Since the elimination of Jaime Zamanillo Mayol in 4th place, the final table has taken some twists and turns. Team PokerStars Pro Jose “Nacho” Barbero was cruising at that time, but things started going south quickly. He found himself playing many pots out of position against the reigning Brazilian Series of Poker Player of the Year, Leonardo Martins. Martins got the best of those pots more often than not.
But Pablo Tavitian took his own bite out of Martins about an hour ago, re-raising Martins pre-flop from 260,000 to 620,000 and then calling a four-bet to 1 million. Martins bet 675,000 more on a flop of A♥4♠K♥, then shoved all in on the 10♣ turn after Tavitian called the flop bet. Tavitian snap-called all in on the turn for 2,195,000 with A♠K♠; Martins showed down a bluff draw to a gutshot straight, J♥9♣. The straight didn’t fill, allowing Tavitian a full double-up and taking some of the wind from Martins’ sail.
Still, Barbero and Martins went back and forth with Tavitian largely a spectator. He would bounce out of his chair every time the other two players were in a pot. One time he came back to the media rail while a hand was in progress and asked, “Three bet?” Another time the question was, “Who won that pot?”
Tavitian took a chunk out of Barbero with pocket 8s by check-calling three streets. He check-called Barbero’s 5♥4♠2♥ flop bet, another 500,000 on the 10♣ turn, and 800,000 on the J♠ river. Barbero showed pocket 7s and looked disgusted to see Tavitian’s pocket 8s.
That hand pushed Barbero’s stack down into the short stack territory with Martins and made Tavitian the dominant chip leader. A short time later Barbero was all in pre-flop with A♦10♥ against Tavitian’s A♥4♦. Barbero had been running hot and doing well in these situations all tournament, but this time his luck failed. A four flopped, 9♣4♣3♣. Barbero picked up chop outs with a fourth club on the turn 2♣, but hit the rail in 3rd place after the river J♥.
Third place isn’t all bad. It comes with $78,460. What it doesn’t come with is the legend that Barbero could have cemented with his third LAPT win in five LAPT final tables.
Tavitian and Martins are now heads-up. Tavitian has a dominant chip lead.
Dave Behr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.
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