LAPT8 Peru: Meet the final eight
Welcome back to today's last day of play in the Latin American Poker Tour Peru Main Event, where just eight players will be returning from a 366-entry field, each looking to follow the footsteps of LAPT Bahamas winner Josh Key, LAPT Chile winner Oscar Alache, and LAPT Panama winner Shakeeb Kazemipur to become a Season 8 champion.
It's a bit unusual to report that no representatives of the home country will be seated at this LAPT final table, as the last Peruvian -- Jose Espinoza -- was knocked out in 11th. That left four Chileans, two Brazilians, a Colombian, and one from Lebanon to duke it out today for the trophy and the $156,576 first prize awaiting the winner.
With play starting in just a short while, let's learn a little more about each of the final eight.
Seat 1: Carlos Moya (Chile) -- 1,673,000
A 51-year-old businessman from Chile, Claudio Moya has been a LAPT regular for some time now, with cashes dating back to Season 3. When not playing poker -- a hobby he's enjoyed for the last nine years -- he likes watching others play the game on television and enjoys racing, too.
Moya knows what it is like to go relatively deep in an LAPT Main Event, in fact making it all of the way to 14th in this very tournament at LAPT7 Peru last October. The $9,880 he earned for that finish represents his biggest tourney cash, so he's already guaranteed to exceed that today. And with the chip lead and more than 100 big blinds with which to work, he's well positioned to earn well over the $19,060 everyone has already locked up for making it this far.
Seat 2: Ricardo Chauriye (Chile) -- 320,000
Ricardo Chauriye has earned a half-dozen cashes over the last year playing in various events around his native Chile and Panama. He'll start today as the table's short stack.
Chauriye's largest previous score came at the Gran Final Campeonato Nacional de Poker EPS in Santiago where he finished fourth of 257 in the Main Event for a prize worth just over $13,000 USD, with two-time LAPT champion Oscar Alache also at that final table (taking seventh).
Seat 3: Jose Ili (Chile) -- 382,000
Jose Ili has a couple of LAPT cashes to his credit, having finished 13th in a $200 "Survivor" event at LAPT5 Chile and 17th in a $500 NLHE event at LAPT7 Peru. Both of those cashes by the Chilean player were for under $2,000, however, so he's already assured of a career-high tourney score by a large measure here today.
An engineer by trade who also enjoys playing football and tennis, Ili has been playing poker for eight years though mainly considers the game as a source of fun and entertainment. He says he feels honored to have made it this far to compete against such talented opponents.
Seat 4: Daniel Ramirez (Colombia) -- 1,503,000
The 27-year-old Colombian Daniel Ramirez began Day 3 with an average stack but soon began collecting pots -- and knockouts -- at a fast clip, storming to the top of the counts and appearing as though he might carry the chip lead into today's final table. As it is, Moya's knockout of Patricio Rojas in ninth helped him sneak past the Colombian into the current top spot, although Ramirez still sits in prime position to run deep today.
Ramirez has been playing poker for six years and considers himself both a professional player while also working as an administrator. When not at the tables he enjoys going to the movies and spending time with his wife.
Seat 5: Chadi Moustapha (Lebanon) -- 900,000
The end-of-Day 2 chip leader in this event, earlier this year Chadi Moustapha of Lebanon final tabled the Brazilian Series of Poker Rio Quente Main Event, eventually finishing sixth for a career-best cash worth about $18,600 USD. This marks Moustapha's first ever LAPT.
An IT consultant currently living in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, besides poker Moustapha enjoys traveling and reading.
Seat 6: Marcus Martinez (Brazil) -- 815,000
Marcus Martinez is a young poker player from Pernambuco, Brazil currently living and playing in Peru. This represents his first major tournament cash.
Seat 7: Cristian Aceiton Ruiz (Chile) -- 826,000
There's just one small cash on Cristian Aceiton Ruiz's tourney résumé, earned in a side event here in Lima at LAPT3 Peru, so today marks a big finish for the Chilean.
A 44-year-old businessman, he's been playing poker for a decade, having visited previous LAPTs here in Lima as well as in Uruguay, Brazil, and Chile. He cites fellow countryman and former LAPT Player of the Year Amos Ben as his greatest influence.
Seat 8: Helio Neves (Brazil) -- 827,000
Helio Neves boasts several impressive tourney scores in both his native Brazil and Chile, including a couple of victories on the BSOP in a side event in his home city of Salvador in 2010 and in a high roller in Sao Paulo in 2011, the latter worth the equivalent of about $32K USD.
The 24-year-old enters today with just a little over half the stack of leader Moya, but if Day 3 is any indication, coming back isn't a problem for him. He started yesterday 30th of 32 before catapulting up the counts soon after the start of play.
Neves has been playing poker -- primarily online -- for the last eight years, while also enjoying traveling and playing tennis.
Those are our final eight. Here's what they'll be playing for today:
Play gets underway in just about an hour at 12 noon local time here at the Atlantic City casino located in the heart of the Miraflores district in Lima -- that's an hour behind Eastern time, and five hours behind GMT. We'll be here from start to finish to bring you all the action, so stick close and we'll find out together who among these eight will become the next LAPT Main Event champion.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.