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LAPT San Jose: Level 20 updates

Updates for the LAPT San Jose Event Level 19 will be posted here. Hit refresh to see the latest content. Blinds are 6,000/12,000/1,000. For chip counts, see the LAPT Chip Counts page. For updates from Level 19, click HERE.

LAST UPDATED: 3:19pm

3:19pm--Break

Level 20 is now complete. Players are taking a ten minute break. The LAPT Chip Counts page has been updated with the latest counts.

3:11pm--Jesus Bertoli eliminated in 4th place ($80,603)

The greatest benefactor of all the recent action was Jesus Bertoli. He had been rocking the shortest stack at the table for well over an hour, treading water against the ever-increasing blinds. He finally found himself allin with Ad-3s against -- who else? -- Ryan Fee and his Ks-Qs.

If you've read the last few posts, you know that Fee has been running pretty good. It therefore should come as no surprise that Fee flopped two pair, Qh-Kd-8d. Bertoli reported to the rail shortly thereafter, earning $80,603 for his excellent short-stack play.

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Jesus Bertoli ran out of short-stack magic.

2:52pm--Andrew Chen eliminated in 5th place ($61,063)

Speaking of one of *those* hands, we just hand another just minutes after the first. It started when Ryan Fee came in for a raise and got re-popped by Andre Chen from the blinds. Fee, holding 8h-8s put Chen all-in for a grand total of 350,000. Bad timing on Fee's part, as Chen held Qs-Qh.

Of course, if it's going to be one of *those* hands, it's got to be one of *those* hands. The flop came down 6c-4h-5s, opening up four more outs for Fee. Suddenly, he seemed a lot more interested in the turn. It did not disappoint. The 7d fell, swiping the win away from Chen. He had two outs to a chop on the river, neither of which came. He was eliminated in 5th place for $61,063.

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Fee now has more than 1 million chips.

"I'm really good at sucking out," he said sheepishly.

2:44pm--Jeff Petronack eliminated in 6th place ($43,960)

It was one of *those* hands -- the type of hand where all of the chips are in the middle before anyone in the gallery or in the media has even realized that there was an opening raise. Yet that's where we were. Jeff Petronack was all in for 297,000 against Ryan Fee. There was a mad scramble as photographers and bloggers leapt over the media table to get a better view of the action, but it seemed all for naught. Both players held ace-king. Petronack had the ace of diamonds and king of hearts; Fee had two spades.

"If ever there were a time to win one of these hands..." Fee pleaded with the poker gods. (At least he didn't say "One time!") Humberto Brenes, once again on announcing duty, set the stage for everyone in the room. Once we all knew what was at stake, the dealer burned and turned a flop.

Injury was the flop coming three spades. Jack of spades, eight of spades, ten of spades. Insult was the turn coming queen of spades to make a royal flush for Fee. The giant rock of salt in the gaping wound was the river falling nine of spades to make a board straight flush.

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Jeff Petronack could only grin as Ryan Fee reacted to flopping the nuts.

Petronack goes home with $43,960 and a hell of a story. "How'd you go out of the tournament?" friends might ask him. Petronack can say "I lost with a straight flush."

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2:34pm--Chip counts updated

The latest chip counts have been posted at the LAPT Chip Counts page.

2:26pm--Claus Rasmussen eliminated in 7th place ($34,195)

Claus Rasmussen saw his chip stack dwindling away. With blinds at 6,000 / 12,000 / 1,000, a single orbit costs 25,000. When you're under 100,000 chips as Rasmussen was, pushing with two random cards from late position hoping to pick up the blinds isn't a bad play. Unfortunately for Rasmussen, he pushed with Qd-7d into Joel Micka's pocket kings. A queen on the flop gave Rasmussen the briefest flicker of hope for survival, but it was extinguished when the turn and river didn't help him. Rasmussen shook the hands of everyone at the table and left the final table area to the applause of those assembled in the gallery.

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Claus Rasmussen couldn't crack Joel Micka's kings.

2:20pm--Tight is right

There are eight of us sitting in media row. By looking at any of us, you might not realize that a poker tournament is reaching its conclusion just ten feet away. The remaining players continue to play extremely tight, conservative poker. Very few hands are going to the flop; most aren't going past one raise. Joel Micka did manage to extract 80,000 chips from Jeff Petronack by pushing all in after Petronack raised Micka from 29,000. Ryan Fee (fresh off a wardrobe change about an hour ago) begged Petronack to "Please call!" but Petronack and Micka both have average stacks. It would have been surprising to see both players get those stacks in the middle without a flop.

2:15pm--Blinds up!

The price of playing a round at this table just went up. We're now playing at 6,000/12,000/1,000.

While we're waiting for the next big thing to happen here, check out this piece written by PokerStars Blog assistant Alex Villegas.

Poker hearts

Poker tables are usually a place for opposing emotions. The joy of hitting a two-outer is met by someone else's frustration, the fear of pushing all in on the bubble is countered by another player's relief in making money. But every so often, when the mood is just right, there is a feeling that transcends the felt and connects two players, that feeling is love.

