LAPT Rio: Final table action

Julien Nuijten, from Amsterdam, Holland, wins LAPT Rio, earning $222,940

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Vitaly Kovyazin, PokerStars qualifier from New York, is elimiminated in second place, earning $117,750

8.05pm -- This one is all over. Julien Nuijten, the 19-year-old from Amsterdam, takes it down. He finally gets a hand to stand up. Julien bets 100,000 pre-flop and Vitaly calls. The flop comes 7d-7s-Qs and he bets 100,000 again. Vitaly bumps it up to 300,000 and Julien calls. The turn is the 2s and Vitaly moves all in for about 800,000. Julien calls instantly and shows 7s-8s for trips with a flush draw. Vitaly shows Qh-5s for top pair. Julien has to dodge a queen on the end and this time he manages it, meaning Vitaly is gone. The FPP player from New York played a fierce final table game, but youth prevailed.

8pm -- Julien returns to his previous guise as aggressor, entering any pot in position and betting every time Vitaly checks. That is usually enough to take it down. One hand they go a bit further, with Vitaly betting 120,000 on the turn, which is called by Julien. Julien bets the river and takes it.

7.50pm -- Vitaly has oiled his raising arm and has been taking down a few pots from Julien, re-raising the Dutchman's flop bets. Then they get it all the way to the river on one hand -- certainly a rarity -- where Julien's turned pair of eights best Vitaly's flopped pair of fours. They're dead even.

7.45pm -- Take a look at the video profiles of all the final table players, including the two duking it out in front of me at the moment:

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7.40pm -- Wow. If Julien Nuijten doesn't win this, he's going to look back at this hand and realise he couldn't have got closer. Vitali gets it all in on a flop of Jd-9d-9h, re-raising Julien's flop bet. Julien insta-calls and shows A-8d for the nut flush draw. Everyone expects Vitali to have some kind of hand, but he actually shows a total bluff: 8s-5c. Even Julien's ace high is good if this one bricks, but it doesn't. The river is a miraculous five, giving the FPP qualifier from New York the two pair. We're back to even again.

7.30pm -- Julien continues his dominance of this heads up when he moves in on a flop of 7d-7s-5h. Julien had raised pre-flop, Vitaly called. Then came those two sevens and a five and Julien bet 100,000. Vitali made it 300,000 and Julien went in over the top. Vitali scowled and folded and Julien showed six-eight for the open-ended straight draw.

7.20pm -- Big pot for Julien, catching Vitaly with his hands in the cookie jar. Julien raises to 90,000 pre-flop, Vitaly calls. They both check the Jc-8d-10s flop and the 6h turns. Vitaly bets 125,000 and Julien calls. The river is 5c and Vitaly bets 200,000. Julien calls. Vitaly wants to muck, but the dealer shows his three high. Julien had 8-6 and is now back in the lead.

7.15pm -- Double up for Vitaly Kovyazin.
The very next hand it all goes in on a flop of Ks-6c-7c. Vitaly shows 7-8 for middle pair, but Julien has K-Q for top pair. Vitaly is the all in player, but he gets a massive reprieve on the river when a second seven spikes and gives him his trips. They're about where they started.

7.11pm -- The first major pot goes to Julien Nuijten. Vitaly makes up the big blind and they check the board of 4d 8h 8d.The turn brings a 6s and Vitaly bets 50,000. Julien calls. The river is Qh and then it gets frisky.Julien bets 120,000, Vitaly makes it 300,000 and Julien moves in. Vitaly folds.

7.10pm -- Neither of these players are scared to get their chips in, and each pot is opened for about 90,000. Call is the standard response, but it's never got past the turn after one or the other bets 100,000.

7.05pm -- We've just moved into level 24, where the blinds and antes are: 15,000-30,000 (4,000).

7pm -- After a break for a photo call, the heads up begins. It's raise, fold for the early skirmishes with neither player on top. But these two have been at one another for at least two days and fireworks are certain.

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6.30pm -- The two most aggressive players at the table have ended heads up. No one is surprised, and this could be an excellent finale to this spectacular tournament. They are almost matched in chips, with Julien having the slight edge. Here we have it:

Julien Nuijten -- 1,761,000
Vitaly Kovyazin -- 1,417,000

Remember, you can catch up on the work of the video blog team over on

A list of the winners in Rio can be found HERE.

Nikolai Senniger, PokerStars qualifier from Germany, eliminated in third place, earning $86,350
6.20pm -- Who said "cooler"? Nikolai Senniger gets involved in a raising battle with Julien Nuijten pre-flop. It's not long until his entire stack of about 770,000 is in the middle and Julien calls. It's jacks against kings in front of Nikolai and Julien, respectively.

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There are no outdraws and Julien takes another one out. Nikolai, a PokerStars qualifier, is done.

6pm -- The two chip leaders get involved in what could have been potentially tournament ending. On a flop of 4s-Kc-5s, Vitaly checks, Julien bets 80,000 and Vitaly check-raises to 180,000. Julien insta-shoves for about a million, giving Vitaly one of those decisions that will take some time.

