Okay, I took a bit of artistic liberty -- the Octagon was actually the swanky Atlantic City Casino -- but the fighting to the death metaphor still fits. With $207,400 on the line, the fierce action intensified as players were inching closer to their goal of winning the 2011 LAPT Lima championship. But, only one player was standing in their way -- Daniel Ospina.
In case you just joined us...
And to bring you up to speed... Daniel Ospina ended Day 3 as the chip leader.
I'm not going to lie. I'm combined my inherent laziness with a gut feeling, and I pre-wrote the title to this post: Ospina leads field for third day in a row; final table set.
If you watched Ospina's methodical play over the last three days, then you'd understand why it seemed like a no-brainer. Ospina ended Day 1 with 264k, or at least 100k more than his closest rival. At the end of Day 2, Ospina distanced himself from the pack when he surged over 1.1 million and advanced to Day 3 with over 500k more than Pablo Gonzales in second place.
On Day 3, even though he still maintained his spot up front, Ospina was unable to maintain his dominance over the field.
We lost a full table in the first ninety minutes of play. Online qualifier Brad Stebeleski from Canada was on life support at the end of Day 1 when he was down to a single 1,000 chip. He stuck to the "chip and a chair" philosophy and never gave up. Flash forward to Day 3 -- although Stebeleski was knocked out in 23rd place, he hung on enough to cash in the event and parlayed his satellite entry into a $5,420 score.
At last year's LAPT Lima, Carlos Perez made the final table. His twin brother Luis went deep in this year's event. However, Luis failed to match his brother's final table feat when he busted out in 15th place.
Ospina reached over 2 million in chips when he eliminated two players on the same hand. Short-stacked Juan Marsano moved all-in and Derek Lerner shoved right behind. Ospina made the call and picked them both off when his A♣Q♣ held up against A-J and J-10. Marsano was eliminated in 13th and Lerner went home in 12th. With 11 to go and sitting on over 2.26 million in chips, it appeared that no one could stop Ospina's march to the final table.
The final nine players consolidated to a single table and Ospina was out in front with almost 2.5 million. At that point, no other player had 1 million.
Enter Samar Hodali, the last female standing. She looks menacing wearing all black attire and oversized sunglasses. She had a bit of mystique about her, and we credit that to the unlit cigarette she compulsively held the entire tournament.
She found herself all-in for her tournament life against Osipda. Her hopes hinged upon A♠Q♣, but it didn't look good when Ospina tabled a pair of kings. Although she turned a gutshot, the A♦ spiked on the river and the room nearly exploded -- half in excitement and half in astonishment. Ospina slipped to 1.65, while Hodali shot up over 1 million.
Hodali picked a heck of a time to harness her run good, because she knocked out Mayu Roca in 9th place. Short-stacked Mayu made a stand with A-7, but Hodali's Big Slick prevailed. The final table was set. Daniel Ospina ended Day 3 as the leader, but Hodali is nipping at his heels, separated by 11,000 in chips.
The final table seating assignments and chip counts are as follows:
Seat 1: Team PokerStars Online Karlo Lopez - 406,000
Seat 2: Kemal Ferri - 490,000
Seat 3: Leonardo Zepeda - 916,000
Seat 4: Samar Hodali - 1,573,000
Seat 5: Raul Pino - 466,000
Seat 6: Pablo Gonzales - 661,000
Seat 7: Michel Barham - 753,000
Seat 8: Daniel Ospina - 1,582,000
Here's an index of Day 3's coverage (provided by Martin Harris and Paul 'Dr. Pauly' McGuire with photographs from Carlos Monti)...
We shall be back tomorrow starting at noon local time to bring you the final table coverage of the LAPT Lima for the PokerStars blog. Can Ospina go wire-to-wire? Or will Samar Hodali become the first woman to win an LAPT championship. To follow the reports of our colleagues in Spanish, visit PokerStarsblog.la.