LAPT9 Uruguay: Meet the final eight
Argentina is well represented at today's final table by no less than six players, with Brazil having players sitting in the other two. All have tournament experience, however, given each a shot at the trophy and $110,870 first prize.
As we await the 12 noon start of play today, here's a look at each of those who made the final table.
Seat 1: Manuel Vuotto, Argentina -- 1,416,000
If momentum in poker counts for anything, Manuel Vuotto has it. The Argentine, one of six at this final table, did nothing but climb on Day 3 en route to bagging a top-three stack. While it's his first final table appearance on the LAPT, a decent run of results, including a win worth $56,000 on the Codere Poker Tour in Uruguay from this past summer, could mean Vuotto is the most in form of the final eight.
Seat 2: Nicolas Pernigotti, Argentina -- 1,043,000
Main Events are where Nicolas Pernigotti has done all of his tournament damage over the last two years, which means that while he's also making his first LAPT final table appearance, he has some experience upon which to draw. Pernigotti finished third in a High Roller event at the Circuito Argentino De Poker in Buenos Aires this spring, good for a nearly career best score. He'll try to best that finish today, coming back in the middle of the pack with just over seven-figures.
Seat 3: Ruben Barros, Argentina -- 866,000
At the end of Day 3, Ruben Barros asked if there were a special prize for making back-to-back final table appearances. Barros finished eighth in last year's LAPT8 Uruguay Main Event, which, oddly enough, is also his only live tournament cash to date. There might not be a "special prize," but Barros does get a chance at some redemption, as he looks to best that finish from 2015 today.
Seat 4: Pedro Claus, Argentina -- 2,230,000
Compared to the players at the top of the leaderboard throughout the last few days, Pedro Claus has a relatively modest tournament résumé. He's not a past LAPT champion or reigning Player of the Year, but that could all change within the next few hours as he will notch a career best score today. The only question -- can he Claus the finish line ahead of the rest, after entering the final table with a sizable advantage at the top of the charts?
Seat 5: Fernando Araujo, Brazil -- 1,490,000
One of two Brazilians doing battle with the half-dozen Argentinians at today's final table is Fernando Araujo, one of the more experienced players at the final table with more than a quarter million dollars' worth of tournament cashes over the last six years, including many on the Brazilian Series of Poker and a few at the WSOP as well. He'll be looking today to top his career-high score of R$113,000 (about $46K USD) for winning a BSOP High Roller in São Paulo in 2014. He'll also try to better his seventh-place finish here in the LAPT4 Uruguay Main Event.
Seat 6: Cristian Andres Rotondo, Argentina -- 294,000
Cristian Andres Rotondo has been cashing in LAPT Main Events since Season 3, part of his success in tournaments over the last half-dozen years. Rotondo also has numerous cashes in South America and the U.S., and most recently made the money in the European Poker Tour Barcelona Main Event. He's returning to the short stack today -- beginning with less than 10 big blinds -- and so will need to spin up his stack early in order to further his LAPT9 Uruguay Main Event run.
Seat 7: Marco Oliveira, Brazil -- 562,000
Joining Araujo as the other representative of Brazil at today's final table will be Marco Oliveira, winner of nearly $200K in tournaments since 2010. This is Oliveira's second career LAPT final table as he took eighth at LAPT6 Panama. He's also coming off no less than three final tables at the BSOP's Punta del Este series back in June, and so has a lot of recent experience on the main stage in the Conrad's tournament poker room.
Seat 8: Sergio De Benedictis, Argentina -- 772,000
Sergio De Benedictis rounds out our final eight, collector of numerous cashes in his native Argentina as well as a couple from side events at LAPT6 Chile. His largest career cash came in April of this year at teh Madero Poker Master Cup in Buenos Aires where he won an ARS$8,500 event for a ARS$565,080 first prize worth nearly $40K USD. Making the top three today will earn him more that, though like the others he'll have some work to do to catch frontrunner Claus.
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PokerStars Blog Reporting Team at LAPT9 Uruguay: Will O'Connor and Martin Harris. Photos by Carlos Monti. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog