LAPT Peru: Peru leads, Barbero looks for number three

It's another warm day in Lima. The streets are bustling and construction is going on, business as usual.

But in the Atlantic City Casino, there's a tiny roped off section in the poker room that's blasting U2. The area is roped off because it's holding spectators away from the final 24 players of the LAPT Grand Final. I have no idea why U2 is playing.

As some floor staff enthusiastically mouth "you got stuck in a moment," players are starting to come in. Brent Sheirbon is the first on scene. He already stacked his chips and is flipping through his phone while all the other bags remain sealed.

"I always come late, so I decided to come early and check things out," Sheirbon said. "It sucked. I have Ospina to my left and the aggressive French guy to my right."

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Brent Sheirbon and tongue

But Sheirbon and the other 23 won't be stuck in this moment for long. In about 10 minutes, Day 3 of the LAPT Grand Final will be underway. They'll start at Level 17 with 3,000/6,000 blinds and a 1,000 ante. But that moment won't last either, there are two minutes left in this level and then players will be faced with 4,000/8,000 blinds and a 1,000 ante.

The player best suited to face these blinds is our chip leader, Oscar Barriga. Barriga is from Peru and will be starting the day with 917,000. Peru is hoping for a home team victory today, but even if Barriga busts, they have five other players on the team.


Oscar Barriga, the hometown chip leader

Argentina also has six players, but they have less chips than the Peruvians. One of those player though, is a veteran here, Team PokerStars Pro Jose "Nacho" Barbero. The Team Pro won this event before, and that was right after he won another LAPT. Barbero became the first back-to-back LAPT champion and the highest all-time money earner of the LAPT.

Today, Barbero is watching that money ticker go up every few eliminations. A win here could cement Barbero's stance as the best player the LAPT has ever seen. A win here would make him the first person to win three LAPT titles, the first player to win the same venue twice and increase his all-time LAPT earnings to $750,400. Second place comes in at $414,818.

Barbero will start the day 351,000.

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Nacho Barbero, on the hunt for number three

While Peru and Argentina showed up in force for Day 3, the rest of the players represent an assortment of Latin American countries.

Except for one.

Starting the day second in chips is the only player from across the pond.

Representing 100 percent of the remaining non-Latin American players with 752,000 chips, is France's Maxence Debar. The aggressive Frenchman to Sheirbon's right.

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Some Lima chips now in the hands of players -- probably in Barriga's

Jonathan Markovits starts the day third in chips with 607,000, while Andres Zepeda comes in fourth with 450,000. Edging into the top five is Jordan Scott, with 443,000.

The remaining stacks show a steady decline until we reach Brain England, our Costa Rican short stack with only 98,000.

Play is about to begin as all 24 players have found their way to the roped off area. The U2 playlist has stopped though, in its place is the distinct riffling of tournament chips.

It's time to shuffle up and deal.

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Alexander Villegas is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog

Alex Villegas
@PokerStars in Peru