After taking three hours to go from nine to eight in the LAPT Chile Main event, it took about a half-hour for the next two to go. Mario Lopez of Argentina has already gone from the brink of elimination to score two knockouts and assume the chip lead.
Early action saw Rodrigo Perez chipping up a bit to move over the 2.8 million-chip mark to secure his second-position spot behind Jefferson Melo.
Then on the fifth hand of the day the action folded around to Lopez in the small blind who raised the minimum to 100,000, Melo called from the big blind, and the pair watched a flop come 3♥7♥4♦.
Lopez checked, and Melo fired a bet of 175,000 into the middle. Lopez responded with an all-in push for his entire stack of about 1.2 million, and Melo paused just a beat before calling.
Melo showed K♥8♥ for a flush draw while Lopez had A♣A♠ and the lead. The K♣ then arrived on the turn, giving Melo more ways to cut short Lopez’s afternoon, but the river was the 9♦ and suddenly Lopez was up over 2.6 million, just a touch ahead of Melo while Perez was now the chip leader.
Perez added a few more to move up over 3 million and into first, then a hand arose that saw Raul Pino open-push his small stack from the button for 415,000, and after just a bit of thought Lopez called from the big blind.
The flop hit both players, coming K♥2♥Q♣, and Pino stood from the table, appearing resigned to the likelihood of an early exit. The turn brought the 6♥ and the river the 2♣, and the Panamanian exited in eighth.
Just a few hands later the Brazilian Guilherme Pita opened for 140,000 from the hijack seat, then watched it fold to Lopez in the big blind who made it 295,000 to go. Pita then reraised all in for 805,000, and Lopez called right away.
Aces and then kings for Lopez! And a bad spot for Pita. The A♥K♦J♦ flop was intriguing, giving Lopez a set but a straight possibility for Pita. But the turn was the 5♥ and river the 4♦, and Pita departed in seventh.
After that flurry Lopez is the new leader with a little more than 3.6 million, with Perez second with just under 3.3 million. Melo’s third now with about 2.65 million, while Robert Lipkin, Luis Resk, and Johann Ibanez are the short stacks, with Ibanez now down to just 10 big blinds.
Photography from LAPT7 Chile by Carlos Monti. Live streaming of the final table in both Spanish and Portuguese is available via PokerStars.tv. You can also follow the Spanish feed at PokerStars or via Facebook, and the Portugeuse feed at PokerStars or via Facebook.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.