7:08pm: Back-to-back LAPT titles for Nacho ($250,000)! Barrows takes second ($144,000)
It didn't take long. After folding the first couple of hands of heads-up play, Ben Barrows open-shoved with his last one million-plus with A♦2♦, and Jose "Nacho" Barbero called quickly with A♠7♣.
The flop came an intriguing 7♦K♠Q♦, pairing Nacho but giving Barrows a flush draw. The turn card was the 2♣, giving Barrows a pair as well.
The dealer burned one, then turned over the river card -- J♥. Nacho has done it! Back-to-back LAPT titles for the Team PokerStars Argentina pro! The American Barrows and online qualifier takes home $144,000, while Barbero wins $250,000.
6:57pm: Updated chip counts at start of heads-up play
Jose "Nacho" Barbero -- 6,480,000
Ben Barrows -- 1,200,000
6:52pm: Barbero eliminates Cabrera in 3rd ($88,400)
Ben Barrows folded on the button, Jose "Nacho" Barbero limped in from the small blind, and Erick Cabrera checked from the BB. The flop came T♠8♣6♥. Barbero checked, Cabrera bet 120,000, Barbero check-raised to 280,000, and Cabrera called.
The turn was the 3♠. Barbero, sitting cross-legged in his chair, quickly checked. Cabrera paused a beat, then declared he was all in. Barbero snap-called, tabling 9♥7♦ for the flopped straight. The pro-Cabrera crowd all sighed at once at the sight of Cabrera's hand -- A♥T♣. He was already drawing dead.
"Very Erik Seidel-Johnny Channish," said Thomas Koo, media coordinator for the LAPT, to those of us here behind the laptops. The crowd cheered Cabrera for his third-place finish, and we are now heads-up.
6:35pm: Cabrera and Barbero battles
Erick Cabrera raised to 160,000 from the button, Ben Barrows folded, and Jose Barbero raised to 400,000 from the big blind. Cabrera called, and the flop came 5♠T♥K♣. Nacho led for 420,000, and Cabrera responded by pushing all in for approximately 1.1 million. Barbero took his time, then let the hand go.
On the next hand, Barrows folded, Barbero raised to 240,000 from the small blind, and Cabrera called. Both checked the T♣7♥7♠ flop. The turn brought the J♦ and a bet off 370,000 from Barbero. Cabrera called.
The river brought the Q♦. This time Barbero bet 500,000, after a long think Cabrera was one to fold this time.
6:17pm: Returning to action
While the players take their seats to resume three-handed play, here's a look at the rail watching the final table. About 98% of the people in this crowd are cheering for hometown hero Erick Cabrera. Their man currently sits in second place.
5:53pm: Break time, updated counts
We've reached the end of Level 27, and a 20-minute break for our final three. Here are the counts at the moment:
Jose "Nacho" Barbero -- 3,600,000
Erick Cabrera -- 2,480,000
Ben Barrows -- 1,350,000
5:49pm: Cádiz doesn't recover, succumbs in in 4th ($65,100)
After that last huge hand with Erick Cabrera, Ismael Cádiz looked defeated. A couple minutes l later, he was defeated With the button, Cádiz shoved in his last 490,000 with K♥J♠. Nacho Barbero looked him up with A♠2♥. The board didn't pair Cádiz and he was gone in fourth place for $65,100.
5:32pm: Peru! Peru! Peru!
It's getting more crowded -- and louder -- here in the poker room. Standing room only, in fact. And the players are putting on quite a show for those in attendance.
Just now we had a wild hand in which Erick Cabrera of Peru opened for 160,000 from under the gun, Ismael Cádiz called from the button, and Jose Barbero called as well from the big blind. The flop came all hearts -- 9♥6♥A♥ -- and Barbero got things started with a bet of 250,000. Cabrera declared he was all in, and Cádiz called. Barbero got out. The crowd held their collective breath as cards went on their backs.
