The final 24 players returned to the salon at the Mantra Resort on Friday to battle it out on day three of the PokerStars.net LAPT Punta del Este. It took about eight hours, but the final table was reached, setting the stage for Saturday. After dragging the biggest pot of the tournament with 13 left, Norbert Ludger catapulted to the head of the counts and firmly remained there, ending with 1,596,000.
The day began with Stephen "stevie444" Chidwick making a run at taking the chip lead. After building his stack from 255,000 to 450,000, he had Ludger on the ropes. Chidwick raised from middle position and Ludger defended from the big blind. The flop came down and Ludger put in a check raise. Unphased, Chidwick went all-in and Ludger called immediately with , trailing Chidwick's . Unfortunately for Chidwick, the dropped on the turn and he could not catch up on the river. Ludger finished off Chidwick a few orbits later with against the young Brit's . A queen hit the flop but the turn did in Chidwick again when a five fell.
Now with a hefty stack, Norbert picked his spots well and got his chips in even better. The hand of the day saw Ludger call a raise on the button from Martin Sansour. The flop was checked over to Ludger and he bet 97,000 into the 178,000 pot. Sansour raised it up 200,000 more and Ludger took his time before making the call. When the hit the turn, Sansour went all-in and Ludger called immediately with . Sansour was drawing dead with , propelling Ludger to over the million-chip mark.
Team PokerStars Pros Jose "Nacho" Barbero and Humberto Brenes hoped to make it to the final eight but only one was able to do so. Brenes lost a significant portion of his stack when he ran pocket jacks into pocket kings and he would not recover, busting in 16th. Barbero's day was spent mostly on the shorter end of chips, but he ended the day on a high note when he eliminated Ernesto Panno on the final table bubble. Barbero's held against Panno's to send everybody except Panno to the final table.
Join us here at noon local time for the conclusion of the PokerStars.net LAP Punta del Este.
Seat 1: Roman Suarez - 403,000
Seat 2: Norbert Ludger - 1,596,000
Seat 3: Jose "Nacho" Barbero - 548,000
Seat 4: Bernardo Dias - 840,000
Seat 5: Andres Korn - 503,000
Seat 6: Nicolas Cardyn - 988,000
Seat 7: Daniela Zapiello - 560,000
Seat 8: Marco Caicedo - 666,000
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.