Fabián Ortiz became the first Latin American to win an LAPT back at LAPT Viña del Mar in Season 2. Then Jose Ignacio “Nacho” Barbero joined him in Season 3 while also becoming the first Team PokerStars Pro to take home an LAPT trophy.
After that the floodgates opened and Latin Americans took every title in Season 4 except for the Grand Final in Brazil. Uruguay, Peru, Brazil, Chile and Colombia all added their names to the list of countries with an LAPT title.
Now Panama gets to join them, and they won it on home turf.
Galal Dahrouj outlasted a field of 570 players to take down LAPT Panama and $132,535. Dahrouj said he can’t remember how he started playing poker, but we’re sure the 26-year-old Panamanian businessman won’t forget his first LAPT event.
He did win it after all.
Dahrouj popped up on everyone’s radar on Day 2 when he started amassing chips like a hooded black hole. Dahrouj took the chip lead and ended Day 2 as the only tournament millionaire with 1,172,000.
Day 3 started with 32 players and Dahrouj continued dealing eliminations while chipping up. He seemed unstoppable and entered the final two tables with 2.1 million, nearly 1 million ahead of his closest contender.
Then Dahrouj lost a large pot on a big bluff on the final table bubble.
In a prequel to the heads-up match, Joel Oliveira and Dahrouj were faced with a 6♦J♣8♥ flop. Oliveira bet 200,000 and Dahrouj moved all-in. Oliveira snap-called and Dahrouj swore.
Oliveira showed A♥J♥ while Dahrouj turned over K♦9♦.
Dahrouj ended up bursting the final table bubble a few hands later, but Carter Gill had already chipped up beyond Dahrouj’s reach.
Dahrouj started the final table second in chips with 1,965,000 to Gill’s 2,560,000.
But it wasn’t in the cards for Gill today.
After short-stacked Marco Oliveira’s 8th place elimination, Gill found himself losing a series of all-ins and then went all-in for his tournament. Gill did manage a double-up but his final table run would end with a 4th place finish.
In fact, after Marco’s elimination, it took a while to get our 7th place finisher. Things slowed down considerably until we lost four players in about half an hour.
Joseph Stefan was crippled in a massive all-in with Joel Oliveira which gave Oliveira a commanding chip lead. Stefan then fell to Dahrouj in a flip and Dahrouj started his comeback.
Before Dahrouj dealt back-to-back eliminations, Jesus Kafati took out Raul Pino in 5th when his kings held up against Pino’s pocket queens.
When the next level started, Dahrouj struck hard. He doubled up through Carter Gill and then took out Paulo Carrillo and Gill in two consecutive hands.
After that, the final three players made a deal and play slowed a bit.
Then Dahrouj struck again.
There was a standard preflop raise and a call followed by an 8♦3♣6♠ flop. Kafati moved all-in for 2.6 million and Dahrouj called.
Kafati showed 8♠5♠ while Dahrouj tabled A♣5♦. The turn gave Kafati a flush draw but the river was a very Greenstein A♥ to give Dahrouj the victory and massive heads-up chip lead.
Then Dahrouj made quick work of the heads-up match.
There were no double ups even though Oliveira moved all-in a few times. Dahrouj wanted to be sure he had it.
Dahrouj’s chance came on an A♣6♦2♣5♦ board. Dahrouj bet 1 million and Oliveira moved all-in. Dahrouj snap-called and showed two pair with 6♠5♠ while Oliveira was trailing with 8♣6♥.
Dahrouj’s two pair then turned into a full house when the 6♣ came on the river to end the tournament.
The crowd exploded and Dahrouj became a hometown hero. For his LAPT debut, Galal Dahrouj won $132,535 and got to keep the LAPT Panama trophy in Panama.
LAPT 6 Panama Main Event final table results:
1. Galal Dahrouj (Panama) — $132,535*
2. Joel Oliveira (Brazil) — $114,540*
3. Jesus Kafati (Honduras) — $106,365*
4. Carter Gill (United States) — $57,060
5. Paulo Carrillo (Brazil) — $42,960
6. Raul Pino (Panama) — $32,180
7. Joseph Stefan (United States) — $23,880
8. Marco Oliveria (Brazil) — $18,080
*Denotes a three-way deal.
That’s it for LAPT Panama. We’ll be back here next year, but there’s still one more stop to go this season. Join us here at the PokerStars Blog on November 20th for the LAPT 6 Grand Final at Punta del Este in Uruguay.
Alexander Villegas is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.