Cabrera had top pair and the flush draw, while the Chilean was ahead with top two. The turn was the J♦, but the river brought the 7♥ and another huge roar from the crowd. The noise eventually settled into chants of "Peru! Peru!" as Cabrera gathered the huge pot.
5:24pm: From the jaws of death...
Nacho Barbero came in for a raise to 120,000 and Eric Cabrera moved all in for 740,000. After a long think, Barbero announced, "Call." Holding jack-ten, it couldn't have been much worse for Barbero. Cabrera held a pair of jacks. The Peruvian crowd went wild for its hometown hero. Barbero was going to need a special kind of flop to get out of jail. He got it in the form of a 4♠8♦9♥. Suddenly, things looked a little rough for Cabrera. Barbero has been known to come from behind. The T♠ on the turn, however, ruined a lot of the out Barbero had to win.
The crowd started chanting "Pato! Pato! Pato!" The wanted a duck, a deuce, something small to make sure their man got the pot.
With that, the dealer split the pot in half and the excitement died down to the usual low roar.
5:18pm: Cabrera slipping
It has been a tough stretch for Cabrera. He's lost a couple more pots and has now slipped under a million. Meanwhile, Ben Barrows has assumed the chip lead with four to go.
5:11pm: Barbero takes one
Cabrera raised to 140,000 from under the gun, and Jose Barbero called from the big blind. The flop came J♠Q♣5♠, and both checked. The turn brought the Q♥ and a bet of 140,000 from Nacho. Cabrera thought a bit, and decided he didn't want to fold this time, pushing the chips forward to make the call.
The river was the 6♠, and both checked again. Barbero showed J♥T♣ for jacks, and Cabrera 9♣9♥. Barbero takes the pot.
5:02pm: Can I get a pot of honey over here?
Americans Martin Mathis (42nd place finisher in this event) and Chris Conrad (who finished 11th) just arrived to support their fellow countryman, Ben Barrows, at the final table. They have come straight from a costume shop, they tell us.
Of course, we might have guessed that's where they've been. Mathis is dressed as Winnie the Pooh, and Conrad is here as Tigger.
And they say Mickey Mouse is on the way.
4:48pm: Level 27 begins
Blinds are now 30,000-60,000 with a 5,000 ante.
4:43pm: Another fold for Cabrera
Erick Cabrera is probably getting tired of this. Just now Ben Barrows opened with a raise from the button, Cabrera reraised from the big blind, then Barrows declared he was all in for 1,825,000 total.
Cabrera remained silent, although the look on the Peruvian's face clearly communicated his discomfort. Having just made that fold of ace-king before, he didn't appear desirous to be pushed out of another hand. But he eventually found the fold, and slips back to 2.5 million. Barrows edges closer to the leader, now sitting with 2.3 million.
4:35pm: Updated chip counts, four remain
Erick Cabrera -- 2,760,000
Ben Barrows -- 1,920,000
Ismael Cádiz -- 1,750,000
Jose "Nacho" Barbero -- 1,260,000
4:28pm: Cádiz flops set, survives
Here's that big hand you ordered.
Jose Barbero opened with a raise to 110,000 from the button, then Erick Cabrera reraised to 300,000 from the small blind. Ismael Cádiz -- who had slipped back to 560,000 -- then declared he was all in. Barbero contemplated for a moment, then announced he, too, was all in.
As the announcer noted Barbero's action, the crowd stood in unison, yelling to see what Cabrera would do. Meanwhile, the Peruvian sat up straight in his chair and grimaced. After a minute, he folded his hand face up -- ace-king!
Cádiz turned over 5♦5♠, and Barbero J♣J♠. Then came the flop -- 2♣5♣6♦. The crowd again let out a huge cry at the sight of Cádiz having flopped a set. The 3♣ then brought the familiar turn-card-oohs. Another non-pairing club, and Nacho would flush Cádiz out of the tournament!
But the river was the 7♦, and Cádiz survives. We're having a short break here -- back in a few with updated chip counts on all four of our players.
4:20pm: Video time!
While you wait for a big hand to come...here's how the final table kicked off.
