LAPT: Jose Miguel Espinar Wins LAPT: Jose Miguel Espinar Wins

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Jose Miguel Espinar has won the Latin America Poker Tour Punte del Este championships, adding the LAPT win to a prior cash at the Caribbean Adventure. In a career which has lasted less than a year, the win for $241,735 is sure to do his live game reputation no harm whatsoever.

Espinar began the final table around average on chips, with the final-table chip counts as follows:

Alexandre Gomes - 763,000
Gylbert Drolet - 691,000
Jose Miguel Espinar - 675,000
Lisandro Gallo - 465,000
Alex Brenes - 457,000
Paulo Cesar Ribeiro - 281,000
Juan Jose Perez - 167,000
Sidney Chreem - 93,000

The eliminations of Paulo Cesar Ribeiro, Juan Jose Perez and Sidney Chreem came swiftly, leaving the final table six-handed in quick order. Alex Brenes, brother of Humberto, managed to build his chip stack up the right way, and with the elimination of Alexandre Gomes in fourth, it left Brenes, Lisandro Gallo and Espinar to battle it out.

Three-handed play was a tense affair, with two hours going by before it eventually fell to Brenes to eliminate Gallo, whose timing couldn’t have been worse. Faced with a short stack, he moved in with Q9o, only to walk into Brenes’ pocket aces.

With a slight chip lead going into heads up play, there was much manoeuvring between Espinar and Brenes, but the title was effectively decided when Brenes found himself on the receiving end of a bad match-up, crippled when his A-9 was dominated by A-T. After he’d lost the bulk of his stack against A-T, he put the rest of his chips at risk with the very same hand immediately after. A call by Espinar’s K-3o meant Brenes was ahead, but when a king arrived on the flop, the title would head to Espinar, leaving Brenes a second place prize of $126,625 as consolation.

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