Let us catch you up, dear reader, on what has happened since we last conferred. We travel back in time a little over an hour to pick up our narrative, left off last time as the money bubble was starting to come into view.
With 10 minutes left in Level 15 (blinds 1,500/3,000, ante 400), there are 60 players left — five away from the money. Sebastian Ruiz gets his short stack all in with pocket tens versus an opponent’s ace-jack. No card higher than a seven comes by the turn, but an ace cruelly lands on fifth street, snatching the hand away from Ruiz.
Close, but not quite. Such will be the feeling of the next four to go before the bubble bursts.
A short stack folds his hand out of turn from the button, eager not to put his last chips at risk. The clock rolls on to Level 16 (2,000/4,000/500), after which the dinner break is scheduled.
0:48 left in Level 16
A three-way hand develops at Nacho Barbero’s table. By the turn it is just Barbero and one other, with the board showing 9♥4♠J♥7♣ and about 50,000 in the middle.
Over a bet Barbero shoves about 170,000 — just about what his opponent has behind.
A long tank follows, then a fold, with A♣J♣ the hand being relinquished. Barbero’s stoic look fades, replaced by a grin.
An all-in goes uncalled. Pocket eights survive versus ace-queen.
A drink is tipped over at Table 8, and towels are swiftly produced to contain the spill.
Meanwhile two players are spilled from the tournament as well after losing their short stacks. Just 57 remain.
“Clear the area,” calls the floor, preparing for hand-for-hand play. But one hand lingers on over at the feature table. With a pot already developed, Fabian Ortiz — alone with Barbero as two-time LAPT champs — is all in for his last 44,000 behind a pair of nines.
The board shows 3♥2♦2♣5♦, and fellow Argentinian Ivan Luca has tabled A♥J♠. Many minutes pass before Tournament Director Mike Ward finally rises above the din.
“Run it baby!” he calls.
The 9♣ is produced, agreeing well with Ortiz’s hand, and he keeps his seat.
One hand goes by on each of the seven outer tables and the feature, and no one is eliminated. On the second the feature table again is the last to complete its hand, with Ivan Luca involved once more, this time against Wesley Wiemes. The latter finally claims the pot without showing down.
Then comes Hand #3, one that sees action at the feature table again. Nicolau Villa-Lobos is all in and at risk for 77,500 with K♠K♥ versus Luca’s 7♥7♣.
The kings hold. “Uno mano mas!”
On the next hand a pot develops between Oscar Alache and Ricardo Arciero. Following a K♦A♠5♦ flop, Arciero bets, Alache raises, Arciero shoves, and Alache calls. Arciero tables A♦8♦ for top pair and the nut flush draw, while Alache has the current lead with A♣Q♦.
There’s another long delay. Finally the dealer receives his cue, and hastily delivers the 9♥ and the 9♣. Arciero gets up to leave, but on his left Andre Akkari is patting his shoulder, encouraging him to remain where he is.
It’s a chop, he realizes, and with eyes closed shakes his head. He’s survived.
As that hand plays out, at the neighboring table Akkari’s Team PokerStars Pro teammate Christian de Leon’s chips are being counted out. He’s just lost a big all in after his pocket tens failed versus Jorge Ellena’s pair of kings.
Yes, it is determined — de Leon had Ellena covered. By exactly one yellow 1,000 chip, or twice the ante.
De Leon came roaring into Day 2 like a lion, but it appeared he was about to go out like a lamb.
De Leon wins the next hand. Then on the next is all in again. He rolls his eyes, then rolls over his cards — pocket jacks — and they hold to deliver him a total of 15,500.
The level ends. The dinner bell rings. The stubborn bubble persists.
Photography from LAPT8 Chile by Carlos Monti. Watch the stream at LAPT Live. You can also follow the action in Spanish on the PokerStars blog and on Facebook, and in Portuguese on the blog and on Facebook.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.