Jose Miguel Espinar Takes Down LAPT Punta Del Este

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The Latin American Poker Tour continued this week with an event in Punta del Este, a popular tourist location in Uruguay. After three days of play there was only one man left standing, Jose Miguel Espinar. Espinar is new to poker, having only played for a year, but he showed none of his inexperience in capturing his first major poker tournament.

Final table play began with eight players left to compete for the title. Soon after final play began, five players were left to compete for the title, as the opening salvos at the final table brought three players to their knees.

The first player to take his leave of the final table was Paulo Cesar Ribeiro, who had reraised Espinar before the flop with pocket jacks and saw the flop fall [Kd][Kc][6c]. Espinar checked, Ribeiro bet, and Espinar raised all-in. Ribeiro made the call and Espinar turned over [Ks][Qc] for a three of a kind. The turn filled Espinar’s house as it fell [Qs]. The river card further improved Espinar’s hand as it was the [Kh} giving him quad kings. Ribeiro headed for the rail, taking home $17,025 for his eighth place finish.

Juan Jose Perez fell when his pocket aces were cracked by Espinar’s [Ad][Jd]. Perez got all his money in before the flop and Espinar called, showing his weaker hand. The flop fell [Qh][10c][2c] and Espinar now had an inside straight draw. The turn was the final ace to give Perez a set, but the [Kd] would fall on the river to give Espinar the straight and eliminate Perez in seventh place. Perez earned $25,535 for his performance.

Sidney Chreem finished his day in sixth place when he lost a coin flip to Lisandro Gallo. Chreem pushed all-in before the flop with [Qd][9d] and Gallo called with pocket sevens. The board was no help for Chreem, as it rolled out [10h][10c][8s][[6h][3h]. Chreem’s sixth place finish was rewarded with $34,045.

After the exciting start to the final table play slowed down and it would be a couple of hours until the next elimination, whose victim was Gylbert Drolet. Drolet moved all-in with pocket jacks and Gallo called with [Ac][Qh] to send the two players to the flop. The flop was ugly for Drolet, as it fell [10c][9c][2c], giving Gallo the nut flush draw to go with his overcards. The turn of [5s] missed Gallo, but Gallo would indeed make his flush when the [Kc] fell on the river. Drolet was eliminated in fifth place, earning $51,070.

Alexander Gomes was the next to fall, putting all of his money in with [Qs][7s] after a flop of [6s][4s][3c]. Alex Brenes called with A-5 and held the advantage. The [7h] on the turn gave Gomes a pair, but it also gave Brenes a straight. Gomes could still win the hand with a spade on the river, and could tie Brenes with one of the remaining fives. However, the [9d] was neither of those, and Gomes could only leave with the $68,100 he earned for his fourth place finish.

The tournament was down to three players, but heads-up play would not begin for another couple of hours. Lisandro Gallo’s stack was whittled down over the course of play until he pushed his remaining chips in with [Qh][9d]. Unfortunately for Gallo, Alex Brenes was holding pocket aces. Gallo received no help from the board and headed for the rail in third place, richer by $93,630.

Jose Miguel Espinar held a slight lead upon entering heads-up play, a battle that would continue for several hours. A decisive blow came when the A-9 of Alex Brenes could not match up against Espinar’s A-10, and Brenes found his stack decimated. Brenes would immediately move in with [Ah][10c] and Espinar made the call with his [Kc][3c]. Espinar took the lead with a pair of kings when the flop fell [Kd][9c][7c], also making a flush draw. Brenes could not overcome Espinar’s kings as the turn fell [4s] and the river fell [9s].

Alex Brenes won $126,625 for his runner-up performance while Jose Miguel Espinar earned the grand prize of $241,735.

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