Eight remaining players returned Sunday to see who would be crowned champion on the first leg of Season 3 of the 2009 PokerStars.net Latin American Poker Tour. When the day was done, Amer Sulaiman took home the coveted trophy, and a nice $172,095 payday.
It took a little while for the players to their grooves at the start of this final table, but after an hour into the final table, the first player was sent to the rail. Patrick De Koster of the Netherlands moved all-in preflop with and was called by Eric Levesque who woke up in the big blind with pocket queens. De Koster failed to overtake Levesque’s queens and was out in eighth place.
Both Rogelio Pardo and Francis-Nicolas Bouchard doubled in the next hour before the next player was eliminated. Carlos Giron had moved all-in with from middle position and was called by chip leader Bergren and his . “I call, I don’t have a good hand, but I call,” Bergren said.
The board ran out , hitting Bergren’s queen and sending Giron to the rail in seventh place. Just minutes later, the next player was eliminated.
Darren Keyes had moved in with and was dominated by Amer Sulaiman’s . Keyes flopped the better hand with a pair of sevens but was sent packing after a king hit the river.
Sulaiman also did the dirty work in the next elimination. This time, it was a little easier for him when he took his pocket aces up against Bouchard’s . All Bouchard could muster was a pair of kings in the hand. Sulaiman made an unneeded set of aces on the river to send the young Canadian home in fifth place.
Play calmed down for about a half an hour before two back-to-back hands saw Levesque and Pardo bounced from the tournament.
Levesque was the first of those to go when he attempted to out flip Bergren. Levesque held to Bergren’s pocket eights. The only paint on the board was a jack after it ran out , silencing the previously very talkative Levesque and eliminating him in fourth place.
On the very next hand, Pardo was all in preflop with against Bergren’s . Bergren had yet to finish stacking his chips from the previous hand, continuing to do so while the board was run through . By eliminating Pardo, Bergren set up an all-Canadian heads-up match between himself and Sulaiman.
These final two players began with Bergren holding 2.9 million chips to Sulaiman’s 2.3 million, but it didn’t take long for Sulaiman to take the chip lead. He check-raised Bergren all-in on a board of , forcing him to fold. Sulaiman then showed just a pair of fours with the .
Bergren only regained the chip lead once more as Sulaiman applied most of the pressure during the rather passive match that lasted nearly three hours.
On the final hand of the night, Bergren pushed in with an open-ended straight draw on the board of . Sulaiman made the call, taking his up against Bergren’s . The turn and river failed to complete Bergren’s straight after the and fell on the felt. Bergren began the day with the chip lead and rode his way to a second-place finish, good for over six figures.
The Iraq-born Sulaiman came to Costa Rica on vacation with his girlfriend and some friends. He never even planned to play the event but decided to play last minute. This decision turned out to be one of the best he’s made as he takes home his largest score ever in a poker tournament — $172,095.
1st: Amer Sulaiman (Canada) - $172,095
2nd: Sol Bergren (Canada) - $100,492
3rd: Rogelio Pardo (Costa Rica) - $61,551
4th: Eric Levesque (Canada) - $45,221
5th: Francis-Nicolas Bouchard (Canada) - $32,660
6th: Darren Keyes (Canada) - $26,380
7th: Carlos Giron (Guatemala) - $20,098
8th: Patrick De Koster (Netherlands) - $13,818