LAPT9 Bahamas: Georgios Sotiropoulos soars over field, takes trophy, $308K
It was another stacked final table -- the second in two years -- for the Latin American Poker Tour Bahamas Main Event. The $2,200 buy-in tournament served as the launching point for Season 9 of the LAPT, and from a group of decorated pros and top tournament talent, Georgios Sotiropoulos emerged as the champion and winner of a handsome $308,220 first prize.
Sotiropoulos becomes the first ever LAPT champion to hail from Greece, and adds another nice piece of hardware to his collection after having won a WSOP Europe bracelet last fall plus a couple of silver spades previously earned in EPT side events. The cash also ranks as the second-highest in his career, behind the €700,000 he earned for a runner-up in the EPT10 Prague Main Event.
From a huge 851-entry field just 10 players remained to start today's third and final day of play, with Sotiropoulos entering as chip leader. Andre Akkari of Team PokerStars Pro was part of the final day's group as well representing Latin America from Brazil, but he would see his stack dwindle early before busting in 10th when his pocket sevens couldn't improve against Joe Kuether's pocket queens.
Not long after that Luc Greenwood of Canada was ousted in ninth in another battle of pocket pairs when his jacks couldn't overcome Taylor Von Kriegenbergh's pocket aces.
Sotiropoulos had lost the lead only briefly to Darren Elias during the early going today, but by the time the official final table began he was back in front and would never reliquish the lead again.
Ismael Bojang, presently living in Austria although from Hamburg, Germany originally, was one of the short stacks with eight left, and he'd end up losing those chips to Elias after his pocket sevens couldn't hold against the latter's ace-deuce.
The pace slowed a bit thereafter, but soon the blinds were just too big for the shorter-stacked players to wait much longer, and a series of all-ins ensued with some called and others yielding double-ups.
Elias then found himself on the short side, and before long he was all in with a pair of tens against Sotiropoulos's pocket queens. A queen on the turn left the American drawing dead, and Elias was out in seventh.
Soon Sotiropoulos had become an overwhelming chip leader, moving up over 6 million at a time when no one else had as much as a third of that. The circumstances were perfect for Sotiropoulos to exert pressure, and he did so relentlessly, opening most pots. He'd reraise-shove over others' three-bets as well, forcing folds and making things hard all around for his more-than-worthy competitors.
Chad Eveslage would be the next out in sixth following a big three-way all-in hand in which his pair of queens was no match for Will Molson's ace-king or Von Kriegenberg's ace-queen after an ace came among the community cards.
Molson then managed to find what looked like a good spot all in with ace-king against Sotiropoulos's ace-eight. But an eight came among the community cards, and the Canadian who owns both a runner-up and a victory in PCA $25K High Rollers added a fifth-place finish to his impressive résumé.
A little later Sotiropoulos would be the one knocking out Joe Kuether in fourth place in a preflop all-in that saw Kuether's pocket jacks fail to stay in front against the Greek player's queen-nine when Sotiropoulos rivered a flush. Kuether added nearly a hundred grand to his tournament earnings, carrying him over the $5 million mark for his career.
Knut Karnapp of Germany was the short stack with three left -- much as he'd been for most of the day, in fact -- and he hung on a while longer before finally running jack-ten into Von Kriegenbergh's pocket kings. Karnapp had no tourney scores to speak of previously, but now he has a nice line ending in "$132,080" to start his page of cashes.
That left Sotiropoulos and the American Von Kriegenbergh to battle heads-up, with Sotiropoulous having a better than 3-to-1 advantage to begin their duel.
Von Kriegenbergh fought gamely, chipping up a bit before finally succumbing in a hand that saw him flop top pair and get all his chips in on the turn, only to see that Sotiropoulos had flopped the nut flush and he was drawing dead.
"I thought I played the hand well," Von Kriegenbergh said afterwards with a grin. "Sometimes the other guy just has the nuts!"
Indeed, both he and Sotiropoulos had done well to get to the tournament's final hand. Sotiropoulos noted how he well recognized the ICM implications caused by the stack discrepancy early on at the final table, and thus correctly chose aggression to take advantage. Von Kriegenbergh likewise remained wary of pay jumps and the stacks, picking his spots carefully to negotiate his way from ninth of 10 to start the day to a runner-up finish.
LAPT9 Bahamas Main Event final table results
Places paid: 127
Prize pool: $1,650,940
1. Georgios Sotiropolous (Greece) $308,220
2. Taylor Von Kriegenbergh (USA) $187,220
3. Knut Karnapp (Germany) $132,080
4. Joe Kuether (USA) $99,060
5. Will Molson (Canada) $78,080
6. Chad Eveslage (USA) $58,440
7. Darren Elias (USA) $41,100
8. Ismael Bojang (Austria) $28,900
The LAPT next touches down in beautiful Viña del Mar for the LAPT9 Chile event in early March. But things are only really just getting started here on Paradise Island. Stick close here at the PokerStars Blog for continuing coverage of all of the action from the 100-plus touranment schedule.
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Take a look at the official website of the PCA, with tournament schedule, videos, news, blogs and accommodation details for the Atlantis Resort in The Bahamas.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.