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A tough level for Cristian Velasquez just ended with his elimination in 5th place.
Velasquez, dressed in a white polo today, had positioned himself to contend for the top prizes in the final three spots of the tournament. His moment of truth came in a hand in which Jayr Fregona shoved the small blind for about 500,000 with A♥Q♥. Velasquez squeezed out presto, 5♣5♠, and with only about 1.3 million in his stack, needed to take some time before going for the elimination. He did ultimately call, creating an all-in coin-flip.
The flop didn't change much. 2♥J♥4♣ missed Fregona but gave him a nut flush draw to go along with his two overcards. He caught one of those overcards with the turn A♦, which was enough to take down the pot after a 9♦ river.
Blinds and antes whittled Velasquez down a bit more before he opened a hand as second to act for 125,000. Raul Paez, who had been quiet since taking some early beats, three-bet to 380,000, more than half of his stack. Action passed back to Velasquez. He opted to call, then shove the 7♣J♣T♠ flop into Paez. Paez wasn't folding K♠Q♠. He called all in against Velasquez's pocket 5s (again!) and runnered a flush, 4♠7♠.
That hand left Velasquez with fewer than 400,000 chips. On his button, he shoved K♦3♠. Paez passed in the small blind, but Robbie Renehen quickly called with A♦2♠. Both men stood up to await the flop, with Renehen chanting for an ace. He got his wish, Q♥J♥A♠. Velasquez never caught up.
Velasquez turned to his right to shake Jayr Fregona's hand, but Fregona pointed out that it looked like Velasquez had Renehen covered. It was true; Velasquez's all in was for 320,000 but Renehen had only 300,000.
Velasquez sat back down, pitched one of his last four blue (T5000) chips to the dealer as his ante, then put the other three up blind. He sighed the smallest of sighs, staring off into space as the cards came around. Three hands went against Velasquez, taking him from an above average stack to the almost-impossible position of trying to come back from less than half a big blind. When Fregona moved in as first to act, the jig was up. His A♠K♠ bested Velasquez's random hand, J♦2♥. Velasquez finally hit the rail in 5th place.
That's where it looks like we'll stand - with four players left - going into the next break. Vanegas - dressed in a "The Flash" t-shirt and with an LAPT zip-up tied around his neck like a cape - has been the superhero so far today at the final table.
But it's not over yet.