Like a racehorse waiting for the very last stretch to make his move, Jose Latorre waited until there was about 30 minutes left in the night on Day 1b of PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event before turning on the jets and racing to the top of the leaderboard.
Latorre finished the eight-level grind with 243,800, giving him a wide lead over the players who paced the Day 1a field as well as Thomas Steinbicker, who finished Day 1b with 201,500. He's best known for his exploits in online sit-n-goes as "Cejakas14" but also has nearly $200,000 in live cashes.
Two huge hands at the end of the night powered Latorre's move. With unknown action ahead of him at 400/800/100, Latorre put in 8,100 in the big blind and saw Rory Brennan make it 20,500. Latorre peeled with ace-king and saw the turn for free, turning a king after three wheel cards flopped. Latorre check-called 14,500 and then won the pot at showdown.
That pushed Latorre past 110,000, but an even bigger pot was in the offing. Latorre got all in on the turn on a board with three clubs against a similarly stacked opponent who held king-ten of clubs for a king-high flush. Unfortunately for him, Latorre held ace-nine of clubs for the nuts and vaulted into his massive lead.
PokerStars Team Pros also had a productive day. While Vanessa Selbst hit the rail, she had at least three teammates make it through. Andre Akkari (123,300), Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier (57,700) and Marcin Horecki (15,300) all found bags.
Grospellier has been in the midst of a resurgence after a top 13 runs at PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo and PokerStars Championship Sochi before a second-place finish at the $111K One Drop at the World Series of Poker.
Fabian Quoss, Adam Owen, Koray Aldemir, Dietrich Fast, Ari Engel and Parker Talbot also survived.
A total of 1,233 turned up for Day 1b, pushing the two-day total to 1,670. There's still time for players to buy in though, until Day 2 gets going. The late registrants and the remaining players will be back at Casino Barcelona at noon on Wednesday for Day 2. Blinds and antes will be 500/1,000/100, and all the action will be documented here on PokerNews.