LAPT Peru: The 8 percent

Players at the LAPT might start protesting soon.

During the first level of play, a disproportionate amount of stack growth went to the top 8 percent of players.

These players also happen to be two of the youngest players in the tournament. Coincidence? Conspiracy? We may never know.

What we do know is that Oscar Barriga and Maxence Debar both have about 1.2 million chips. Combined, these two players are holding about one-third of the chips in play. The steady flow of chips to the top 8 percent is only getting faster now that they've accumulated a massive stack.

Barriga and Debar are using constant aggression -- pre and post flop -- to intimidate the smaller stacks. The chips, as opposed to what previous experts claimed, are not trickling down. The top 8 percent are hoarding their chips in an evil plot to get them all.

But there's good reason behind their evil scheme. Gaining all the chips in play will come with a trophy, the title of LAPT Season 5 Grand Final champion and $187,300.

The player that's showed the most improvement is Maxence Debar. He's gone from 752,000 to 1.2 million in under a level. Everytime we walked past his table, his towers of blue T5k chips seemed to multiply. We suspected he was manipulating the market, but further investigation revealed he was just manipulating his table.

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Maxence Debar, sinister chip-collecting mastermind

In one round, with 4,000/8,000 blinds and a 1,000 ante, Debar won five hands by raising to 18,000 preflop.

"It's about aggression," Debar said. "You can't just hope to hit cards and make the final table."

While Debar has been taking a lot of small pots from his opponents, a big portion of his stack came from one hand.

"I 3-bet with Jack-four offsuit from the button," Debar said. "The other guy called and the flop came ace-king-four."

Both players checked and then Debar bet 70,000 when another four came on the turn. His opponent called and a nine came on the river.

"Then I bet again, big." Debar said. Debar led out for 205,000 and his opponent called. Debar showed his four and took down the pot.

Debar feels he's gotten a feel for Latin America and its players. This is Debar's third LAPT and he's been based out of Bogota, Colombia, for the past year.

"The games are a bit easier here," Debar said. "Not a lot of 3 or 4-betting postflop and a lot of min-raising preflop."

We went over to Barriga to verify Debar's wild French claims.

Barriga agreed.

"I've been able to make some good moves and exploit my table," Barriga said. "Aggression has been working well."

While Debar was attacking his table with 18,000 preflop raises, Barriga was doing the same with raises to 20,000.

While his raises are bigger, his age isn't. Debar is 24 while Barriga is only 19. Barriga is young, and so is his live tournament experience. Actually, "infancy" would be a better word to describe Barriga's live game. This is the first time he's ever sat down at a live poker table.

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Oscar Barriga, 19 and pregnant loaded with chips

Barriga's poker experience comes from the realm of the internet. That's also where he qualified to LAPT Peru. Barriga a full package to this LAPT Peru on PokerStars through a $215 satellite.

While the first 40 minutes of the tournament saw no eliminations, the last 40 minutes have been a death trap. Players have been back from break for a few minutes and we're down to our final 18 players.

Debar and Barriga are now the 11 percent, their physical presence is slowly catching up with their chip presence.

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Alexander Villegas is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog

Alex Villegas
@PokerStars in Peru