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He paces, he scratches his face, he paces, he props on his chair. Julien, meanwhile, chats to the tournament director and the crowd, evidently unperturbed. Vitaly eventually passes and Julien shows the 3s, which doesn't tell us much.

Chip counts after Alex Brenes's elimination
Nikolai -- 700,000
Vitaly -- 1,400,000
Julien -- 1,000,000

Alex Brenes, Costa Rica, eliminated in fourth place earning $62,800
5.45pm Brenes went on a bit of a tear, shoving his micro stack in the middle three times and doubling up on the first two occasions. But he pushed it once too often, behind queen three, and ran into queen nine.

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Although the vocal support, led by brother Humberto, got something to cheer about when Alex picked up an open-ended straight draw on the flop, it didn't get there and he was gone.

5.40pm -- Huge double up for Nikolai Senniger, particularly crucial as it came against the other short stack, Alex Brenes. It's a fairly standard pair versus overcards, all-in pre-flop enounter. Nikolai has tens; Alex has A-Q. They run it all the way for a 750,000 pot and it goes to the German qualifier.

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Alex is left with just 7,000. That's all-in on the very next hand and he doubles up, but it's going to be a long way from here.

5.30pm -- We've just entered level 23, with the blinds at 12,000-30,000 and a 3,000 ante. The approximate counts of the remaining players are:

Vitaly Kovyazin (USA) -- PokerStars qualifier -- 1,420,000
Julien Nuijten (Holland) -- 1,050,000
Nikolai Senniger (Germany) -- PokerStars qualifier -- 320,000
Alex Brenes (Costa Rica) -- 320,000

5.20pm -- The two chip leaders tangle, with Julien Nuijten coming out on top. Julien raises 60,000 pre-flop and Vitaly calls. The flop is 8d-Jc-5s and Julien bets 60,000, which Vitaly calls again. The turn is 9d and Julien bets 75,000. Vitaly calls. The river is 9s and they both now check.

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Julien shows pocket fives for the flopped set that filled up on the end. Vitaly didn't bite at the end.

5pm -- Julien Nuijten is now toying with his opponents, re-raising the short stacked Nikolai Senniger for his entire stack pre-flop, then flashing king-eight after the German player folds.

Eduardo Henriques, Brazil, eliminated in fifth place, earning $47,100
4.55pm -- The rafters just lifted here in Rio, but they settled fairly quickly as the Brazil supporting contingent dissolved into groans. Home favourite Eduardo Henriques is out, slain by Julien Nuijten.

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It's folded to Julien on the button, who raises to 55,000. Eduardo shoves all in from the small blind -- it's for about 155,000 -- and that's enough to get the first massive cheer of the hand. Julien keeps his cool, counts it out precisely, then makes the call. Julien shows Ah-5c and Eduardo has been caught with 7c-8d. However, the flop is 4c-4d-8h catapulting Eduardo into the lead, and sending the decibel-counter up to about 1,000 in the Intercontinental. The turn is the Qd, but the river is the Ac, meaning Julien has rivered the top pair and sent Eduardo out. He takes $47,100.

Oliver Kugler, PokerStars qualifier from Germany, eliminated in sixth place earning $31,400
4.35pm -- There's no stopping Vitaly Kovyazin and Oliver Kugler is his latest victim. Oliver raised to 35,000 from the cut off and Vitaly called from the big blind. The flop was all clubs: 10-3-4 and after Vitaly checked, Oliver bet 85,000. Vitaly called again. The turn was the 2c and Vitaly checked again, prompting Oliver to move his last 167,000 into the pot. Vitaly can't call quickly enough, showing Ac-6h for the turned nut flush. Oliver mucks, but the dealer shows two red queens that have been outdrawn by the aggressive American player.

4.35pm -- Humberto Brenes has taken over announcing duties on the final table, and he's even joining in the table talk. He's just noticed Julien Nuijten in the one seat and said: "Hey, I remember you. You have my chips," referring to his day one elimination at the hands of the young Dutchman. The 19-year-old is scarcely fazed and casually picks up two blue chips from his mighty stack, flourishes them at the Team PokerStars Pro with the microphone, and says: "It was about that much, right?"

4.30pm -- Entering level 22, the official chip counts are as follows:

Julien Nuijten (Holland) -- 740,000
Eduardo Henriques (Brazil) -- 224,000
Vitaly Kovyazin (USA) -- PokerStars qualifier -- 1,161,000
Nikolai Senniger (Germany) -- PokerStars qualifier -- 424,000
Alex Brenes (Costa Rica) -- 402,000
Oliver Kugler (Germany) -- PokerStars qualifier -- 258,000

7th -- Rafael Pardo (Colombia) -- PokerStars qualifier
8th -- Juan Carlos Burguillos (Venezuela)
9th -- Severin Walser (Switzerland)

Meanwhile, the video blog team have been busy this morning.

Here's an interview with Team PokerStars Pro Greg Raymer:

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And their inside look(!) on how they set some atmosphere in these short video snippets:

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You can keep up with all the video action over at

Rafael Pardo, PokerStars qualifier from Colombia, eliminated in seventh place, earning $23,500
4.10pm -- Pardo had become the short stack by the time he moved in pre-flop for about 100,000. Julien Nuijten called on the button, and Vitaly called from the big blind. The flop came 4h-9s-Kh and Alex bet 50,000, which got rid of Vitaly. Julien flipped king-queen for top pair; Rafael had 10-9 for middle pair. It didn't ge any better, though, and he was gone.

