= reflects the results of a two-way deal that left R$118,638 in play for the winner

As noted, it's been an amazing five days here watching the LAPT Grand Final play out while surrounded by the huge BSOP Millions series. It's easy to see at a glance that poker in Brazil is booming:


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The appropriately named BSOP Millions

While the BSOP Millions will continue through next week, that's all for us from São Paulo as the Latin American Poker Tour's eighth season comes to a close. Obrigado to everyone for following our coverage from Brazil and all year long. The LAPT returns soon in January to kick off Season 9 with the LAPT Bahamas event. See you then!

Photography from LAPT8 Brazil by Carlos Monti.

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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.