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You have to love a guy who wears a t-shirt inspired by the movie The Big Lebowski. Robbie Renehan, a 29-year-old who qualified for the 2012 PokerStars.net Latin American Poker Tour Colombian National Poker Championship by winning a qualifier on PokerStars, is the guy who's been parading John Goodman's face around the Allegre Casino all week, telling people to "MARK IT ZERO, DUDE."
You have to love a guy who recognized that his position yesterday wasn't the best and that he'd need "a little luck of the Irish", as he put it to me, to pull things out. Which, by the way, is exactly what he did. He's the latest LAPT champion and the first from the Emerald Isle.
Day 4 started with four players who had fewer than 17 big blinds. Any one of them could have easily been the first person out. After two short-stack double-ups, Felipe Perez drew the short straw and was the first person booted off of the final table.
Weider Vanegas, dressed for all the world as a superhero, did the honors to Perez. He followed that up with back-to-back eliminations of Ruben Ospina - a man who led the tournament after Day 1 and Day 2 and who finished Day 3 2nd in chips - and Hernan Villa. Their exits left Colombia, a nation that started with five players at the final table, outnumbered by the combination of Brazil, Spain and Ireland.
It wasn't all bad news though. Vanegas is also Colombian and raced out to 3.7 million in chips, good for a commanding lead.
That was when Renehan - a middling stack for most of early play today -- joined the party. He continued the parade of Colombian eliminations by taking out Cristian Velasquez, a player who got his stack in three times in short succession and wound up with fewer chips every time.
Down to four players, the Day 4 chip leader, Raul Paez, was hanging around, waiting for his spot. He thought he found it when he moved all in against Vanegas with top pair and a gutshot on the turn, but Vanegas had the same top pair, with a better kicker and a better gutshot draw. Paez had only three outs once, but he hit one of those outs to send Vanegas into a tailspin. Instead of 5.1 million in chips with three players left, Vanegas was cut down to about 2.0 million in chips with four players left. He never recovered, exiting in 4th place and giving Colombia the dubious distinction of going 5 for 5 in the first five eliminations of the day. For the second year in a row, the winner of this event would not be a Colombian.
Raul Paez was the smart money at the start of the day. He had the most chips and the most experience. But he didn't have the most luck, even despite that lucky river against Vanegas. He eventually faltered, bowing out in 3rd place.
That left Fregona and Renehan. At one point it looked like the eternally short-stacked Fregona might pull it out, but it wasn't to be.
For the win, Renehan will bring 264,700,000 pesos back to Dublin. It's not as impressive when converted to Euros (120,519) or U.S. Dollars (147,877) but Renehan's not likely to complain. Whenever you can get a trip to an exotic destination like Medellin and an ROI in the tens of thousands, it's a pretty good week.
This concludes our coverage of the 2012 PokerStars.net Latin American Poker Tour Colombian National Poker Championship. Be sure to join us in late September for the LAPT's first-ever event in Panama!