After three months and thousands of miles, the final table for the PokerStars.com Latin American Poker Tour Mexico Main Event has finally concluded, with Rory Cox outlasting Helen Prager to take the title.
Back in December, 242 players had registered for the $2,500 Main Event in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, and 89 remained when local officials halted the tournament.
At the time, prizes were awarded according to players' current stacks when play was stopped, then PokerStars subsequently conducted an online freeroll to play down to nine players. The original plan had been to play out the final table live at the LAPT Chile stop in January. However, that plan was revised and the final table was rescheduled to take place prior to this week's LAPT Uruguay stop. PokerStars added $50,000 to the prize pool, thus giving the final nine something extra for which to play.
When the final table began Tuesday afternoon, Cox (U.S.) held a commanding lead with 1,074,464 chips. Indeed, the other remaining eight players combined had a little under 1.3 million. Cox's nearest foe when play began was Helen Prager (also U.S.) with 326,235. Victor Ramdin (U.S.) was also there, in seventh place with 103,576.
All nine players lasted through the first hour of play, and then Ramdin was eliminated in ninth by Prager, with Ramdin collecting $1,000. Alex Brenes of Costa Rica, Humberto's brother, was the next to go. Alex had begun the table in fourth place, though like just about everyone aside from Cox, that was with a relatively short stack. Brenes was ousted in eighth when American Pavel Naydenov's A-Q outraced Brenes' pocket nines, with Brenes picking up an extra $1,500 for his efforts.
The short stacks continued to shove, and more players were quickly eliminated, with Bolivar Palacios (Panama) going out in seventh ($2,000), Martha Herrera (Mexico) in sixth ($3,000), and Steven Thompson (Costa Rica) in fifth ($4,000). With four players remaining, Cox continued to enjoy a sizable chip lead, with his 1.3 million still more than double the next biggest stack, then sitting in front of Naydenov.
Before long, Leonardo Emperador of Venezuela, down to less than 150,000 chips, shoved all in with and was called by Cox, who held pocket queens. The board brought no king, and Emperador was out in fourth ($5,000). About ten minutes later, Cox claimed another victim in Naydenov. Naydenov flopped flush draw and pushed, but Cox had flopped two pair. The flush didn't arrive, and Naydenov was out in third, earning $7,500.
Cox enjoyed an almost a 5-to-1 chip advantage over Prager when heads up play began, but Prager doubled up twice in short order, and when the pair went to dinner break Prager had assumed the lead. After they returned, the pair traded the lead back and forth for nearly two hours before finally settling the matter.
On the final hand, Cox raised from the small blind/button to 72,000, and Prager moved all in with her stack of nearly a million. Cox called, showing , ahead of Prager's . The board went , and Cox's aces gave him the title and the extra $15,000. Prager picked up $11,000 for her second-place finish.