LAPT6 Chile: Tavitian triumphs and averts the alarms

March 17, 2013

I was ready to sound the alarm. I hadn’t started writing the recap, but I’d already alerted The Powers That Be to what was transpiring in Viña del Mar, Chile. Team PokerStars Pro Jose “Nacho” Barbero had the chip lead three-handed as he tried to secure his third LAPT title.

That kind of thing doesn’t go unnoticed at PokerStars – especially when there has never been a two-time winner on either the APPT (27 tournaments) or the EPT (close to 100 tournaments), never mind a three-time winner. Yet here was Nacho, on the cusp of winning his third LAPT Main Event in just 24 tournaments. I was prepared to bring out the Big Guns to herald Barbero’s achievement.

Pablo Tavitian had other plans. He bided his time while the reigning Brazilian Series of Poker Player of the Year Leonardo Martins went to war with Barbero, bloodying his nose and cutting his eye (figuratively in both cases, of course) by dragging pot after pot. Barbero, who’d seemed unbeatable for three days, faltered. The momentum shift was clear. Martins took over the chip lead. He was the man to beat.

Still Tavitian waited. He waited until he found his spot – a full double-up courtesy of a mis-timed Martins bluff.

They say that chips tend to move clockwise around the table, towards the player in position and away from the player out of position. Tavitian was out of position to Barbero but in position against Martins. He let Martins take the chips away from Barbero, then he took the chips away from Martins. He never gave them back.



The 24th event in the LAPT’s history, the 2013 Latin American Poker Tour Chile National Poker Championship, started last Wednesday. It was a record-setter. 765 unique players entered the event, smashing the previous LAPT record of 681 players set at LAPT4 Colombia. Those 765 players executed a combined 259 re-entries to push the total entries into four-figure territory (1,024 entries) for the first time ever on the LAPT.


Crowded field

By the time Day 4 rolled around and started at noon today, those 1,024 entries had been winnowed down to a final table of eight. Tavitian started the day 4th in chips. He watched as Martins scored an early double-up through Barbero, making ace-ten work against pocket 6s and showing that yes, Barbero could lose a pot. That double-up meant that Sebastian Miranda was the first player to be eliminated. Barbero, of course, was the man to do the deed, getting pocket queens to hold up against Miranda’s ace-king.


Martins was on his feet for an early double-up…


…which meant Miranda was first out the door.

Then came the hand that changed the tournament. Aces, kings, and ace-queen. Three all ins. Sergio Braga, coming off a runner-up BSOP finish last week, was poised to nab more than 5 million in chips and to take over the chip lead. He just had to get his aces to hold “one time” against Fernando Gordo’s kings and Alejandro Chokakis’ ace-queen.

That didn’t happen. Gordo spiked a king on the turn to knock out Chokakis. One hand later he finished off Braga too.


Chokakis – 8th place

Two hours passed without further elimination. The pots were all contested, but most were small. Barbero was still ascendant. He made a big call against Gordo to knock Gordo out in 5th. Martins, revived from near elimination, followed suit by knocking out Jaime Zamanillo Mayol, the man who started the day as chip leader but never seriously threatened at this final table.


Nacho ponders a tough call


Martins celebrates the elimination of Zamanillo (fore)

That took the final table down to three players. Nacho had the lead, and I was ready to pick up the Bat Phone and sound the alarm.

Enter Tavitian. He took care of the eliminations that mattered most: the last two.

For his victory here in Viña del Mar, Tavitian earns $184,220 and becomes the LAPT’s 23rd champion in 24 events. We’d imagine he also earned a small measure of satisfaction by denying Barbero his 3rd LAPT title and by overcoming the BSOP Player of the Year. Both of those things are quite an accomplishment.

Final table payouts

1. Pablo Alexander Tavitian (Argentina) $184,220
2. Leonardo Martins (Brazil) $117,200
3. Jose ‘Nacho’ Barbero (Argentina) $78,460
4. Jaime Zamanillo (Chile) $57,620
5. Fernando Javier Gordó (Argentina) $41,720
6. Sergio Braga (Brazil) $31,720
7. Alejandro Cholakis (Chile) $23,780
8. Sebastián Miranda (Argentina) $19,220

That concludes a busy weekend for the Live Events team here at the PokerStars Blog. With EPT9 London, APPT7 Seoul, and now LAPT6 Chile all in the books, we turn full control of the PokerStars Blog over to the MicroMillions team, who are already hard at work recapping all of the micro-stakes tournament action on PokerStars.

Until next time, you can find us at the bar.

Dave Behr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

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