For the last three days, Jose “Nacho” Barbero’s eyes have been glued to either his poker table or his smartphone. Yesterday he said that playing five simultaneous games of Open-Face Chinese Poker on his phone helped him pass the time and not do anything crazy.
Today Barbero’s stopped playing OFC. His attention is squarely on the task in front of him: get through Day 3 and go for it all at tomorrow’s final table. So far, so good: Barbero’s doubled his stack from 407,000 to about 800,000 here in the 10k-20k level. He also has the benefit of two big stacks to his right: chip leader Ariel Celestino (1.6 million) and Victor Shuchleib (1.2 million).
Nacho was flirting with 1 million in chips himself after tagging Shuchleib for a medium-sized pot. On the turn of an A♦ 8♦ 10♥ 3♥ board, Shuchleib check-called Nacho’s 91,000-chip bet. The river Q♦ drew a long pause from Shuchleib before he checked. Barbero paused too, then said a few soft words in Spanish to Shuchleib, rapped the table and opened A♠ J♥ , a pair of aces. Shuchleib pointed at Barbero, nodded his head and mucked.
But as I noted yesterday, poker isn’t a linear game. Players generally don’t go straight up or straight down, and so it’s been with Barbero. Celestino opened a later pot to 50,000 pre-flop, drawing an in-position three-bet from Barbero of 107,000. Action folded back to Celestino, who acted the big-stack bully by four-betting to 190,000. That was too rich for Barbero.
Barbero is the only two-time winner in the LAPT’s history. He won back-to-back events in Season 3, first at Punta del Este and then in Lima. If he’s able to survive the day, he’d have a shot at become the first triple winner in the LAPT too – before anybody else has even won two.
It would make him an LAPT legend. It would also bankroll a lot of OFC points.
GREAT INVESTMENT OF THE HOUR
Angel Guillen told me that Victor Shuchleib isn’t supposed to be here. Shuchleib’s mainly a cash game player in Mexico City who came to Viña del Mar because a friend won a transferable seat to this event. The friend couldn’t come because of a schedule conflict so he sent Shuchleib – who won a Second Chance tournament on PokerStars recently for $39,000 – in his place.
ROLLER COASTER OF THE HOUR
Sergio Braga would probably prefer fewer downs and more ups in his life today. He was down to about 550,000 after taking a beat deliverd by Franco Spitale, who showed K-5 on a 6-2-9-K-8 board. That beat seemed to really get under Braga’s skin, as he pounded the table several times and could be seen shaking his head for several hands afterwards. But he righted things by busting a short stack and stringing together a few pots to climb back to close to 1 million.
SCHEDULE ADJUSTMENT OF THE HOUR
The tournament went on an unexpected 15-minute break at the end of Level 21. All subsequent breaks will occur after odd-numbered levels as well.
Dave Behr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.
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