There might have been a temptation to overlook start-of-day chip leader Patricio Rojas of Chile before play began for today’s Latin American Poker Tour Main Event final table at the Atlantic City Casino in Lima, Peru.
That’s no slight to Rojas, even though some might have looked upon the fact that he’s had much more online than live experience — and was not only playing in first ever LAPT Main Event but had made his first live tourney final table ever — as reason to look further down the list of remaining players when predicting a winner.
After all, one LAPT champion sat in third position with a big stack of his own. Julian Menendez had won his title in Medellin, Colombia just last year, and led this event after Day 2 with 27 players left. Another player, Rafael Pardo, was making his fourth LAPT final table, too, and despite being short-stacked had to be taken seriously as a contender as well.
Besides, Day 3 had been a wild and woolly affair, racing down to a final table in a day full of huge hands and lead changes. That fact alone seemed to suggest Rojas’s position on top to enter the final day hardly assured he’d still be there at the end, especially with the blinds and antes already big enough to encourage one last fast-paced day of poker.
Rojas didn’t keep the lead throughout the day, although he stuck close to the top for much of it. He’d built back up to a big advantage when it meant the most, too, during three-handed and heads-up play. And when it was all said in done — in one of the quicker final tables in LAPT Main Event history at less than five hours — the clarity of hindsight tricked us into thinking the ending seemed more inevitable than it really was.
Patricio Rojas was an LAPT champion.
A series of all-ins ensued, with the short stacks — including Pardo — surviving. But then came another involving Menendez, and by running pocket queens into the aces of Ricardo Chauriaye, the Argentinian swiftly fell in eighth.
The remaining seven then agreed to flatten out the remaining prize pool somewhat, a decision that immediately benefited a short-stacked Carlos Noreiga when the Peruvian was soon knocked out in seventh.
All of the all-ins were making for a highly entertaining show for the crowd in attendance, and the drama would continue to unfold at a high pitch.
Four-handed lasted but a short while, then Rojas’s fellow countryman Ricardo Chauriye found himself at risk with A♥10♥ versus Rojas’s J♠J♣. The board came seven-high, the friends shared congratulations and condolences, and suddenly they were down to three with Rojas up over 6.6 million, Pardo with just over 2.4 million, and the last Peruvian standing Victor Jesus Lay down to a little less than 1.6 million.
Level 29 drew to a close, marked by a couple of all-ins and survivals by the two short stacks, then a final try by Lay with 6♣5♠ versus Rojas’s A♣5♣. No help came for Lay who was out in third, and Rojas had a better than 4-to-1 advantage to start heads-up with Pardo.
Pardo, as mentioned, had been to LAPT Main Event final tables before. This marked the furthest he’d gone, though, beating the third-place finish he’d achieved at LAPT Brazil earlier this season.
In other words, while he’d been close numerous times, he’d never been quite this close.
Alas for the Colombian, he never could get anything going during the 20 minutes into Level 30 he spent battling his chip-advantaged foe. Finally the end arrived in a hand that saw both players dealt aces, with Rojas’s A♥10♣ making Pardo the underdog with A♣2♠. No deuce or other friendly combination of community cards came for Pardo, and once again after starting a final day of an LAPT Main Event he wasn’t quite able to finish it the way he’d wished.
Meanwhile Rojas was all smiles — with a little bit of evidence of relief, too — as he received his trophy and reward. After all, he’d just beaten out a field of 557 entries, the largest ever poker tournament on Peruvian soil, and earned himself a six-figure prize and a happy memory that will last a lifetime.
Rojas becomes the third LAPT champion from Chile, joining Alex Manzano (Season 4 LAPT Playa Conchal) and Alirio Diaz (Season 5 LAPT Vina del Mar).
With the full list of payouts available here, this is how the cash was ultimately distributed among the final eight:
LAPT6 Peru Main Event final table results
1. Patricio Rojas (Chile) — $123,840
2. Rafael Pardo (Colombia) — $100,000
3. Victor Jesus Lay (Peru) — $80,000
4. Ricardo Chauriye (Chile) — $60,000
5. Scott Diver (Canada) — $50,000
6. Andrey Spitsyn (Russian Federation) — $45,000
7. Carlos Noriega (Peru) — $40,000
8. Julian Menedez (Argentina) — $17,660
We leave having collected ourselves another great memory as well of another great visit to Peru’s beautiful coastal capital. With heartfelt thanks to the LAPT staff and that of the Atlantic City Casino, we bid a fond farewell.
Thanks for following our coverage of LAPT6 Peru this week. Next stop… Panama!
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.
All photos from LAPT Peru this week courtesy Carlos “The Fisherman” Monti.
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