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Fabian Ortiz is First Latin American LAPT Champion, by Dan Cypra - 23rd January 2009
(Credit: Poker News Daily)

There was $141,426 on the line in the PokerStars Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) Viña del Mar event, held in Chile. Players from 27 countries around the world descended on the South American casino and, in the end, Fabian Ortiz became the first Latin American champion in LAPT history. He hails from Chaco, which PokerStars describes as a "rural province" in Argentina.

The Main Event at Vina del Mar had a buy-in of $2,700 along with a second chance tournament that sported a $1,100 price tag. It was the LAPT's first tournament since the event in Mexico ended abruptly with federal agents descending on the tournament area late last year. The Viña del Mar event saw 50 Chileans enter and the entire final table consisted of players from across Latin and South America.

LAPT President Glenn Cademartori commented in a press release distributed by PokerStars on Friday, "Fabian Ortiz's win demonstrates the growth of poker as a Latin American sport. This is our first event where the majority of the field was made up of Latin American players. We expect many more local champions as this sport continues to grow in popularity in the region."

Team PokerStars Pro members Humberto Brenes, who hails from Costa Rica, and Andre Akkari, who resides in Brazil, made their way to Viña del Mar. However, neither sponsored pro made the final table, which in the end shook out as follows:

1st Place: Fabian Ortiz (Argentina), $141,426
2nd Place: Vincenzo Gianelli (Venezuela), $78,570
3rd Place: Damian Salas (Argentina), $52,380
4th Place: Leandro Balotin (Brazil), $39,285
5th Place: Hernan Villa (Colombia), $28,809
6th Place: Fabio Escobar (Brazil), $23,571
7th Place: Jyries Saba (Chile), $18,330
8th Place: Eduardo Camia (Argentina), $13,095
9th Place: Jaime Ateneloff (Uruguay), $10,476

Next up for the LAPT is a stop in Punta del Este, Uruguay at the Mantra Resort Spa and Casino. The $3,700 Main Event kicks off on March 18th and a winner will be crowned two days later. A second chance tournament has a $1,100 buy-in. The feature tournament is capped at 500 players and the second chance can accomodate a maximum of 300. Mar de Plata in Argentina will host the season-end event in April. No official dates for the tournament have been announced.

PokerStars is fresh off holding the largest live poker tournament ever held outside of the United States. The most recent PokerStars Caribbean Adventure drew 1,347 players and awarded a first place prize of $3 million, which went to Poorya Nazari. The Canadian defeated American Tony Gregg heads-up.


Latin is an ancient Indo-European language that was spoken in the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire and had de facto status as the international language of mid and western Europe until the 17th century. It is the base language for the languages spoken in France, Italy and the Iberian peninsula and through them to South America. The conquests of Rome spread the language throughout the Mediterranean and a large part of Europe. It existed in two forms: Classical Latin, used in poetry and formal prose, and Vulgar Latin, spoken by the people. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the rise of the Roman Catholic Church Latin became the ecclesiastical language of the Roman Catholic Church and the lingua franca of educated classes in the West.

After having lasted 2,200 years, Latin began a slow decline around the 1600s. But Vulgar Latin was preserved: it split into several regional dialects, which by the 800s had become the ancestors of today's Romance languages. English, though originating as a Germanic language, derives 60% of its words from Latin, largely by way of French, but partly through direct borrowings made especially during the 1600s in England.

Latin lives on in the form of Ecclesiastical Latin spoken in the Roman Catholic Church. Latin vocabulary is also still used in science, academia, and law. Classical Latin, the literary language of the late Republic and early Empire, is still taught in many primary, grammar, and secondary schools, often combined with Greek in the study of Classics, though its role has diminished since the early 20th century. The Latin alphabet, together with its modern variants such as the English and French alphabets, is the most widely used alphabet in the world. (Credit: Wikipedia).


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