LAPT8 Brazil: Super Mario collecting all the coins
We spoke yesterday about the Latin American Poker Tour Season 8 Player of the Year race, currently led by the Chilean Oscar Alache thanks to his LAPT8 Chile Main Event title (his second overall), two more side event wins on the tour this year, plus numerous final tables.
Alache has performed well outside the LAPT, too, this year, racking up cashes on the EPT, at the WSOP, the APT, and elsewhere. When it comes to stars of the tour making a big splash elsewhere, Argentina's Ivan Luca is also worthy of consideration after having consistently racked up cashes all over Europe this year while also earning his first career WSOP bracelet.
Luca isn't playing the Grand Final this week, but his fellow countryman Mario Lopez is, and in fact when it comes to challenging for the status of "breakout" player of the year from the LAPT, Lopez may well be the one most worthy of the designation.
The former medical doctor earned his first LAPT cash way back in Season 2, then steadily continued to accumulate scores over the next few years before winning the LAPT7 Chile Main Event in Viña del Mar in March 2014.
The cashes kept coming thereafter for Lopez, then at this summer's World Series of Poker he nearly earned himself a gold bracelet after finishing 2nd out of a massive 4,555-entry field in the $1,111 Little One for One Drop, good for a just a touch under $400,000.
That stood as Lopez's highest career cash for a couple of months, then he topped that by outlasting another huge field of 3,292 in the Estrellas Poker Tour Barcelona Main Event in August, good for €408,000 or just over $450K USD.
Mere weeks later, Lopez joined the exclusive club of two-time LAPT Main Event champions after winning at LAPT8 Uruguay in September. Then the following month he went deep again in a WSOP Europe event in Berlin, ultimately finishing second once more in the €3,250 NLHE event.
Alache is thriving at present with an above-average stack of 80,000, while Lopez is on the short side with less than 25,000.
The former doctor has found ways to cure such a malady many times before, however, surviving and thriving on one of the more memorable streaks in recent memory for an LAPT player.
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.