There is no smoke coming from the TV table, which is a damn curious thing. I would think that Team PokerStars Pro Jose “Nacho” Barbero would overheat from how quickly he’s gobbling up chips and putting a stranglehold on the late stages of this LAPT Main Event.
Let’s start with the tale of the tape. With 10 players remaining, Nacho has 3.7 million of the 15.3 million chips in play. It’s about 2.5 times the average stack of 1.53 million. It is, frankly, a mountain of chips, arrayed in 27 stacks of blue (5,000) chips and 2 stacks of white (25,000) chips.
Barbero’s been the proverbial one-man wrecking crew. His most recent victim was Ezequiel Lebed, a player who flirted with the chip lead on Day 1a. Barbero opened pre-flop for 85,000 from late position, then snap-called Lebed’s 650,000-chip shove. Lebed showed down A♠ K♦ to Barbero’s 10♣ 10♠ . Three clubs on the flop, 2♣ 6♣ J♣ , left things looking grim for Lebed. He shook Barbero’s hand after the 4♦ turn and Q♥ sent him to the rail in 11th place.
Scant minutes before that, Barbero took out Guillermo Castagnino with pocket queens. But Barbero hasn’t only been doing it all in pre-flop with big cards. He’s been winning small pot after small pot by flopping bottom pair with A♥ 3♥ here and getting to showdown or by taking a pot uncontested there. It seems like every time he gets to a showdown he has the goods and every time THEY have the goods he finds a fold.
It’s safe to say that right now Barbero is that very dangerous combination of a highly skilled player who’s on an extended rush. There’s no telling how many players that runaway car takes out before it comes to a halt.
SICK BEAT OF THE HOUR
Kings for Pablo Tavitian, aces for Federico Quattrini. They get the chips in; the board rolls out 2♣ 10♣ Q♦ J♦ 9♦ . Having aces cracked by kings always stings, but it stings just a little bit more four spots away from the final table of an LAPT Main Event. Quattrini, down to 55,000, was eliminated one hand later with jacks. Ouch.
CHIP LEADER DEMISE OF THE HOUR
Victor Shuchleib, the man here on a freeroll from a friend, has been dwindling the last hour. He shoved ace-eight from the button; Fernando Gordo woke up with pocket kings in the small blind. No ace on the board means Shuchleib’s not going to be bringing as much money back to Mexico City as it seemed like he might be able to when he was the chip leader at the start of the day.
TABLE BREAK OF THE HOUR
Shuchleib’s elimination means the field of 1,024 entries is down to its last nine players. They’re re-drawing the final table as I type this and will play until one more player is eliminated.
Dave Behr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.
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