Jose Miguel Espinar, a 27-year-old Spaniard who had only been playing poker since December, outlasted 350 other players to take home the title at last weekend’s PokerStars.net Latin America Poker Tour (LAPT).
The LAPT event saw Valencia-based Espinar beat Costa Rican poker star Alex Brenes heads-up to take home the $241,735 top prize while the runner-up walked away with $126,625.
Espinar, a former central heating salesman, has had a spectacular start to his poker career after cashing for $24,000 at the PokerStars.net Caribbean Adventure only one month after he began playing and reached the final table on Sunday after busting Team PokerStars.net professional player Vanessa Rousso in tenth place.
“I was lucky at the start but the five hours' heads-up against Alex was hard,' said Espinar.
The critical hand came when the Spaniard went all-in with ace-ten but Brenes called with ace-nine and a nine on the flop looked set to oust the Espinar. However, a ten on the turn put Espinar ahead and Brenes was left with only 40,000 before going out at the next hand.
Sponsor PokerStars.net revealed that nearly a third of the players at the event were from Brazil with more than 60 from the Unites States, largely represented by online qualifiers. Twenty-seven players from Uruguay also took part in the $2,500 no limit Texas hold 'em tournament, which was held at the Manta Resort Hotel in La Barra just outside the centre of Punta Del Este. The event was filmed for television by Area Digital and will be broadcast by Fox Sports next month across the whole of Latin America.
The next season of the LAPT will begin in Costa Rica on November 3 before the visiting Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Mexico.