LAPT Punta del Este: Pop!

And there we have it. The bubble has burst.

After a relatively short period of hand-for-hand combat, it was a sick outdraw that ended it. It usually is, if the truth be known, and so it was in Punta del Este. Alex Brenes, who was comfortably stacked, raised under the gun to about 15,000. He'd been doing it a lot, profiting from the tightening of players' starting requirements in this, the most tense of circumstances.

Jamal Kunbuz, left, and Alex Brenes

It was folded to Jamal Kunbuz in the big blind, who was short stacked and now faced a tough decision. He pondered, then agonised, and then he flat called. The flop was eight high. That was enough for Kunbuz to announce all in for his meagre stack and Brenes had the quick chance to offer his opponent a rueful glance, a wry smile before he announced that he was going to call.

No surprise there: Brenes flipped pocket eights and had flopped the top set. Kunbuz had pocket tens for the over-pair that had been outdrawn. It's difficult to figure out how either of them could have avoided the money going in. That's that, we're down to 31.

Of those now guaranteed a pay-day are Team PokerStars Pros Alexandre Gomes, Humberto Brenes and Vanessa Rousso. It's each of their first cashes on the Latin America Poker Tour and each are suitably delighted. Gomes has a massive stack, way north of 120,000, and he also now has his mother in the audience, cheering him on. It's a family game.

As a side point, there was also drama occurring on another table during the bubble period, featuring the PokerStars qualifier Carter Gill. For a while, it looked as though Gill might be the one to go away with nothing, and our photographer Joe Giron was camped around that table waiting for what seemed likely to be the end of it all.


It wasn't, as it turned out, but the photo Giron provided is still worth featuring. Here's the kind of tension these moments can generate: a picture worth a thousand words.


Away from all the excitement of the tournament room, one of poker's most unflappable campaigners, Team PokerStars Pro Barry Greenstein, talked to our video bloggers about the changing face of poker and his role in it.

Watch LAPT Punta del Este: Barry Greenstein on