It’s not uncommon for players to try and hold on to their stacks while they try to make a payjump, but our chip leader was still in the process of stacking his chips when we lost our first player and made a payjump.
While everyone else in the tournament already had their stacks neatly assembled and ready to go, Mario Lopez was still building his 706,000-chip tower.
A player was even eliminated at Lopez’s table before he was done.
A short-stacked Victorino Piedrabuena moved all-in with 10♠8♠ and Bryce Daifuku called with A♣J♠. Piedrabuena wasn’t able to improve and finished in 24th place for $6,840.
When the remaining 16-minutes of the level were done, the floor took a quick 5-minute break to color up the T500 chips.
That seemed to be all players needed to kick things into high gear.
In the first 30 minutes of the level, players were already down to the final two tables.
Daifuku was one of those eliminated after he lost a large portion of his chips in another elimination.
In that hand, Pablo Errotamendia moved all-in for 50,000, Daniel Ades re-shoved for about 100,000 and then Daifuku also moved all-in for about 200,000. The rest of the table folded.
Errotamendia showed the worst hand with K♥J♠ while Daifuku’s J♣J♦ were second-best to Ades’s A♣A♦.
The board ran 3♥9♣7♦10♠10♦ and Errotamendia was eliminated in 22nd place while Ades chipped up to about 280,000 and Daifuku fell to 100,000.
Daifuku was able to hang on for some time but would end up falling in 18th place.
But before Daifuku hit the rail, we lost our last red spade in the field.
Ariel Eghi raised to 20,000 from under-the-gun and Felipe Mojave moved all-in for 103,000 from the small blind. Eghi called and Mojave was flipping for his tournament life with A♠Q♣ to Eghi’s 6♣6♠.
The 3♠8♠K♣7♦3♦ board brought no help for Mojave and the Friend of PokerStars was eliminated in 21st and earned $7,620.
Then we lost our reigning LAPT champion.
Claudio Moya, who won the last stop in Peru, wasn’t able to pull back-to-back victories.
On the turn of a king-high board with two diamonds, Moya check-called all-in with the nut flush draw but Ruben Barros had the lead with top pair.
Barros’s hand held up and Moya won $8,400 for finishing 19th.
Daifuku quickly followed him out in 18th ($8,400), and by the time he reached the payout cage, Amos Ben was eliminated in 17th ($9,560).
The floor started redrawing to our final two tables.
Alexander Villegas is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.