Now Live EPT Malta888Live Festival London LAPT Punta del Este Day 2: Zappielo Emerges; Cesar Leads the People LAPT Punta del Este Day 2: Zappielo Emerges; Cesar Leads the People 0001

Day 2 of the LAPT Punta del Este began on Thursday with about half as many players as Wednesday’s Day 1. Out of the 307 who entered the event, 145 of them survived long enough to unbag this afternoon with the goal of further reducing that number down to twenty-four. Ten hours later, that goal was realized in the ninth level of the day. With two days left in the tournament, Cesar Mostafa is setting the pace for the field as they round the corner towards the finish line.

The steady stream of Day 2 eliminations began to fade to an occasional drip as the bubble approached about two-thirds of the way into the day. Alex Brenes was already long gone by that time, and Team PokerStars Pro Maria “Maridu” Mayrinck had barely finished her morning cup of coffee before she too was escorted out. Another member of the Team, Leo Fernandez joined her on the rail shortly thereafter.

When the bubble finally did get out of the way, three Team PokerStars Pros were still in contention. Despite her middling stack, Veronica Dabul was particularly talkative and chipper for most of the day. The magic ended as the night wore on, though, and she had to settle for a minimum cash for her 38th-place finish ($5,210). Humberto Brenes was dealing with a much shorter stack for the balance of Day 2, but he rallied hard and finished very strong. The shark’s share of his chips came to him in a very large late-night double up. Brenes flopped a set with {6-Spades} {6-Diamonds}, and the case six on the river meant that The Shark’s quads easily topped his opponent’s {10-Diamonds} {10-Spades}. You can just imagine the antics that followed from he and his plastic sharks after winning that big pot in such fine fashion. He’s in seventh place heading into tomorrow.

That puts him one spot behind Jose Ignacio "Nacho" Barbero, the Argentine Team PokerStars Pro who has his sights set on what would be the biggest score of his tournament career. Serial satelliter Stephen "stevie444" Chidwick is still right in the mix, as is Oliver Rowe. You may not recognize Rowe's name, but you can be sure they know who he is around here. Oliver finished in fifth place in this event last year.

One of the more interesting developments of Day 2 was the emergence of Daniela de Lima Zapiello. The 23-year-old from Brazil confounded the tables full of men that came against her, and she proceeded to blaze her way directly to the top of the score board during the middle levels. Zappielo was the first player to cross the half-million-chip mark, and her unrelenting aggression was responsible for one of the most memorable hands in the history of bubbles.

It was the absolute bubble, 49 players left, one knockout away from the money. For the second consecutive pot, Zapiello opened to 10,000. A player to her left called, and Pedro Komaromi called from the button as well. Three-handed, the flop came {A-Hearts} {A-Clubs} {7-Spades}. All three players passed at the pot, and the {10-Spades} fell on fourth street. Zapiello fired out a delayed continuation bet of 15,000, and the middle player called. Komaromi then proceeded to pop it up to 50,000 straight, and only Zapiello put in the calling chips this time. They went heads up to see the {8-Spades} on the river. Komaromi was getting short on chips by that time, and Zapiello went ahead and made the covering bet. He insta-called, slamming over his {10-Diamonds} {10-Hearts} full house. But it was second best. Zapiello, quiet as a mouse, turned up {A-Spades} {8-Clubs}, and the crowd went wild. Her aces full sent Komaromi away shaking his head and guaranteed the remaining 48 players a spot on the payout sheet.

That pot put Zapiello up over 500,000 and gave her a nearly two-to-one chip lead over her nearest rival. A few slips late in the day would see her stack lose a bit of traction, but her strong finishing count of 485,500 puts her firmly in second place. That lays the enviable burden of the overnight chip lead with Mostafa. After a solid and steady climb throughout Day 2, he ended up with the top stack of 529,000 heading into tomorrow’s penultimate day.

The final 24 players will return on Friday, and things are really starting to get serious. A first prize of close to $300,000 is up for grabs, not to mention the bragging rights and the trophy that come with winning an LAPT event. The field will reconvene at noon local time to be whittled all the way down to the final table of eight.

Our Live Reporting Team will be back on the floor to keep you up-to-date on everything that happens as it happens. And, of course, you can follow us on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news and updates as well.

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