Heads-up! We're down to two.
Not long after the deal-making among the final three, a hand arose in which the Brazilian Francisco Baruffi opened with a raise to 175,000 from the button, to which his countryman Marcelo Fonseca folded from the small blind. Angel Guillen of Mexico had other ideas in mind, however, reraising to 425,000 from the big blind.
Baruffi sat quietly for a moment. "Pago," he said finally, indicating he was calling.
The flop came 5♠A♦9♥. Guillen thought a few seconds, then slid out a bet of 275,000. Baruffi looked across the table at the white chips sitting before his opponent, then back down at his remaining stack.
"Pago," he repeated.
The turn brought the 3♣ and another bet from Guillen, this time for 400,000. Baruffi paused a beat, then had a different response this time. He was all in.
Guillen quickly called, tabling A♣J♣ for top pair of aces. Baruffi turned over 4♠3♠ -- treys and a gutshot to a wheel.
A card was burned and the river was delivered -- the K♠. A period of chip counting followed, the result showing Baruffi had had Guillen covered by just 135,000.
The Brazilian could keep his seat, for now.
The big blind (80,000) and ante (10,000) used up most of Baruffi's stack before the next hand was dealt. As Fonseca looked about to raise from the button, Baruffi playfully waved his hand saying "No!" to discourage him. But raise Fonseca did -- to 160,000. Guillen folded, and Baruffi dropped his remaining few blue chips into the pile.
Baruffi had A♥5♠ while Fonseca had 9♠9♣, and when the flop came J♠4♣9♥ to give Fonseca a set, Baruffi stood up, accepting the all-but-inevitable. As kings arrived on both the turn and the river, Baruffi exchanged handshakes and pats on the back with both of the remaining players.
Thanks to the chop, Baruffi walks away with a cool $116,240. Meanwhile, Guillen was left with about 3.4 million to start heads-up play, a bit behind Fonseca's 4.1 million.
The pair quickly agreed to terms regarding the remaining $38,000, deciding that $28,000 will go to the winner (who will ultimately earn $144,240), while $10,000 will go to the runner-up (who will walk away with $126,240).
Like the previous chop talk, the discussion of the further division of the remaining riches was marked by smiles and a kind of camaraderie. For the final two players to be in a good mood would be understandable under any circumstances, but these two both have extra reason to be feeling fine.
For one, both have now guaranteed themselves best ever finishes at the LAPT. Guillen's previous best had been a third place right here in Uruguay at LAPT Punta del Este (Season 2), while Fonseca had a third himself at LAPT Sao Paulo (Season 4).
But they're also both probably doubly happy about where they are now compared to how things began on Day 4. After all, when play started early in the afternoon, Fonseca was eighth out of nine in chips, and Guillen dead last!
Stay tuned. There's still a lot worth playing for, and not just the remaining prize money...