That means we’re technically one more elimination away from the official eight-handed final table, although all nine of the remaining players will be gathering around a single table when we begin a little while from now.
In ninth is Angel Guillen of Mexico, looking to make his second LAPT final table, the first in fact coming here in Uruguay back in 2009, right at the start of his career. In fact, I think that final table (where he finished third) came before he’d actually become a full-time pro.
Guillen was involved in what was easily the most remarkable hand yesterday by far, really the wildest of the first three days.
I mean, we’ve seen bigger hands. And no, I’m not talking about the Monumento al Ahogado. There was the one last night in which Francisco Baruffi used pocket queens to crack Juan Garcia’s pocket aces. They were 1-2 in chips at the time, got it all in before the flop, and a queen arrived on the turn. That was something close to a 1.6 million-chip pot, good enough to catapult Baruffi into the chip lead to start today.
The Guillen hand, though, was much more jawdropping.
The hand started with a min-raise from Guillen in early position, a flat-call by the Russian Vladimir Dobrovolskiy in the cutoff, and Leandro Rubinsztain of Argentina accepting the invitation to call from the big blind, too, and see a relatively cheap flop which came . The trio were all interested enough in continuing at that point to get all of Guillen and Rubinsztain's stacks in the middle, and most of Dobrovoskiy.
Guillen had . Dobrovolskiy had . And Rubinsztain ! Looked like the Argentinian was primed to crack both kings and aces in a single hand.
But the turn brought the , giving Guillen a set and hopes to fill up or make quads. Dobrovolskiy also was still alive, too, with a gutshot to Broadway.
Then came the river -- the ! Guillen had made the runner-runner full house to triple up (putting him in second at the time), Rubinsztain was out in 23rd, and Dobrovolskiy was knocked back down to about five big blinds or so. The Russian climbed back, though, and in fact has more chips than Guillen to start today's final day.
That hand happened to have been the very last one before our dinner at the buffet located across the lobby from the poker room. There we filled plates with lighter fare, then were surprisingly served a second plate of parilla, an dish of assorted cuts of beef, different kinds of sausage, and chicken. After dinner, I ended up writing a post about the big hand that also referred to our big meal titled "A lot to digest."
Would be neat if Guillen can improve his status in the early going today and perhaps stick around a while as we play down to a champion, although by now we're somewhat invested in all of the remaining players, with any of them emerging as the winner at the end likely to make for a nice story.
I know you're probably more distracted by the World Series of Poker kicking off today or WSOP fantasy drafts or the conclusion of the World Poker Tour $25K event, but if you're curious to see how things turn out down in Punta -- and how my blogging partner F-Train and I tell about it -- trip over to the PokerStars blog.