A total of 93 survivors returned to the beach at La Barra to play out another day of No-Limit poker, with all eyes on the money bubble at 32 places and a space at the eight-handed final table in every player's sights.
Among those returning for another kick at the can were Team Alex Brenes, Mark "PokerHo" Kroon and a man who signed his chip bag as "???" and who would not survive the day.
Leading the pack, however, was Argentinean Jorge Gonzalez, who entered the day with $129,975 and led U.S. American Carter Gill by a little more than $4k on the leaderboard.
Rounding out the chip count top five were Brazilians Firas Bassam Massouh and Diego Vilela as well as the aforementioned SharkBro. With the exception of Brenes, none of the top five would have a particularly encouraging time at the tables on Day 2 of the affair.
Gonzalez, in fact, would barely last a level on Day 2 after losing bocoo chips early on when he doubled up Mark Kroon with top pair against the American's aces. Gonzalez's coup de grace came at the hands of Edward Sabat, who flopped top two with A-J and saw the Argentinean Assassin shove into him with A-Q for top pair.
Meanwhile, PokerStars pros Greg Raymer and Alexandre Gomes found themselves sharing table space at the televised feature table (the LAPT-Punta del Este event is the first to be televised, with Fox employees manning the cameras).
Raymer would falter midway through the day as the money bubble approached, busting in 37th place after getting caught with his mitts in the cookie jar, bluffing all-in with J-T on a 9-7-5 flop and getting a call from a nonbeliever with A-J. With no help on turn or river, Fossilman found himself fossilized.
The money bubble approached with blistering speed and after only a few rounds of hand-for-hand play the field was reduced to the final 32. Jamal Kunbuz was the unlucky eliminatee, busting in 33rd place for $0 after shipping his hurting stack all-in with tens on an eight-high flop, only to see Alex Brenes make the call with a pocket pair of eights for the set.
With that, the bubble burst and everyone still in contention was guaranteed at least $5,960 for his or her time. Among the first to hit the road was fan favorite Humberto Brenes, who'd taken Raymer's seat beside Gomes on the feature table and was victimized by his Brazilian counterpart in a blind-versus-blind situation while holding A-6 to Gomes' A-J. The board ran K-7-2-7-5 and Brenes was bustified.
The eliminations continued at a steady pace and by dinner only 23 players remained. That number would decrease almost exponentially when the field returned from the player's buffet, with players seemingly taking the Vin Diesel/Paul Walker route to destruction rather than stick around the Mantra any longer.
Midway through the evening the field witnessed the emergence of a new leader, as Canadian online qualifier Gylbert Drolet began stacking chips with a vengeance. Drolet's biggest pot came against Leandro Pimentel when he cracked the Brazilian's aces with a flopped set of threes in a pot that looked to total over $200,000.
Eliminations 18-10 literally occurred at light speed and only the scientifical geniuses at PokerListings.com could decipher the order of bustification. PokerStars-sponsored pro Veronica Dabul hit the bricks in 16th place when her tens failed to improve against Paulo Ribeiro's pocket queens, and a few minutes later Rosamelia Ferreira went broke in 14th place with Q-J against Drolet's A-K.
That left only Vanessa Rousso as the sole surviving woman in contention, and the PokerNess would have to deal with the Feature Table curse and Alexandre Gomes if she wished to capture her first major TV-table title. It didn't happen.
PokerNess fought valiantly after beginning play with only $14k in chips and survived something of a roller-coaster day before ultimately giving up the ghost in five-handed play with 10 souls remaining, running her pocket nines into pocket aces and expiring in the 10 spot for an $11,065 haul.
That left only nine players remaining, and after an hour or so of unusual two-table hand-for-hand play (five- and four-handed), short stack Carlos Alberto Curi finally succumbed, another victim of Alexandre Gomes, whose Q-6 outdrew Curi's A-Q with a turned six to end the proceedings.
Thus we have our final eight players in Punta del Este. The Ocho, including Gomes, Alex Brenes and Drolet, will return on Saturday at noon local time (11 a.m. EDT) and play down to a champion with a $241,735 first prize at stake.