LAPT Rio: Day two wrap

If I had just one word to describe the pervasive emotion at the end of today, the second day of the LAPT Rio event, it would be this: "Phew."

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Everyone left in the tournament room breathed a huge sigh of relief at around 2.30 this morning after a tough, tough day at the tables.

The nine who remain will be in for a monster pay-day tomorrow (financial relief there); the railbirds who have bellowed themselves hoarse from the sidelines can rest their vocal cords for eight hours or so (wheezing relief there); the dealers who have never done so much shuffling can relax those arms (aching-limbed relief there); and those of us who have watched, typed, counted, jostled, written and interpreted all of this can enjoy a combination of all of the above.

I can't even tell you the relief there.

But before we hit the hay, here's the tale. And we'll start at the end.

Tomorrow at 2pm, the following players will sit around the first final table of the PokerStars.net Latin American Poker Tour:

Julien Nuijten (Holland) -- 970,000
Alex Brenes (Costa Rica) -- 324,000
Vitaly Kovyazin (USA) -- PokerStars qualifier -- 380,000
Severin Walser (Switzerland) -- PokerStars qualifier -- 175,000

Eduardo Henriques (Brazil) -- 275,000
Rafael Pardo (Colombia) -- PokerStars qualifier --- 278,000
Juan Carlos Burguillos (Venezuela) -- 297,000
Oliver Kugler (Germany) -- PokerStars qualifier -- 176,000
Nikolai Senniger (Germany) -- PokerStars qualifier -- 318,000

They were among the 113 that returned to the tournament arena this afternoon with their eye on the top prizes. Gradually they drip, dripped away until we got to 33 left, which meant one more and we'd be in the money. That also meant, of course, that someone had to leave with nothing, and the unfortunate man was one of the popular home favourites, Piragibe Lindolfo Ataide, whose ace-eight was outflopped by Juan Carlos Burguillos's eight-two.

Among the remaining money winners was Team PokerStars Pro's Victor Ramdin, who had been down to his last 20,000 before charging to more than 100,000. But he continued the yo-yoing even after they entered the money and eventually left in 23rd.

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By that point, we were already a few bad beat to the good. Chief among them was Andrew Li, from the United States, who was one of the commanding chip leaders for several hours -- before he ran into the only other player who had him covered.

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Still, Li got it in good, with kings against Julien Nuijten's queens. But a queen came on the turn and sent Li spiralling out in 26th.

As is common in these tournaments, things went super quick for periods, then slowed to a crawl for a couple of hours. Players doubled up and players departed and no one fitted more snugly in the first category than Alex Marques, who must have been all in at least seven times to take him up from 20,000 to more than 300,000.

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But when someone had to take the fall to take us to our final nine, it was that man Marques, who found kings but ran into Julien Nuijten's aces. The roller coaster ended with a brutal bump.

So, Julien will go to the final table as a massive chip leader, with close to a million in chips.

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He'll be joined by the PokerStars qualifiers Vitaly Kovyazin, from New York, Severin Walser, from Switzerland, Oliver Kugler, originally from Germany but now living in Rio, and Nikolai Senniger, also from Germany.

Rafael Pardo is also a PokerStars qualifier, and he probably has the most to win. He joined the qualification hunt at step one, for $7.50, and took it all the way to the final table in Rio.

Also there is a familiar name, if not a familiar face. The Mr. Brenes who will take his seat around the felt is not Humberto, but his younger brother Alex, who had his share of ups and downs before edging into the last handful.

Join us tomorrow for all the blow-by-blow final table action, beginning at 2pm local time.

In the meantime, take a look back at some of today's action:

The final three, then two, tables
Into the money
Pop! The bubble bursts
Vultures circling
Making moves
Rio on the small screen
Victor's charge
Kumar's rise to contention
Nasty and nastier
Day two scene setting

Full chip counts can be found HERE

Prize-winners so far, and a reminder of what they're playing for, can be found HERE

And full video coverage can be found over at PokerStars.tv

See you all tomorrow.

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