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That's still some spin up by Rafael. He qualified online from step one, which cost him $7.50. He leaves with $23,500.

4.05pm -- Welcome to the Vitaly show. He raises three times, from UTG+2, UTG+1 and UTG, each time for 40,000 or 50,000 and each time everyone else folds.

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"Come on, Vitaly. Give us a break," says Oliver Kugler. No response.

Juan Carlos Burguillos, Venezuela, eliminated in eighth place for $15,700
3.50pm -- It's folded round to Oliver Kugler, who makes a standard raise from late position. Blinds are at 8,000-16,000 at this stage. Juan Carlos pushes his short stack in, of about 56,000. Oliver is also short, but not short enough that it's not a mandatory call with any two. Juan Carlos shows Q-8d and Oliver has A-9. There's no excitement on any of the first four board cards, and the nine on the end only improves the already-superior hand. Oliver moves just shy of 300,000 and Juan Carlos is out, taking $15,700.

3.45pm -- Updated chip counts after that big hand for Nikolai

Julien Nuijten (Holland) -- 768,000
Alex Brenes (Costa Rica) -- 300,000
Vitaly Kovyazin (USA) -- PokerStars qualifier -- 1,000,000
Eduardo Henriques (Brazil) -- 280,000
Rafael Pardo (Colombia) -- PokerStars qualifier --- 120,000
Juan Carlos Burguillos (Venezuela) -- 56,000
Oliver Kugler (Germany) -- PokerStars qualifier -- 230,000
Nikolai Senniger (Germany) -- PokerStars qualifier -- 400,000

3.25pm -- A double up for Nikolai Senniger in bizarre circumstances. The German player raises to 46,000 pre-flop from the hijack seat and Juan Carlos Burguillos calls from the small blind. The flop comes 8h-5h-8c and Juan Carlos check-calls Nikolai's 35,000 bet. Before the turn is dealt, Juan Carlos announces that he's all in blind, for a stack that covers Nikolai's. The turn is a 10c and Nikolai tanks. Then he calls and shows J-10 and has just made top pair. But Juan Carlos flips 8-6d for trips. There are huge cheers from the South Americans in the stands but they're instantly muted when another ten lands on the river, filling both players up.

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But Nikolai's tens full beats Juan Carlos's eights full, leaving the German player with about 280,000 and Juan Carlos to reflect on a two-outer.

3.10pm -- We enter level 21 and it's getting a touch cagey. Mostly it's blind-on-blind action, with steal attempts being cut down. Most recently, Alex Brenes has a stab at the short stack and the big blind of Oliver Kugler, but the German player pushes it all in and Brenes gives up.

3pm -- A newly chipped-up Vitaly flexes his muscles and forces a river fold from Rafael Pardo. Vitaly raises a small amount pre-flop, and Rafael calls. The flop is 10s-8h-6c and Vitaly bets 60,000. Rafael calls. The scary 9c turns and after Vitaly checks, Rafael now has a stab, sliding in 60,000. Vitaly calls. Almost immediately after the river, the Qd, Vitaly announces all in. Rafael is put to a decision for his tournament life, and passes.

2.45pm -- A pot for Alex Brenes, bringing Costa Rican cheers from brother Humberto and other family. Nikolai raises from the cut off, Alex re-raises from the button, another 70,000. Nikolai calls. The flop is ace high and, after Nikolai checks, Alex bets 70,000. Fold. Whoop. Holler. Cheer. "Costa Rica! Costa Rica!"

2.40pm -- Another huge hand very early on this final table and Vitaly doubles up. Julien makes a standard raise from mid position and Vitaly moves all in, two seats to his left. Julien thinks for a while, but eventually calls and flips red queens.

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Vitaly's black aces are never threatened by the board, and he doubles up, taking a huge dent out of the chip leader.

2.35pm -- The first familiar raucous cheer from the sidelines can mean only one thing: a pot for a Brazilian. In this case, it's the last remaining home favourite Eduardo Henriques who moves in from the button. Everyone folds. The blinds and antes are worth about 200 decibels.

Severin Walser, PokerStars qualifier from Zurich, Switzerland, is eliminated in ninth place for $11,775
2.30pm -- We've lost our first player, barely 20 minutes into the event. It's Severin Walser, who moves his short stack (about 160,000) into the middle from early position. Rafael Pardo moves all in over the top from the small blind. They flip them and Severin's A-Jc is in big trouble against Pardo's aces. There's no outdraw and Walser walks, to be consoled by Humberto Brenes.

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He takes $11,775 for ninth.

2.25pm -- We have the first all in of the final table, and it's a big pre-flop shove from Julien Nuijten. That, in fact, covers Rafael Pardo, who lets it go.

2.15pm -- After the regular flurry of flash-bulbs and scrum of media attention abates, we're playing some poker now in Rio. Regular updates of all the action will appear here -- click refresh for the very latest.

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