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LAPT Rosario: Tight chip lead going into Day 3

lapt-promo.gifThis looked, by all accounts, to be Nico Fierro's. He could've almost folded to the chip lead from the middle of the day,

Could he do it? Could Chile's Nico Fierro go wire-to-wire as the chip leader to the final table? He looked good for it. It seemed there was no way to beat the man. Chips seemed to just want to be in his stack. At one point during the day, the soft-spoken Fierro had worked his stack to nearly half a million. And then he stalled.

Oh, there was nothing he was doing especially wrong, but the happy-traveling chips just decided it was time to start going elsewhere. By night's end, he was among the bottom-feeding players on the leaderboard.

No, at the end of the day, finding the chip leader took sitting down and counting each chip one by one, because the chip lead was separated by less than a big blind. Argentina's Francisco de Belaustegui finished with 346,000, just 4,000 ahead of Panama's Bolivar Palacios' 342,000. It was Palaciois that was Fierro's undoing, with a huge aces versus ace-queen confrontation.

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Francisco de Belaustegui

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Bolivar Palacios

Also near the top and within striking distance is Mexico's Gerardo Godinez, the online poker pro, and the man who played steady-as-she goes poker until the waning moments of Day 2 when he got a big stack in with queens against Jesper Hoog's jacks. Godinez flopped his set and finished the day with 331,000.

Among the other big stories come out of the day was that of Terrence Chan, fourth place on the leaderboard tonight. The two-time SCOOP champion is also the proud owner of a World Championship of Online Poker bracelet, one he won this time last year when he took down the $1,050 limit hold'em six-max championship. It was a title he was sure to defend, until he decided to go to Argentina. A man who has traveled and lived around the world, Chan had always wanted to go to Argentina, but never found a way to get here. With the LAPT Grand Final staging itself in Rosario, Chan had an excuse. He knew going in that he could miss the WCOOP event, but only if he made it deep on Day 2. That he has done. At one point he counted his stack and mocked surprise. "How did that happen?" he joked. "Poker tournaments are weird." Weird or not, Chan finished the day with 324,000.

Terrence Chan

We also must take just a moment to note one Jose Guevara. You may not know that the famed revolutionary Che Guevara spent his childhood here in Roasrio. Now, Jose Guevara (no documented relation, so far as we can tell) is looking to add another Guevara to the list of Rosario's famous names. The native Argentinean amassed an impressive stack throughout the day and finished with 137,000.

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Jose Guevara

This is all to say nothing of the Team PokerStars Pro performance in the Grand Final. Eight Team Pros started the day. Only one bagged chips at the end. Mexico's Angel Guillen goes to bed tonight with a respectable and serviceable stack of 172,000. The only other Team Pro finishing in the money was Brazil's Andre Akkari. He rode a roller coaster all day and ultimately finished in 38th place for $3,740.

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Angel Guillen, the surviving Team PokerStars Pro

That's not enough? Then try this. We still have a chance for a repeat LAPT champion. LAPT Season 3 champ Matthias Habernig finished Day 2 with 272,500, well enough to work up to a final table appearance. If he should somehow win this event, he would be the second back-to-back winner in this season of the LAPT (Nacho Barbero won two events this season, as well).

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Matthias Habernig

Now, 24 players remain in the LAPT Grand Final, all of them in the money, and all of them hoping to make it to Sunday's final table. It will take a full day of work on Saturday to get there. We've put the full chip counts on the LAPT Rosario chip count page as soon as we have them.

For a look at who has won money so far and what's left on the table, we have the prize pool and payouts page

Finally, as we are in South America, if you're here looking for information in Spanish, our buddy Reinaldo has that over on the PokerStars Latin American blog.

Thanks for joining us today. We'll be back for the re-start at noon local time Saturday to play down to the final table.

In the meantime, we're going to see how much more red meat we can fit into our systems before our bodies finally gives up.

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