And so we were forced to remain in the desolate wilderness that is Vancouver in May with nothing but Alex Brenes, brother to the ever-understated Humberto. Brenes was in dire need of chips, working with next to nothing, and quickly found himself all-in with Q-3 to Q-9. Q-9 took the pot and Brenes took $62,800 for fourth.
Making way for heads-up play with his third-place elimination was Nikolai Senniger. Ending up all-in with pocket jacks to the cowboys of Julien Nuijten, he was unable to turn things around, but was rewarded with $86,350 for his effort.
As endgame began the stacks were near even, with Nuijten holding a negligible lead over Kozyazin. Through aggressive play and intelligent decisions Nuijten took control of the match and soon had the makings of a dominant chip lead. Enduring a few bumps along the road coming in the way of miracle cards for Kozyazin, Nuijten finally got his opponent all-in and was able to make it stick.
Nuijten opened pre-flop and got a call, allowing both players to see the flop of Q♠ 7♦ 7♠. A flurry of betting and raising ensued before the turn brought the 2♠.The rest of the money went in and Nuijten tabled 7♠ 8♠ for the flopped trips and the turned flush. His opponent was drawing to the over-full with Q♥ 5♠. The river was not a queen though and that, as they say, was that.
$222,000 and change plus the first-ever LAPT title now represent the first major notches in Julien Nuijten's belt. Vitaly Kovyazin had to settle for $117,750 and a brush with victory.
PokerListings.com wishes it could have been in Rio alongside the winner and the always-affable PokerStars crew but it just wasn't in the cards this time around. Special thanks go to PokerStars for keeping us in the loop as well as to Joe Giron for snapping the scintillating photos you see adorning this page. As always, we implore you to hop on PokerStars and earn your way to a victory just like our young Dutch friend. If you play your cards right you can even do it for free.