How would it feel to win a major international poker tournament before you graduated high school? Well, for that answer you could ask German high school student and PokerStars Latin American Poker Tour Mar del Plata champion Dominik “DOMinator” Nitsche, who claimed the $381,030 top prize when he finished the final table the same way he started it – with all the chips. Nitsche made it from Day 3 chip leader to champion with few missteps along the way, finally besting 19-year-old Mexican Jorge Landazuri heads up for the title.
Nitsche started the day with a significant chip lead over his opponents, as the chip counts looked like this:
Dominik Nitsche - 817,000
Sergio Farias - 474,000
Jason Skeans - 338,000
Jorge Landazuri - 329,000
Leo Fernandez - 329,000
Jose Barbero - 181,000
Rodolfo Awad - 170,000
Derek Lerner - 155,000
Alfons Fenijn - 65,000
Jose Barbero started the day with a medium-sized stack, but became the first player to bust when he and Sergio Farias tangled in a big pot on the second hand of the final table. Farias raised preflop from the small blind with , and Barbero moved all in over the top from the big blind with . Farias made the call, and they were off to the races. Farias made a set on the flop, but Barbero picked up a gutshot Broadway draw to keep things interesting. The on the turn helped no one, and when the landed on the river Farias collected the pot as Barbero headed to the cage to collect $28,220 for ninth place.
Short stack Alfons Fenijn moved one rung up the money ladder when Barbero busted, but he headed to the rail soon after in eighth place ($35,280). Still in the first orbit, Fenijn moved all in preflop with . Farias reraised to isolate and got his wish when the action folded around. Farias’ pocket jacks held up on a board of , and Farias had claimed both first and second blood at the final table.
Rodolfo Awad stepped up and took over the elimination duties for a moment when he busted Derek Lerner in seventh place ($49,400). Lerner shoved preflop with , and Awad quickly called with . Lerner picked up a little help on the flop, but the on the turn meant he was drawing dead. The river was a superfluous , and Lerner’s tournament was over.
Chip leader Nitsche started the final table fairly quietly, but the DOMinator came to life in dramatic fashion when he busted both Sergio Farias and Leo Fernandez in one big hand. Nitsche opened for a raise preflop, and Fernandez moved all in over the top. Farias went deep into the tank before announcing that he too was all in. Nitsche snap-called with his , and found himself in that most lovely of spots in tournament poker – holding aces against two all-in opponents, each of whom was drawing to two outs. Farias was in a distant third place with , and Fernandez tabled the classic cooler: . Nitsche only needed to fade four outs total to bust two opponents, and he did just that on a board of . Fernandez made a remarkable comeback from a short stack on Day 1 to finish in sixth place for $63,250, and Farias picked up $77,620 for his fifth-place finish.
American Jason Skeans got caught stealing by Rodolfo Awad and was next to hit the rail in fourth place ($105,860). Skeans moved all in preflop with , and Awad called with . The flop was a rather mundane , but Skeans picked up a straight draw on the turn. The on the river was no help to either player, and Awad’s ace-high was good enough to send Skeans packing. Awad himself was the next to fall, his no good against Jorge Landazuri’s . All the money went in preflop, and Awad made middle set on the flop. Awad kept the lead on the turn, but the hit the river to give Landazuri the two-outer and give Awad $141,140 for third place.
The 19-year-old Landazuri had a slight age advantage over the 18-year-old Nitsche, but Nitsche took a 2-to-1 chip advantage into heads-up play. After several minutes of preparation for the heads-up battle, it took exactly one hand for everything to be decided. Nitsche raised preflop from the button, and Landazuri called to see a flop of . Nitsche bet out on the flop, and Landazuri check-raised. Nitsche called, and then called again when Landazuri bet out at the turn. The river brought the and Landazuri moved all in. Nitsche snap-called with for trips, and Landazuri tabled for the busted straight draw. Landazuri missed his draw on the end, but the young Mexican made a good return on his investment, turning a PokerStars freeroll into second place and a $211,700 LAPT championship payday. Dominik Nitsche picked up $381,030 in his first major tournament victory.
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