LAPT8 Panama: Kazemipur vs Iermolcheva
It's the matchup everyone expected, Shakeeb Kazemipur vs Olga Iermolcheva.
Since the beginning of the tournament, there was rarely a moment where one of these two players didn't have the lead.
Both players dealt elimination after elimination on the way to the final table and the only players who seemed to take big pots off them were each other.
The final table was no different.
We often see tournament chip leaders fall from grace at the final table but these two just kept chipping up and eliminating players. Kazemipur was the one mostly responsible for the actual eliminations.
Despite winning several large pots, Iermolcheva only eliminated one player to get heads up, Kazemipur knocked out all the others.
This included Fancisco Rocha, whom Kazemipur hacked away at.
Rocha looked down at Q♠Q♦ in the small blind and called. Kazemipur checked his option and the flop came A♥J♦T♣. Rocha bet 45,000 and Kazemipur raised to 105,000. Rocha called and a 4♥ came on the turn.
Rocha checked and then called Kazemipur's 180,000 bet. An 8♣ completed the board and Rocha checked.
Kazemipur moved all-in and Rocha thought for some time before he folded the best hand.
Iermolcheva tried to get Kazemipur to show what he had after the hand but Kazemipur didn't relent.
Kazemipur chipped up to while Rocha dipped to about 400,000.
Then Kazemipur raised to 115,000 from under-the-gun and Francsico Rocha moved all-in for 375,000 from the big blind. Kazemipur called but his K♦9♥ was dominated by Rocha's K♥Q♣.
No sweat for Kazemipur though.
The board ran 9♦6♦3♥5♣4♦ and Rocha was out. Rocha won $64,700 for the 4th place finish while Kazemipur's lead grew to close to 4.285 million.
Iermolcheva was in 2nd with 2.83 million while Tullio Bertoli was at 1.31 million
Then Iermolchova started closing in on the lead.
Iermolcheva raised to 120,000 from the button and Kazemipur called from the big blind.
The flop came 7♥9♠Q♣ and both players checked. Kazemipur bet 135,000 and Iermolcheva called. A 2♣ completed the board and Kazemipur bet 225,000.
Iermolcheva called and took down the hand with K♥T♦ to Kazemipur's K♠3♠.
Iermolcheva rose to 3.5 million while Kazemipur dipped to 4 million.
Iermolcheva kept chipping away at Kazemipur and took back the lead.
Then Kazemipur knocked out Bertoli out to even things up.
Bertoli started the day with 1.1 million and hovered around the million mark for most of the final table, silently picking his spots and doubling up when necessary.
But Bertoli couldn't keep up with Iermolcheva and Kazemipur's relentless aggression and had nowhere to hide when play got three-handed.
Kazemipur raised to 125,000 from the button and Bertoli moved all-in for 895,000 from the big blind. Kazemipur snap-called and showed K♦K♠ while Bertoli tabled A♦3♠.
Bertoli needed an ace but the 3♦Q♠2♥9♦2♣ board didn't comply .
Bertoli was out in 3rd place and won $81,460 for his final table performance.
There was no one left for the deadly duo to play against and they were nearly even in chips.
Olga Iermolcheva started the heads-up match 4,255,000 while Kazemipur had 4,065,000.
For multilingual coverage, check out our Spanish PokerStars Blog and our Brazilian PokerStars Blog. If you're more of a watcher, head over to LAPT Live to check out the live stream. Updates are also available on the LAPT Facebook page.
All photos are snapped by Carlos Monti and all words are clacked by Alexander Villegas.