4:03pm: Careful Cádiz
Ismael Cádiz began the day in fourth place of the final eight, and with four to go still finds himself in fourth. The Chilean has been staying out of pots for most of the afternoon, further cultivating the relatively tight image we saw during much of yesterday's play as well.
Just now we had a hand in which it was folded to chip leader Erick Cabrera who completed from the small blind, and Cádiz checked the BB. The flop came K♦7♠2♥. Cabrera bet 70,000, and when Cádiz minimum-raised to 140,000, Cabrera wanted no part of it.
Cádiz currently sits with about 950,000, while Cabrera has 2.85 million. Meanwhile, Ben Barrows is just above 2 million, and Barbero at about 1.8 million.
3:48pm: Cabrera chastens Barbero
It was as if Cabrera was just looking for a way to say, "You're not going to win every one, Nacho."
Nacho Barbero came in for a raise to 110,000 and Cabrera called. On a flop of A♠J♣7♦, Barbero led for 100,000. Cabrero, as he's done a couple of times to Barbero today post-clop, entered with a raise to 250,000. In the past, this might have been a post where Barbero re-raised. Instead, this time, he called. The 3♥ came on the turn and Barbero checked. Cabrera wasn't going to back down. He bet 400,000. Barbero tanked, but emerged eventually with a fold. As usual, the local Peruvians went wild for their man Cabrero.
3:43pm: Martins out in 5th ($46,500)
Ben Barrows raised to 120,000, and the table's short stack, Brazilian Silvio Martins, pushed all in for 400,000 more. The table folded back around to Barrows, who considered a moment before making the call. Barrows showed A♥6♥, while Martins tabled K♣T♣.
The flop came 7♥3♠A♦, and Martins was in tough shape. The turn then brought the 9♦, meaning Martins was drawing dead. He's out in fifth, earning $46,500. That hand puts Barrows up around 2.3 million, not too far behind chip leader Erick Cabrera at present.
3:31pm: Break over, cards in the air
We're back in action at a new level. Players are now competing at 25,000-50,000-4,000 blinds.
2:59pm: Break time
The remaining five players are on a break while chips are colored up.
2:56pm: More chips for Cabrera
In the last hand of Level 25, Erick Cabrera opened for 100,000 from under the gun, and it folded around to Jose Barbero who called from the big blind. Both checked the 4♥4♦A♦ flop. The turn brought the J♣. Barbero checked, Cabrera bet 100,000, and Barbero called.
The river brought the 2♥ and a couple of checks. Barbero showed K♠J♥, while Cabrera turned over A♥T♠ for aces and fours. Another loud cheer from the pro-Cabrera crowd. The Peruvian has the chip lead at present as the players go to break.
2:52pm: King-queen fails Rene Aguilar; out in 6th ($37,300)
Rene Aguilar came in for a standard raise and was immediately re-raised to 350,000 by hometown favorite Erick Cabrera. Aguilar thought for a few moments before moving all-in for 601,000 total. Cabrera made the call and flopped over Q♣Q♥. The local crowd went nuts, and even more so when they saw K♥Q♦ in front of Aguilar.
The board ran out J♣5♥2♠3♦A♣ to chants of "Peru! Peru! Peru!
Aguilar won $37,300 for his sixth place finish.
2:21pm: Barrows cuts down Herrera in 7th ($28,000), assumes chip lead
Ben Barrows opened with a raise to 90,000 from middle position, and all folded to Carlos Herrera in the small blind who reraised to 210,000. Erick Cabrera folded from the BB, and Barrows thought a while before declaring he was all in. Herrera quickly called.
The dealer burned a card and dealt the flop -- Q♣5♠Q♥. A roar erupted at the sight of the two queens. The turn brought the 6♥, and the Colombian leaned forward onto the table's edge, hoping to see one of those last two kings.
The river brought the 6♥, and Herrera immediately turned and walked out of the poker room, camera crew chasing him to retrieve his microphone. Herrera is out in seventh, earning $28,000. Barrows is our new chip leader with approximately 2.2 million.
