Whereas earlier it was Joaquin Melogno raising and taking pots uncontested again and again, over the last hour Melogno was having to bet a bit more to achieve a similar response.
That’s because after losing a big hand to Angel Guillen earlier in which the latter doubled up with A♦J♥ through Melogno’s K♣Q♦, the Uruguayan went on a downward slide thereafter to find himself below the 500,000-chip mark as the blinds were increasing to 25,000/50,000.
Melogno would push all in a half-dozen times after that, either open-raising or three-betting over others’ opens. Each time he was met with folds.
Such efforts had enabled Melogno to chip back to about 855,000, a stack that had begun to edge closer to that of third-place Guillen who’d slipped back to third. Then a hand arose in which Melogno opened from the button to 110,000, and Guillen in the small blind reraised to 225,000, forcing a fold from chip leader Francisco Barrufi in the big blind.
The action back on Melogno, he studied a short while before declaring himself all in, and Guillen immediately let it be known he was calling. The pair tabled their hands, and it was easy to see why Guillen hadn’t hesitated.
Melogno stood by the table to get a better view of the community cards, as did many in the gathering crowd, Melogno’s countryman and last year’s LAPT Punta del Este champion Alex Komaromi among them.
The flop came 4♦4♠9♠, and Guillen’s hand remained best. The turn was the 10♦, providing a flicker of drama by bringing both flush draws and an inside straight draw to go along with Melogno’s still live queen and eight. But the river brought the 5♥, sending Melogno out in fourth for a prize of $60,420.
The crowd applauded in recognition of Melogno’s finish, and his opponents likewise acknowledged with handshakes the efforts of a worthy combatant. But soon it was back to business for the remaining trio.
Baruffi still enjoys the edge with about 3.5 million. Guillen is next with 2.37 million and Marcelo Fonseca third with just about 2 million. Guillen has already at least matched the third-place finish he had at LAPT Punta del Este during Season 2, but much work remains for the Team PokerStars Pro from Mexico if he hopes to improve on that versus two tough opponents from Brazil.