The clock ticks on here at LAPT Punta del Este, with nearly every hand being contested and elongated by long, contemplative pauses. And the last orbit of Level 23 saw several also punctuated by dramatic, sudden clashes, too.
First it was the Uruguayan, Joaquin Melagno, scoring a big double-up through Ivan Luca of Argentina. That hand featured much meditation by both players as they traded bets through the turn, at which point the board showed 10♠9♣3♣10♣. Then came twin bursts of rapid fire, resulting in Melagno all in with Q♥10♦ for trips and Luca tabling J♠J♣ for jacks and tens and a flush draw.
The river brought the Q♥ to improve Melagno to a full house, pushing his stack up around 1.3 million. Luca still had about 815,000 after that one.
A few hands after that it was the Russian, Vladimir Dobrovolskiy — or as we’ve started to call him, Doubleupskiy — who managed to multiply his stack by two yet again after flopping a straight versus Francisco Baruffi and getting the latter to call his all-in on the turn holding top pair.
Dobrovolskiy moved up around 750,000 on that one, the memory of his stack of about 50,000 late in Day 3 becoming more and more distant as each hour passes.
Meanwhile the Brazilian Baruffi was still comfortably above 1 million after taking that hit, and on the very next hand was digging into his stack to call an early position open from Ivan Luca to 51,000. It then folded to Luca’s countryman, fellow Argentinian Guido Ruffini, who reraised to 132,000 from the cutoff.
The action back on Luca, he tanked for several minutes until finally Baruffi called the clock. Another minute passed, the last seconds of which were noted by announcer Melina Villegas, and when the clock ran out, Luca’s hand was mucked.
By contrast, Baruffi wasted no time calling the reraise, and he and Ruffini watched the flop come Q♠2♥10♣. Baruffi checked immediately, Ruffini pushed out a bet of 136,000 without hesitation, and Baruffi kept up the pace with a fast call.
The turn was the 10♦. Again, Baruffi wasted no time by checking, and Ruffini didn’t wait long either before setting out two short stacks of white (25,000) chips, a bet of 200,000.
Now came the pause as Baruffi thought for a while about how to proceed. Finally he announced he was all in, and with no further thought Ruffini called, committing an additional 680,000 or so and putting himself at risk of elimination.
Ruffini had K♥Q♦ for queens and tens, but Baruffi had J♠10♥ — like the hand that started the orbit, a ten on the turn had improved a player to trips to take the lead. The river was the 8♥, and with that huge pot Baruffi catapults into the lead with more than 2.4 million — nearly a million ahead of second-place Melogno.
The two Argentinians shook hands before Ruffini departed to collect $20,080 for finishing eighth.
The remaining seven players soon left the stage as well, each eyeing the clock already ticking down the break as they did.