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Argentina's Mario Lopez Wins the Latin American Poker Tour Chile Main Event, $117,991

LAPT7 Chile

Argentina captured it's seventh Latin American Poker Tour title in as many seasons on Sunday, as Mario Lopez outlasted 608 opponents to win the LAPT7 Chile Main Event — the first of the season — earning $117,991 after a four-way deal.

Lopez joins an elite list of South American players, including Team PokerStars Pros Jose "Nacho" Barbero (LAPT3 Uruguay, LAPT3 Peru) and Leo Fernandez (LAPT5 Panama). Pablo Tavitian, the LAPT6 Chile champion, also hails from Argentina.

Lopez defeated Chile's own Rodrigo Perez in a 90-minute heads-up match, but Perez earned the most money ($120,000) because he captained the largest stack when the deal was struck. Brazil's Jefferson Melo finished third for $90,000, and Chile's Luis Resk exited in fourth for $95,000.

LAPT 7 Chile Main Event Final Table

1Mario LopezArgentina$117,991*
2Rodrigo PerezChile$120,000*
3Jefferson MeloBrazil$90,000*
4Luis ReskChile$95,000*
5Johann IbañezColombia$47,620
6Robert LipkinCanada$37,260
7Guilherme PitaBrazil$27,560
8Raul PinoPanama$18,960

*Denotes four-handed deal

According to the PokerStars Blog, the pace at the final table was fairly quick. The first six eliminations were only interrupted by a 30-minute discussion about a potential deal during five-handed play, and said discussion ended without an agreement. After Johann Ibañez exited in fifth place, the remaining four players were quick to divvy up the remaining cash prizes.

Raul Pino and Guilherme Pita started the day with very short stacks, and exited in eighth and seventh place, respectively. Pino was ousted by the eventual champion when he committed the remainder of his stack with the {q-Hearts}{j-Clubs} and was unable to improve against Lopez's {k-Diamonds}{8-Spades}, and Pita ran the {10-Diamonds}{10-Spades} into Lopez's {k-Clubs}{k-Spades}.

The two knockouts propelled Lopez into the chip lead, as did a big double up with the {a-Spades}{a-Clubs} against Melo's {k-Hearts}{8-Hearts} on a flop of {3-Hearts}{7-Hearts}{4-Diamonds}. The {k-Clubs} on the turn kept things interesting, giving Melo five extra outs to bust Lopez, but the {9-Diamonds} bricked off on the river.

Canadian Robert Lipkin was the only North American at the table, and he was eliminated in sixth place when he ran the {4-Diamonds}{4-Hearts} into Lopez's {6-Clubs}{6-Spades}. Lipkin, who has two World Series of Poker final tables under his belt, was unable to spike a set or run out a flush or straight.

After failing to complete a deal with his four competitors, Ibañez was done in by Resk. He moved all in from the small blind for 1.23 million with the blinds at 40,000/80,000/10,000, and Resk called with the {a-Diamonds}{k-Clubs}. Ibañez was drawing live with the {9-Clubs}{8-Diamonds}, but the {k-Diamonds}{3-Clubs}{5-Spades} flop made him a much larger underdog. The hand was over when the {3-Diamonds} landed on the turn, and a meaningless {8-Clubs} completed the board.

The remaining four players quickly struck a deal, with Perez getting $120,000, Resk $95,000, Lopez $95,000, and Melo $90,000. The winner would earn the extra $22,991 set aside.

Resk and Melo were out the door shortly after the deal was struck, and the latter actually KO'd the former. Melo moved all in on the button with the {q-Hearts}{9-Spades}, and Resk called all in for less from the big blind with the {a-Diamonds}{j-Hearts}. Melo flopped a nine on the {7-Clubs}{3-Spades}{9-Diamonds} board, and held as the turn and river came the {6-Clubs} and {5-Spades}, respectively.

Minutes later, Melo moved all in in with the {a-Spades}{k-Clubs} on a flop of {6-Diamonds}{9-Clubs}{2-Diamonds}, and Perez called with the {10-Clubs}{9-Hearts}. The {7-Hearts} on the turn was a blank, as was the {2-Clubs} on the river, and Melo was eliminated in third place.

Perez started heads-up play with 9.265 million in chips to Lopez's 2.55 million — a more than 3-1 chip advantage — but Lopez doubled on the very first hand. Perez three-bet shoved with the {a-Hearts}{3-Clubs} and Lopez tank-called with a dominating {a-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}, holding on a board of {4-Spades}{8-Hearts}{k-Diamonds}{3-Spades}{q-Clubs}. Not long after, Lopez called a river bet from Perez on a board of {q-Spades}{5-Spades}{2-Hearts}{9-Diamonds}{9-Clubs} with the {k-Spades}{10-Diamonds}, and king-high was good enough to take the pot when Perez showed the {8-Spades}{7-Clubs} for eight-high.

From there, Lopez took the chip lead and started to pull away. The tournament ended with a classic race, as Perez moved all in with the {a-Spades}{q-Diamonds} and Lopez called with the {10-Spades}{10-Clubs}. The Chilean crowd exploded when the dealer spread {q-Clubs}{7-Clubs}{6-Hearts}, giving their man Perez a leading pair of queens, but the {10-Hearts} spiked on the turn to give Lopez a set and the title. A meaningless {j-Hearts} completed the board, and the two players shook hands before Lopez was presented with the trophy.

Season 7 of the LAPT continues in late May, where LAPT7 Brazil kicks off in wonderful Sao Paulo.

Data and photo courtesy of the PokerStars Blog

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