Nuijten triumphs at LAPT Rio

Julien Nuijten

For the first time, there's major league poker being played in Rio instead of at the Rio.

After kick-starting a tour in a new market with the Asia Pacific Poker Tour last year, Alex Brenes. In addition to being the younger brother of Team PokerStars member Humberto Brenes, Alex is remembered for his win at the 2005 WPT Invitational, as well as for 22 career WSOP cashes. Brenes entered the final table third in chips, but his tournament would end in fourth place.

The two men who entered the final day of play ahead of the pack - Holland's Julien Nuijten, a former world champion of Magic: The Gathering, and American freeroller Vitaly Kovyazin - eventually did the rest of the table in and found themselves in a heads-up match.

Nuijten held a small chip advantage, with 1,761,000 to Kovyazin's 1,417,000, but the two had been so aggressive throughout the tournament that literally anything could have happened.

The heads-up match lasted just over an hour, with Kovyazin and Nuijten both maintaining an active stance and looking for opportunities. On several occasions Nuijten had his opponent against the ropes, only to have him get away thanks to a fortuitous card.

In the end, however, it was the former Magic champ who prevailed. On a board reading Q-7-7, Nuijten flopped trips with 8-7 to finish off Kovyazin's Q-5 and top pair.

Like David Williams, Eric Froehlich and fellow Dutchman Noah Boeken before him, the 19-year-old Nuijten can now say he has successfully moved from the ranks of professional Magic: The Gathering players into the world of professional poker.

The final standings for the Rio event were:

Place
Name
Country
Prize
1st
Julien Nuijten
Holland
$223,000
2nd
vitaly Kovyazin
United States
$117,750
3rd
Nikolai SennigerGermany
$86,350
4th
Alex Brenes
Costa Rica
$62,800
5th
Oliver Kugler
Germany
$47,100
6th
Eduardo Henriques
Brazil
$31,400
7th
Rafael Pardo
Colombia
$23,500
8th
Juan Carlos Burguillos
Venezuela
$15,700
9th
Severin Walser
Switzerland
$11,775

The LAPT is due to hold its second event May 22 in San Jose, Costa Rica. Satellites are currently running on PokerStars.

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