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PCA 2014: Team Argentina and a busy Barbero

Today is a hectic day for Team PokerStars Pro Nacho Barbero. Not only is he playing a $1,000 No Limit Hold'em side event (and, thanks to winning a massive pot with pocket aces moments ago, he's playing it pretty darn well), but Barbero's also the coach of this year's Team Argentina in the Americas Cup.

About 20 paces behind him, the team are duking it out with other hopefuls from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru for a share of $100,000. He's eager to hear how they're getting on, but he's definitely not worried about their chances.

"They know what they're doing," says Barbero "I don't know about the rest but I'm pretty sure we have the best team by far."

So while the players in today's $1,000 tournament took a break to stretch their legs, Barbero and his snazzy blue and white Argentina top made their way over to watch the team in action. We grabbed a quick word to see how he and they are getting on.

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Barbero sharing his wisdom before play started today

What's it like being a coach today?

"I'm enjoying it actually. I'm sitting out of my tournament all the time to go back and forth and see how they're getting on. I'm very proud of course. Any time you get to represent Argentina you've got to be proud."

Can you tell us anything about your team?

"I coached the Argentinian team like two years ago and a couple of the players didn't quite know what they were doing. It's a bit hard to teach a guy how to play poker in one night. But these guys all know."

What makes you say that?

"Ivan Raich got heads up on the last LAPT final table, and they've all been winning a lot of tournaments in Argentina. We have a really good chance."

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Team Argentina: this year's hot favorites (according to Barbero)

Not that it sounds like they need it, but did you give out any tips before play started?

"I just told that in the beginning, please, I don't want to see you guys busting. If they get aces or kings I told them not to fall in love with their hand and go for pots they shouldn't."

Has the advice worked?

"I went over to watch one hand and the flop came like A-4-5 and he got check-raised on the flop. He had kings and he just called. Turn was a two, his opponent checked, and he checked back. That's what you want to see. There's no need to put yourself in a messy spot, especially when you get more points the longer you last in this format. You should protect your hand in the beginning and play small ball. But these guys don't need my help too much."

There's $32,500 up for grabs for the winning team. Are they nervous?

"They were super calm. They're all experienced live players and grinders. They looked confident."

What's more important to you: winning the $1,000 or seeing Argentina claim the top prize?

"Seeing Argentina win, obviously."

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LAPT Grand Final runner-up, Ivan Raich

To find out if that happens, stay tuned to the PokerStars Blog and don't forget to click through to live updates, features and interviews from the $10,000,000 guaranteed PCA Main Event.


Keir Mackay is a copywriter for PokerStars.

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