Still more players are showing up as the afternoon starts to wane and the evening approaches here on Day 1B of the Latin American Poker Tour Peru Main Event. Rodrigo Quezada, Emanuel Marso, and Jorge “Baalim” Limon of Team PokertStars Pro Online have all joined the throng, which is big enough now our photographer Carlos Monti climbed a ladder to get a better look at it.
So, too, have both Dominik Nitsche and Ivan Luca come to play, each of whom took their chances yesterday and failed to make it through to tomorrow’s Day 2, and so have re-entered today.
Sitting at adjacent tables right in the center of the room, Nitsche and Luca draw the attention perhaps a bit more than most, if only for the fact that both have uniquely demonstrated tournament success in a remarkable variety of contexts — both online and on an impressive number of live tours.
Nitsche’s three WSOP bracelets — earned in the last four years — are known about by most. Some, too, know he has a WPT title to his credit, won in South Africa in 2012. And around here everyone remembers him for winning an LAPT Main Event title back in Season 2 in Argentina. Add a number of big cashes in Europe, and his nearly $5 million in tournament earnings puts him in the top 10 all time among German players.
Meanwhile the Argentinian Luca has only recently begun playing live tournaments in earnest, picking up over $1.5 million total, most of which has come in just the last couple of years. Luca has several LAPT scores, has earned big cashes on the EPT including finishing second in the EPT/IPT Malta High Roller back in March of this year, and over the summer won his first WSOP bracelet in a $1K NLHE event.
Both Nitsche (as “Bounatirou”) and Luca (as “Negriin”) have earned a great deal on PokerStars as well, further encouraging the comparison.
During the latter half of Level 5, we stopped our pacing about the room to take a turn standing in between the two tables on which the pair were playing, deciding it might be worth checking them out for an orbit each if only to gain a glimpse of each player’s early Day 1 approach.
Nitsche’s table was an impressive one, starting with Emanuel Marso on his left and LAPT7 Chile champion Mario Lopez on his right. Nicolas Fierro and LAPT6 Peru winner Patricio Rojas were seated at the table as well. So, too, as it happened, was Connie Lampropulos — Luca’s girlfriend — seated at Nitsche’s table, winner of side events at LAPT7 Chile and WPT Vienna earlier this year.
We picked things up with Nitsche sitting on about 24,000 and in middle position. After folding one hand, he opened the next, was reraised by Rojas from the cutoff, then called. The flop came nine-high, and Nitsche check-called, then led the turn (getting called), and both checked the river. Nitsche tabled a pair of nines for a set, and had quickly snared a decent pot.
He’d next defend his big blind versus an early position open from Fierro. Both checked to the river, at which point a Nitsche bet earned him the small pot. He’d fold a couple of hands, win the blinds and antes with a cutoff raise on the next, then fold from the hijack seat.
The tables turned a bit for Nitsche on the next hand, one in which a player raised from UTG and he called from a few spots over. He’d keep calling progressively larger bets from his opponent as the board came 7♥10♥5♦, then A♦, then 3♥, then mucked with some dismay after seeing the player 3♠3♦ for a rivered set.
After folding the next hand, Nitsche was right back around 23,000 — i.e., close to where he’d begun the sequence.
Luca began his orbit with about 45,000 — more than twice the starting stack — with fewer of his opponents being quite as decorated as was the case for Nitsche.
After folding a couple of hands, Luca won a small blind-vs.-blind one in which he began by limping from the small, then bet the flop and turn to chase his opponent. He’d open-raise the next one from the button, earning another small pot, then raise again from the cutoff to earn two callers (button and small blind).
The flop came 8♦J♣4♦, and when checked to Luca continued. The cutoff raised him and the small blind folded, and Luca called fairly quickly. He then check-called a bigger bet following the 2♣ turn, and checked again after the 2♥ river. A bigger bet put Luca in the tank for a while, and after he emerged with a call his opponent showed Q♦J♦ for two pair and Luca mucked.
That hand sent Luca’s stack back down under 30,000, and he’d fold the next three hands (hijack, then middle position twice), before raising again. The cutoff reraised him and he called, then after both checked the flop, Luca check-folded the turn, preserving a stack of about 27,000.
Not too much in the way of fireworks from either player, although stepping back from their tables it’s clear both are plenty active, with each voluntarily putting money in the middle four times out of nine.
We moved on with our circling, while Nitsche and Luca continued to go round and round with their respective tables into Level 6.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.