He actually did it.
Jose Ignacio “Nacho” Barbero won a third LAPT at the final stop of the series.
Barbero is the only player with an LAPT hat trick and now that the tour is over, no one will be able to match his achievement.
“It’s incredible,” Barbero said. “It’s like a dream, it just had to happen.”
Barbero became the first player with two LAPT titles back in Season 3 after winning back-to-back events in Uruguay and Peru and he held onto that title for a while. Barbero came close to the treble a few times; he finished 3rd in LAPT6 Chile and 4th in that same event last season.
The third title kept eluding Barbero, and as the LAPT entered its ninth and final season, three more players joined the ranks of two-time LAPT champs. This tournament was their last chance at the LAPT treble and they all took a shot. Mario Lopez and Fabian Ortiz busted early on, while Oscar Alache made it to the money.
Barbero on the other hand continued to plow through the field. The burning memory of finishing 3rd in Chile despite having half the chips in play three-handed was in the back of Barbero’s mind, but he started the day confident.
“I felt like I was going to win today,” Barbero said. “I was running good and playing good and knew it was going to happen.
“I even Tweeted that I was going to win it.”
The story checks out:
Creo que me voy a cargar el ultimo lapt!! @AconcaguaPoker
— jose ignacio barbero (@nacho_barbero) November 29, 2016
Barbero is now cemented as the final and ultimate LAPT champ. No one will ever be able to come close.
While Barbero’s stack had been fluctuating at the final table, he became unstoppable three-handed after players cut a deal. At the time, Barbero was the short stack and players agreed on the following payouts:
Felipe Pasini – R$314,776
Thiago Grigoletti – R$275,180
Jose ‘Nacho’ Barbero – R$248,068
There was R$93,114 left to play for 1st, but three-handed play didn’t take long. After a short while, Pasini found himself all-in and at risk with the A♣8♣ against Barbero’s 7♣7♠. The board bricked for the Brazilian and we were down to heads-up. Barbero had 14.2 million to the 1.8 million of Grigoletti.
But heads-up play would only last one hand! Grigoletti shoved from the small blind and was called by Barbero with A♠Q♥. The board ran J♣2♦7♦9♠Q♦ and it was all over!
But before his double up and three-handed demolition, Barbero was the short stack and Pasini was the dominating leader. Pasini won a lot of those chips after he knocked out Joaquin Melogno in 4th.
Pasini raised to 275,000 from the cutoff and Melogno three-bet to 815,000 from the button. Pasini four-bet to 1.5 million, Melogno moved all-in and Pasini snap-called.
Melogno turned over J♠J♥ but Pasini showed A♥A♦. The board ran 5♣8♣10♥9♦3♥ and Pasini took the lead with 8.4 million while Melogno finished 4th and won R$169,940.
Four-handed play took a while, but five-handed play lasted about two hours. The first portion of it looked more like a heads-up match between Grigoletti and Melogno while the other players patiently waited for a double up.
But the big stacks didn’t deal the next elimination, Barbero did. It started with an under-the-gun limp from Barbero and a call from Grigoletti. Guilherme Castro then moved all-in for 830,000 from the button and Melogno called from the big blind. Barbero then re-shoved for 2.7 million and both Melogno and Grigoletti folded.
Barbero turned over 10♥10♣ while Castro tabled A♠9♣. The 8♥3♦4♥8♣9♥ board gave Castro a pair of nines, but it was too little too late.
Barbero started his ascent while Castro won R$133,960 for finishing 5th.
While it slowed down when we got to five players, we spent zero time with six.
Pasini was one of the short stacks seven-handed, but he scored a double up and then a double elimination. That hand started when Pedro Madeira open-shoved for 625,000 from under the gun and Pasini re-shoved from early position. Action folded to Elcio Romão in the small blind and he moved all-in as well.
The big blind decided to opt out of that party and folded. Madeira showed K♣Q♣, Romão turned over A♠K♠ and Pasini tabled a black pair of jacks. The K♦J♦9♦ flop seemed to have a little bit for everyone, but Pasini’s set of jacks were still in the lead. The Q♦ on the turn gave Madeira two pair, but the A♣ on the river failed to fill him up.
Romão was eliminated in 7th place and won R$75,130 while Madeira earned $102,280 for the 6th place finish.
Our 8th place elimination involved less players, but it did feature a cooler.
Grigoletti raised to 150,000 from the small blind that hand and Bruno Marino called from the big blind. The flop came A♠A♣9♥ and Grigoletti continued for 125,000. Marino’s snap-call was a foreshadow of what was to come. A 10♠ came on the turn and Grigoletti bet 275,000. Marino snap-called and then snap-called again when the river came 5♣ and Grigoletti moved all in.
Marino showed A♥4♠ for trip aces, but Grigoletti also had trip aces with A♦Q♦. His kicker was better too. Marino was eliminated in 8th and won R$55,210.
It was a relatively quick trip to final table today. A total of 21 players came back for Day 3 and it took just four-and-a-half hours to get down to our final eight. Alisson Piekazewicz, our Day 1 chip leader, took a seat today, but he wasn’t able to get one at the final table. Luiz Camargo also had the chip lead at one point on Day 2, but he became our two-table bubble when he bluffed off his stack with ten-high.
It was a wild and quick tournament. There were unlimited rebuys and late registration was open until the start of Day 2. Some players rattled off bullets like an automatic rifle and when the dust finally settled, the tournament saw a total of 329 entrants. Only 123 players survived the 10-levels of onslaught on Day 1 and that number was whittled down to 21 after another 10 levels on Day 2.
But the madness is finally done. Tomorrow will be the first time in nine days that the stadium-like tournament area at the Sheraton Hotel in São Paulo won’t be flooded by the sound of riffling chips. There will be no more roving beer carts and human ATMs.
While the BSOP will be back next season, the LAPT won’t. But only the name will be missing, everything else you love about PokerStars and the LAPT will be back in the form of PokerStars Championship and Festival events.
Thanks for joining us at the PokerStars Blog. Boa noite!
Alexander Villegas is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog. Photos by Carlos Monti