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LAPT8 Bahamas: Josh Kay leads final 11; Danchev, Hall, Finger in hunt

Near the end of Day 2 of the LAPT Bahamas Main Event, Mustapha Kanit was engaged in a discussion with a fellow player about a hand the pair had just played when he quickly stopped and with a wry grin held up his hand.

"I don't believe you," he said with a chuckle, referring to a claim about the hand made by the other. "You see, I'm from Italy. And in Italy, the first story we read is Pinocchio..."

Still smiling, he pulled forward on his nose to describe visually the puppet's nose growing and growing, one of the most famous "tells" in literature there is. The pair laughed and play continued, as did the stories the players were telling -- true and otherwise -- with their actions and bets.

On Day 1 the story here was all about the field growing and growing, finally culminating with 736 total entries to create a nearly $2 million prize pool. Today on Day 2, the story was more about chip stacks growing and growing, and after 11 one-hour levels the 183 who began the day played all of the way down to just 11, with Josh Kay of the U.S. having grown his stack the biggest of those who remain.

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Josh Kay

Kay finished with 2,541,000, just ahead of the young Polish player Jose Carlos Garcia (2,377,000) and 2013 PCA Main Event champion Dimitar Danchev of Bulgaria. Another PCA champ -- Galen Hall (2011) -- remains in the hunt as well, as does EPT8 Prague winner Martin Finger.

As noted, today began with 183 hopefuls all aiming to make the final 111 and the cash, then carry their LAPT Bahamas adventures still further. Walking about the playing area, we encountered tough tables at every turn amid a quick early pace of eliminations.

The bubble burst by mid-afternoon, with Todd Sisley the unfortunate player to finish 112th.

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Todd Sisley

The eliminations picked up again thereafter, with Team PokerStars Pros Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier (93rd), Eugene Katchalov (70th), and Victor Ramdin (51st) among those making the money. For Katchalov and Ramdin, the experience marked a pleasant return to the LAPT as both had played on the tour before.

From there we watched different players take turn atop the leaderboard. Mustafa Kanit led with 42 left (and would survive to Day 3).

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Mustapha Kanit

Kyle Frey had the lead with 35 remaining, and he made it through to tomorrow, too, albeit with a short stack.

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Kyle Frey

Then Danchev took a turn atop the counts as the field shrunk to 24 and below.

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Dimitar Danchev

Danchev held onto the lead as they got down to 16, and was still thriving as Jonathan Karamalikis started a move upwards in the counts. Then Daniel Strelitz (16th) and Barry Hutter (15th) were eliminated, thus bringing us up to where we last left off our telling of the Day 2 story -- and a chapter describing Karamalikis's sudden fall.

The last level was quiet for the first half-hour, then three eliminations came in rapid succession.

As Max Greenwood went out in 14th ($18,280), Karamalikis found himself on the wrong side of a boat-over-boat situation to fall under 500,000.

Then came a hand in which Kanit opened from under the gun and Karamalikis defended his big blind with a call. The flop came 4♥8♦J♦, Karamalikis checked, and Kanit fired a continuation bet. Karamalikis then pushed all in and Kanit called, the latter showing A♦K♦ for two overs and a flush draw while Karamalikis had 8♥6♥ for a pair and a gutshot.

The turn brought the 7♦, filling Kanit's flush and making the T♠ river no matter, and Karamalikis's run had suddenly ended in 13th ($20,240).

Walter Fisher went out right after that in 12th ($20,240) after running A♣J♦ into Stefan Jedlicka's A♠A♦, and after a short-stacked Aaron Massey pushed all in multiple times without getting called, the day was finally done.

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Aaron Massey

Here's how the counts will look heading into play tomorrow:

1. Josh Kay -- 2,541,000
2. Jose Carlos Garcia -- 2,377,000
3. Dimitar Danchev -- 2,168,000
4. Mustafa Kanit -- 1,881,000
5. Stefan Jedlicka -- 1,568,000
6. Martin Finger -- 1,226,000
7. Galen Hall -- 875,000
8. Taylor Paur -- 800,000
9. Jonathan Borenstein -- 487,000
10. Aaron Massey -- 400,000
11. Kyle Frey -- 372,000

Play resumes again tomorrow at 12 noon, and as players get knocked out tomorrow we'll see the prizes growing and growing all of the way to the $367,928 scheduled to go to the winner.

Come back here then and together we'll find out the rest of the LAPT Bahamas Main Event story.


Photography from LAPT8 Bahamas by Carlos Monti. Click here for live updates in Spanish, and here for live updates in Portuguese.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

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