There are many significant others at the LAPT, cheering on their better half, but among these, there are two couples who can only cheer in between their own hands. Jonathon “Apestyles” Van Fleet and Maria Mayrnick's have been together since the first day of the 2008 WSOP and Max and Maria Stern share more than just matching wedding bands, they are the only couple to each win a WSOP bracelet.

While they may be kind and compassionate outside the poker room; both these couples have shown their opponents they are a force to be reckoned with at the table. Mayrnick made her presence known with an early Royal Flush “and [invalid card] got action!”, the royal flush seemed to consume all of her tournament luck, as she was eliminated later on with a bad run of cards. But her tournament wasn't over yet, he took roots next to Jon and watched his every play. She followed down to the final three tables, where his pocket sixes ran into cowboys for a 17th place finish.

The Sterns also managed a cash, but it was Max who took a seat behind the rail and cheered his wife on all the way to the final table. The Sterns both made it deep, with Max finishing only 2 off the bubble, when his AK suited was the wrong color and he lost to a flush. He followed Maria with the trademark cheer “Duro mi Mama!” until her KJ wasn't able to outdraw a pair of queens.

It's debatable whether what's harder to find, love or a good poker player. Somehow these two couples seem to have found both, and don't mind sharing their stories with us.

They say you can find love anywhere, and sometimes that anywhere is the Nightly Hundred Grand at PokerStars. Both frequenting the tournament they were often seated at the same table, maybe too often. As most players, they couldn't resist using the chat-box to both laugh and express their interests. Their connection grew faster than blind structures ever could (well, except for maybe turbos) and they ended up meeting on the first day of the 2008 WSOP. There, they found each other and a hefty number of cashes, they've been inseparable ever since.

“It's perfect” said Mayrnick, talking about their relationship. “We completely understand each other. We never bother each other to get off the computer, we don't even talk when we're both playing, and we get it.” But there are hard times, “It's really hard when we're both on a downswing. It's hard to motivate each other when neither of us is running good. And I also tilt, A LOT!” Stated Mayrnick, talking about her anger issues. “But I'm really grateful I have Jon, he's a real pro and no matter how bad he runs he never looses his cool. He's teaching me how to control my tilt, he locks me out of the poker room until I cool down and he refuses to talk to me about poker unless I stop tilting, Jon is great.” Aside from being on-line sharks, they enjoy traveling to live events. But sometimes there no place like home, “I love Austin, we have a great time and we live with Stevie “Stevie444” Chidwick, we're hoping to adopt him one day.” said Mayrnick right before she ran off because Jon was in a hand.

The Sterns on the other hand were married and playing poker before most of us had even heard about the game. Max started playing when he was seven, consistently beating kids up to twice his age. He knew he had it in him, “Some people have a skill for art or music, I knew my gift was cards” and he has a couple of WSOP bracelets that agree with him.

When asked about how she got started in poker, Maria said, “The earthquake was what got me into poker”, referring to the 1987 LA earthquake. “Max always went to the casinos, and after the earthquake I didn't feel safe staying home alone so I asked him to take me. I started getting bored of just watching him, so I decided to play one day, and I won! I didn't know I had it in me” and the rest was history.

With their children all grown up, poker did more than just provide a hobby. “After your kids grow up, a lot of couples lose communication and a connection, that comes with raising children. But poker has filled that role, it's helped us create an even deeper connection and made our marriage that much stronger”

Playing as a couple has also helped their game. In 1997, 2 years after his first bracelet, Max came in third at a WSOP RAZZ event for $50,000. He used that money to put Maria in the 7 Card Stud Event, and she ended up winning it. “After that, everyone in Vegas started making fun of me, saying that I didn't win my event and Maria was the main breadwinner now. It got to me, so I had to go back to the tables” said Max. And hit the tables he did, he won two events and added some bracelets to the family collection.

They say there's no hard times in their relationship, but they do have a favorite moment. “Our goal is always to make the final table together, and we have, three times” Two of the times Max won the event, but Maria took the honor of winning the third. “We were three handed. I pushed from the button, the small blind came over the top and Maria called. She had us both covered and turned over aces, the small blind had Kings and that was it” said Max, remembering how he got knocked out by his wife for a third place finish.

With so much success behind their belts these two couples gave us some much needed advice on the subject. Van Fleet and Mayrnick say that understanding and respecting each other's schedule is vital, they also recommend taking a day to rest and a day to go out. “We go out on Fridays, sometimes to a movie or whatever, we just go out. We take Saturdays off, just resting” advised Mayrnick.

Max directed his advice to the guys with girlfriends who don't approve of their poker hobby “Teach them how to play! By teaching, you practice your own game and get to share something important to you with your partner. And who knows, she might even start making money.” And Maria is definitely making some money today with an eighth place finish.

With the tournament over both couples now take time to themselves. Discussing their hands, enjoying Costa Rica and preparing to make the final table together at their next event.

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