2:10pm: Valerio Valera eliminated in 8th place ($18,600)
Carlos Herrera opened to 95,000 from under the gun. Play folded around to Valerio Valera on the button who put it all in for 79,000 more. Nacho Barbero called in the smal blind and Herrera made the call as well. On a flop of 8♠T♠7♣, Barbero checked, Herrera bet 150,000, and Barbero folded. Valera turned over 4♠4♦, well behind Herrera's K♠T♠. When the Q♠ came in the turn, Valera was reduced to one out. He didn't get it. The 8♥ came on the turn and Valera went out in 8th for $18,600.
1:54pm: Level 25 begins
Blinds now 20000-40000, ante 4000.
1:47pm: Nacho chips
Nacho Barbero came in for a raise from the button to 70,000. This is something you'd expect him to do, and the type of thing that would lead someone like, say, big blind Erick Cabrera to try to re-steal. And so came the raise to 200,000. Barbero, however, wasn't ready to back down and re-raised to 450,000. It was a heckuva a bet, and Cabrera was left with only two viable moves. Shove it or fold. The smile that came up on his face made it clear, those were Nacho's chips. Cabrera mucked and moved on.
1:40pm: A few more for Aguilar
The table folded around to Rene Aguilar who completed from the small blind, and Jose Barbero checked from the BB. The flop came A♦3♦Q♣, and both players checked. The turn brought the 4♥ and a bet of 80,000 from Aguilar. Barbero made the call.
The river card was dealt -- the J♦. This time Aguilar bet 97,000, and Barbero took his time deciding what to do. Finally, Nacho let it go, and Aguilar took the pot. Barbero still leads with about 1.68 million, while Aguilar chips up to 900,000.
1:21pm: First blood goes to Aguilar
On the first hand of play, Ben Barrows opened from middle position and play folded around to Rene Aguiar on the button. Aguiar had only invested his 3,000 chip ante at that point, but moved all in for his remaining 688,000. Barrows tanked for a minute or two, but ultimately folded.
1:10pm: Shuffle up and deal
With the room full of screaming fans and media, the final tables players have taken their seats, have been introduced to the crowd, and are now getting their first cards of the final table.
12:52pm: Okay guys, nothing below the belt
It looks as though all eight of our final table players are here. Like a referee before a prizefight, Tournament Director Mike Ward is going over rules and such with the combatants.
Player introductions will be following soon, and then... poker!
12:18pm: Final table player profiles
Still a good ways away from action here in the Atlantic City Casino. Seats are already starting to fill, however, as the crowd gathers to follow the final table. Looks like it is shaping up to another exciting day in the poker room, as many are interested in seeing whether Jose "Nacho" Barbero will take down his second straight LAPT title, Erick Cabrera will claim LAPT Lima for his native Peru, or one of our other six players emerge as our winner.
While we wait for things to get started, click here to read profiles of our eight remaining players.
11:49am: Final table awaits
We started with 384. Today just eight players remain. Team PokerStars Argentina pro Jose "Nacho" Barbero returns today as our chip leader, with local favorite Erick Cabrera of Peru close behind in second. We have a scheduled start time of noon for today's final table of LAPT Lima, although it is likely we'll be getting underway sometime after that.
Seven different countries are represented here at today's final table. Here are the seating assignments and starting stacks for our final eight players:
Seat 1: Erick Cabrera (Peru) - 1,426,000
Seat 2: Ismael Cádiz (Chile) - 1,125,000
Seat 3: Ben Barrows (United States) - 1,154,000
Seat 4: Silvio Martins (Brazil) - 594,000
Seat 5: Valerio Valera (Venezuela) - 236,000
Seat 6: Rene Aguilar (Chile) - 691,000
Seat 7: Jose "Nacho" Barbero (Argentina) - 1,817,000
Seat 8: Carlos Herrera (Colombia) - 434,000
Stay tuned for live updates!
LAPT Lima reporting comes courtesy of bloggers Brad Willis and Martin Harris and photographer Carlos Monti.