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Jose Barbero Bags Chip Lead After Day 1A of the Latin Series of Poker Millions

Team BetCRIS Pro Engelberth Varela and Winning Poker Network CEO Phil Nagy Also Made Day 2

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Jose BarberoCheers erupted across the Majestic Casino poker room as 27 players secured themselves a piece of the $1,000,000 prize pool in the Latin Series of Poker Millions Main Event in Panama City, Panama.

A truly revolutionary international poker concept, the LSOP is unique in that instead of requiring a full field of players to come to Panama City in hopes of winning big, multiple Day 1s were held throughout Latin America in the weeks leading up to the final days of play. This means players did not have to put up the money for travel, lodging and food before being guaranteed a piece of the $1,000,000 prize pool. From cities across Panama, Costa Rica, Aruba, Colombia, Chile, Peru and the Dominican Republic a total of 48 players have secured their seats and chip stacks for Day 2, meaning they are already in the money before they make the trip.

The first of the final three Day 1s in the inaugural tournament wrapped up just before midnight Friday March 8 when only 10 percent of the starting field remained.

“We were looking for way to make it easier on poker players, instead of having to travel and spend money on a hotel and everything, where they could play in their own backyard. Because we have the relationships with the different betting shops we could put it together with the casinos,” Phil Nagy, CEO of Winning Poker Network which includes LSOP Millions sponsors BetCRIS, Black Chip Poker, Ya Poker and America’s Card Room, said. “It also helps us to get to know the players on an individual basis because we have our people go to each event and introduce them to Winning Poker Network.”

Engelberth VarelaIt was team PokerStars pro Jose ‘Nacho’ Barbero who managed to bag the largest Day 1A stack (336,000), followed by Rafael Pardo (333,500) and Nagy (200,000). With 336,000 Barbero also holds the overall chiplead, surpassing Andreas Praias (277,300), who led the initial 48 players who advanced from earlier Day 1 tournaments.

Barbero, a European Poker Tour and Latin America Poker Tour champion, has nearly $2.3 million in live and online career winnings including an $800,000 payday for taking down the 2010 EPT London High Roller. In total, Barbero has seven career tiles with two 2010 LAPT main event championships among them – the Punta del Esta main event for $279,330 and the Lima main event for $250,000. The Argentinian native has three World Series of Poker final tables and two World Poker Tour cashes and now has a chance to add an entirely new tournament win to his extensive resume.

“I love the fact that Nacho Barbero is here because he is a really nice guy and he puts some smiles on the table.,” said Team BetCRIS pro Engelberth Varela. “It’s just better for the game and the whole environment.”

For his own part, Varela set himself up early on to coast into Day 2 when he took the chiplead during Level 11 around 7:30 pm. The Venezuelan pro furthered his lead upon returning from the dinner break, massing a stack of about 100,000, nearly double the average at that point in the tournament. Varela lost some chips as play neared an end but still bagged 90,500.

Varela has nearly $100,000 in live cashes coming from finishes in the PokerStars LAPT in 2011 and 2012. He picked up his largest career cash for $88,970 when he finished third in the 2011 LAPT Uruguay Main Event. Varela’s two other cashes were good for more than $5,000 each in the 2011 LAPT Lima Main Event and the 2012 LAPT Grand Final in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

He will be joined by fellow BetCRIS pros Felipe Montenegro and Bolivar Palacios when Day 2 begins on Tuesday. Montenegro, of Costa Rica, and Palacios, of Panama, qualified during earlier Day 1 tournaments and Varela is looking forward to their arrival.

Day 1A Final 27 Players“I love to playing with those guys, it just makes the game more entertaining,” he said.

Nagy was also happy to make move forward in the tournament.

“I’m pretty pumped,” he said of his advancement. “I’m almost disappointed I made it the first time. Now I have to act like I work for a living instead of just being here playing poker. Who wants to do that while in Panama?”

Cards will be in the air at 2 pm EST Sunday, March 9 for Day 1B. Follow the live updates provided by Card Player Latin America at www.cardplayerla.com. For more information about the LSOP Millions, click here.

Day 1A Chip Counts

Jose Barbero 336000 Argentina
Rafael Pardo 333500 Colombia
Phillip Nagy 200000 Costa Rica
Ryan Smith 189000 Canada
Jonathan Brown 164500 USA
Khaled Nassief 154500 Mexico
Roman Valerstein 154500 USA
Zennawi Petros 141000 Canada
Ferdinando Giuseppe Decorato 140000 Panama
Pablo Toimil 131000 Argentina
Ben Warrington 120000 Ireland
Nickolas Davies 108500 USA
Donys Agenelli 102000 Venezuela
toma Haralampiev 101500 Bulgaria
Oscar Ortiz 100500 Puerto Rico
John Restrepo 95500 Colombia
Guillermo Rosario 95000 USA
Engelberth Varela 90500 Venezuela
Luis Janampa 86000 Peru
Claudio Piedrabuena 82000 Argentina
Ezio Fenocchio 54000 Italy
Raul Huayana 54000 Peru
Roger Nordgren 42000 USA
Manrique Quesada 41000 CR
Fernando Sarmiento 37500 Panama
Javier Ramirez 31500 Honduras
Dustin Benda 23500 USA