Andres Carrillo had been one cool customer the entire week. A chip leader early and always among the big stacks as the Latin American Poker Tour Panama Main Event moved towards its final stages, he always seemed in control of himself and often the table as well.
That sense of calm continued all of the way to three-handed play with Aaron Mermelstein and Ruben Suarez, and remained the case as Mermelstein fell in third and Carrillo took a lead during heads-up.
But for a moment things started to look doubtful for the Colombian. Suarez’ loud rail of supporters, some waving Venezuelan flags, may not have rattled him, but losing a few pots — including once folding the best hand after Suarez had bluffed him — might well have.
But Carrillo regrouped. He found a spot and pushed it. And he won.
When the final eight arrived for today’s final day — all that was left from a 553-entry field — it was the Spaniard, Raul Paez leading the group chip-wise with Mermelstein of Philadelphia not far behind to start the day.
Paez continued to maintain his lead as Carrillo became the short stack. But Carrillo — sitting to the left of Paez — began to accumulate while Paez began to lose chips, and while there were no busts it was Carrillo ascending to take the lead while Suarez found himself in seventh position.
The Colombian Anderson Blanco — at one time a chip leader himself early on Day 3 — then got short as well, and got all his chips in on a ten-high flop holding pocket aces while Carrillo had an open-ended straight draw.
Blanco wanted to see blanks, but the turn card filled Carrillo’s straight and soon Blanco was out in seventh.
That hit helped end Cukier’s run more quickly than he’d have liked. The Costa Rican grandson of WSOP bracelet holders Max and Maria Stern would put his chips in behind jack-ten, get called by Suarez who had queen-ten, and fail to improve to fall in sixth.
Indeed, in one hand Carrillo was all-in with ace-king against the king-ten of Suarez, and a ten on the flop looked as though Carillo was destined to finish third. But an ace fell on the turn and Carrillo kept his seat.
Finally Mermelstein — a two-time World Poker Tour champ looking for an LAPT title to add to his collection — saw his run stopped in third when his queen-ten failed to catch up to Carrillo’s ace-queen.
Places paid: 79
Prize pool: $721,665
1. Andres Carrillo (Colombia) $138,225
2. Ruben Suarez (Venezuela) $86,880
3. Aaron Mermelstein (USA) $62,200
4. Austin Peck (USA) $48,500
5. Raul Paez (Spain) $30,040
6. Paul Cukier (Costa Rica) $29,880
7. Anderson Blanco (Colombia) $22,300
8. Alcides Gomez (USA) $15,440
Thanks for following our coverage all week from the Sortis Hotel, Spa & Casino. Here are each day’s live updates, where you can relive it all:
Day 1A live updates
Day 1B live updates
Day 2 live updates
Day 3 live updates
Final table live updates
Final table profiles
The LAPT takes a break for a few months before returning in late September in Punta del Este for LAPT9 Uruguay. Until then, beunos noches from Panama!
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.
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