I’ve learned a few Portuguese words this week at the 2013 PokerStars.net Latin American Poker Tour Brazil Main Event. Chá means tea. A mamão is a papaya. Jogo bonito is an elegant phrase to describe the style of football favored by Brazilians, and bom dia is a standard greeting.
There’s one Portuguese word that I already knew before I came down here, that everybody who has ever railed a poker tournament with a Brazilian in it is apt to know. Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari wrote it on his chip bag last night.
That’s right. Day 4 of this event begins today with eight players left. Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez is their leader, with 3,365,000 chips, but everyone at the table, Brazilian and non-Brazilian alike, will be thinking “Vamo!” as play begins. After the length of time they spent on the final table bubble last night, they may have no choice in the matter.
At one point last night, it looked like the time needed to from nine players to a final table of eight players would be about five minutes. Leonardo Brescia found himself all in pre-flop with ace-five against the pocket queens of Marcos Paulo Ximenes. Brescia whiffed on the flop and paired 5s on the turn, not enough to take the lead. He was one card from elimination – and the tournament was one card from wrapping for the day – but spiked an ace on the river for a dramatic double-up.
That hand started a parade of 10 called all-ins that resulted in 7 double-ups, 2 triple-ups and 1 chopped pot. After the amazing six-hour final table bubble at EPT Berlin a few days ago, it seemed like the LAPT wanted to prove that it could create as much tension and as big a poker spectacle as its older brother.
That tension and spectacle will be on full display today at the final table. It’s quite the line-up:
Seat 1: Leonardo Brescia (1,045,000)
Seat 2: Marcos Paulo Ximenes (2,630,000)
Seat 3: Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari (2,000,000)
Seat 4: Thiago Grigoletti (945,000)
Seat 5: Rafael Pardo (2,230,000)
Seat 6: Victor Sbrissa (1,680,000)
Seat 7: Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez (3,365,000)
Seat 8: Daniel Murta (1,095,000)
Brescia, cousin to PokerStars Team Online player Casio Pessagno, is a regular presence at the BSOP along with Ximenes, Grigoletti and Sbrissa. Pardo has made two previous LAPT Main Event final tables, including the very first LAPT event ever held.
Fernandez and Akkari, of course, need no introduction. Both have won major events previously – Akkari a WSOP bracelet in 2011, Fernandez the LAPT5 Grand Final in 2012. Both are long-standing members of Team PokerStars Pro. And both inspire passionate feelings from almost everyone in the Latin American poker community.
Fernandez has the advantage to start the day. His stack represents 56 big blinds at the current 30k-60k blind level. Akkari has some wiggle room with his 33 big blinds and has displayed incredibly varied styles throughout this tournament. On Day 2, he faced the ultimate grind when he started the day with 12 big blinds. On Day 3, he displayed his big-stack prowess after starting 5th in chips and catching a big double-up early with ace-king against pocket queens. And on the final table bubble last night, he picked his spots and patiently waited while the shorter stacks struggled to draw out the day as long as they could.
That’s all behind us now. Today, eight players will assemble on the feature table in the Tivoli Hotel ballroom. They will play until one person has all the chips, as is always the case. That person will go home with more than a quarter million dollars.
Whether the winner is Brazilian, Argentinan or Colombian, there’s likely to be a festa in São Paulo tonight.
Dave Behr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.
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