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LAPT Punta Del Este

June 02, 2012

Tags: LAPT, Angel Guillen, Punta del Este.

Last week I paid my third visit to Uruguay’s pride and joy – Punta del Este – the loyal host of the Latin American Poker Tour. The four -day event drew a poker-playing crowd of 375 players to the plush Mantra Resort Hotel and Spa.

With Punta del Este being known as the place to be between December and February, people often ask why we go in winter. Well, there are many reasons, such as the ability for poker players to take over the town with ease, or at the very least, the Mantra Resort, without all the congestion of half a million tourists and the extraordinary prices that come with the high-demand summer months. While laying on the beach soaking up the rays is no longer an option in winter, the surf, and peacefulness at this time of year is bliss for a beachside getaway. You can check out the stunning sights of Punta del Este, and the Mantra, in the following video.

After three days of play, I found myself watching the most exciting final table I have yet to watch, and that was thanks to my boyfriend, Angel Guillen, who earned a seat. This event means a lot to him in Punta del Este, as it is basically where his career began, back in 2009, when he finished in third place of LAPT Season 2.

One of the luckiest hands of Angel's career to date hit him on Day 2. Here's Martin Harris' recount of the hand from PokerStars Blog:

“Guillen open from early position got callers in Dobrovolskiy (cutoff) and Rubinsztain (small blind). The flop came {q-Diamonds}{10-Spades}{8-Clubs} and a smorgasbord of bets ensued, leaving Rubinsztain and Guillen all in and Dobrovokskiy with only a little left.
Indeed, there were so many chips in the middle of the table, it looked a lot like our plates would at dinner, the cuts of beef, sausages, and chicken claiming nearly every square inch available.
Dobrovolskiy managed to find an empty space on the felt to table his {a-Diamonds}{a-Clubs}. Guillen showed {k-Spades}{k-Clubs}. And Rubinsztain turned over the hand that currently beat them both -- {j-Spades}{9-Clubs}!
Rubinsztain had to think he was about to be served a nice, fortuitous helping of chips just before dinner. But the turn brought the {k-Diamonds}, a card that complicated things enough to upset even the strongest constitution. Guillen had made a set and was now alive with a draw to a full house or four of a kind. And Dobrovolskiy, too, had improved his slim chances just a touch and was hoping for a jack to fill a gutshot to Broadway.
Then came the river... the {8-Diamonds}! Just before the rest of us filled up, Guillen had filled up... and how!
A whopping 550,000-chip pot was pushed Guillen's way, catapulting him into second place behind leader Juan Garcia. Dobrovolskiy was left with table scraps for chips with less than 60,000. And Rubinsztain was out in 25th place, having the rest of the night to ponder over his unfortunate fate.”

That hand left everyone speechless, most especially, Guillen. With that boost of chips he was then able to carry them through and secure himself a seat at the final table. He didn’t let the fact that he was the short stack get him down though. He was so determined to use this second chance to scoop that trophy he had come so close to doing back in Season 2.

As the payouts progressed through the final table, we were eventually left with just two players: Angel Guillen and Marcelo Ramos Da Fonseca. I found myself in this position...

As Dave Behr described, “Guillen and Marcelo Fonseca played a tough heads-up battle. Fonseca had a small chip lead to start and never relinquished it. Both players preferred to keep pots small pre-flop; most raises were for the minimum and three-bets were almost non-existent. After the flop, bets were hard to come by as the two men were very careful with all but the strongest hands.

However, it had to end, and unfortunately for Guillen, Fonseca was dealt {a-Clubs}{k-Hearts} when Guillen shoved his {a-Spades}{9-Clubs}. The three outs that would save Guillen were nowhere to be seen.

Securing a third and second place on the same final table is such an incredible feat by Guillen and I couldn’t be more proud. In Season 2 he then went on to huge success at the 2009 World Series of Poker, so lets hope that pattern continues!

Fonseca was an absolute gentleman and a fantastic player, which made it much easier to handle one of the toughest moments of my career to date. You can check out the winner interview below, in which I must say I impressed the pants off myself with keeping composed! Sending huge congratulations to both men, and to all that made the final table!

LAPT Punta del Este

August 23, 2011

Tags: Buenos Aires, Angel Guillen, Jose Igancio Barbero, LAPT, Latin American Poker Tour, Punta del Este, Uruguay, Argentina, Travel, Tourism, Christian de Leon, Alex .

I just had a nice and relaxing week at home in Melbourne, Australia after a whirlwind trip to Uruguay for the PokerStars.net Latin American Poker Tour in the awesome beachside party town of Punta del Este earlier this month. The LAPT’s are notorious for having fast-paced final tables, but I rarely see one over in less than five hours! That’s what happened when Alex Komolomi entered the final table of eight with 35% of the chips in play. He dominated his way to heads-up in just over three hours, and after a couple of unscheduled breaks and one chip-lead swap that only lasted a few minutes, we had a winner in lightning speed. The great part was that Komolomi was a local, not only being the first Uruguayan LAPT champion, but also winning it on his home turf. He was so nervous after his win that he politely requested he do his interviews after calming down for half an hour! What a sweetheart. As the event was drawing to a close with just the eight players returning for the fourth day of play, we put together a little string of highlights, taking out the hardwork for you if you failed to follow along at the time, rolling all the fun into one video.

The Mantra Resort, where the LAPT was held, was amazing. It is the middle of winter right now and freezing cold in Uruguay, but the sun came out to say hello on one of the days while Christian de Leon was drowning his sorrows after an unsuccessful LAPT. This was my favorite interview of the entire week simply because of the setting. You’ll notice that it’s not a PokerNews video, but actually a PokerStars.tv video, which the team here at PokerNews also produce.

Once the tournament ended it would have been a waste to come all this way and then just go straight home, so I added a couple of days to relax before the long journey back to Australia. Angel Guillen and I headed over to Buenos Aires for two days. I had no idea how amazing that place is. Leo Fernandez said to us one morning when convincing us to go "it's like Paris" at which Angel laughed, but now I understand why he said that. Argentinians are like the French, the walk with so much confidence and are so well dressed - and I didn't see a single overweight person there! Jose Ignacio Barbero took us to his "favourite restaurant in the whole world" - Osaka. It's in the heart of the stunning Palermo area and is a combination of Japanese and Peruvian food. It was incredible! He also recommended Guido's - a little Italian restaurant right by our hotel (across from the zoo so it was a bit of a stinky walk). You don't get given a menu here, you just get fed anything and everything the owner feels like feeding you! As you're sitting down the appetisers are already coming, and all the meals are like home-cooked Nona's specialties. It was so cosy inside, I loved it!

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