The Latin America Poker Tour returned in 2014 with the promise of being bigger than ever. The seventh season kicked off in Vina del Mar, Chile and after five days and eight tournaments with buy-ins ranging from $200 to $5,000, an Argentinian sealed the deal by winning the first Main Event of the season.
Mario Lopez started the final day ready to risk his whole stack and had to sweat a little before going for the win. He moved all-in during the fifth hand of the eight-handed play against big stack Jefferson Melo. Lopez had #ac#as on a #3h#7h#4d board, while his opponent had a dangerous flush draw (#kh#8h) and over 37% chance to knock him out. Fortunately for the Argentinian, the bullets held and suddenly, he was in striking distance of chip leader Rodrigo Perez.
Lopez increased his stack even more in the next hands by eliminating shortackers Raul Pino and Guilherme Pita. Pino open-shoved the button with #qh#jc and caught a #qc on the flop. Lopez, however, flopped a bigger hand, #kd#kh, that sent Pino railing. Pita couldn’t let go of his #10d#10s and four-bet all-in only to see that his opponent had #kc#ks.
The Argentinian wasn’t done and eliminated yet another foe. With under 8 big blinds, Robert Lipkin shoved his #4d#4h being first to act. Lopez took the opportunity and called with #6c#6s. Lipkin didn’t leave Chile empty-handed, turning his $1,700 investment into a decent $37,260 win.
The five players left tried to make a deal and failed, but after yet another elimination, the second round of negotiations was on. Johann Ibanez seemed in a hurry when he tried to scare his opponent with a 15-big-blind shove. Unfortunately for him, Luis Resk woke up with a premium hand, #ad#kc. The #kd high flop sealed the deal for both Ibanez ($47,620) and the remaining four players.
Soon after that, the deal was set and the chop was made. The big stack Perez secured the largest prize of $120,000, Resk and Lopez got $95,000 each, while shortack Melo got $90,000. The rest of $22,991 was left for the Main Event winner.
With the money left aside, the gambling frenzy began. Resk made an unlucky exit moving all-in with #ad#jh, but failed to stay alive against Melo’s #qh#9s. Minutes later, Melo tried to bluff his opponent out of the hand with #as high, but instead he was the one eliminated from the tournament with Perez calling his flop shove with top pair.
Surprisingly, heads-up play lasted more than 90 minutes. Perez started with a big chip lead over his opponent, Mario Lopez, but the first hand signaled things to come. Lopez doubled up right at the start with both players putting their stacks in the middle with Ace-high hands. However, the Argentinian had the higher kicker that helped him win the first pot of the head-to-head battle.
Lopez also won the final hand and with it the Main Event. Again, all chips were in the middle pre-flop with both players having huge hands: Perez had #as#qd, while Lopez held #10s#10c. The #qc high flop gave Perez the big lead but the #10h turn buried him, giving the Argentinian the winning set.
Although he finished second, Perez can brag about cashing in the largest prize of the tournament: $120,000. Lopez won $117,991, but he will remain in the history books as the LAPT7 Chile Main Event winner.