Latin American Poker Tour

Latin American Poker Tour

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Latin American Poker Tour, by Sean Gibson - 18th April 2009
(Credit: Poker News Daily)

The Latin American Poker Tour, currently being sponsored by PokerStars, had their LAPT Mar del Plata event start this week in Argentina with a $5,200 Main Event. This prestigious poker tournament was capped at 600 entrants, both internet pros and top live tournament circuit players, with two separate starting days. The LAPT Mar del Plata event is held at the Casino Central, one of Argentina’s most luxurious casino and resort destinations.

The structure of the event was similar to most “Main Event” tournaments, with each player starting with $10,000 in tournament chips and blinds starting at a modest $25-$50. Unlike the WSOP Main Event, which starts with $20,000 stacks and sees levels increase every two hours and, the LAPT main events move up their blinds every hour. Although the event was capped at 600 players, approximately 280 made the long trek from around the world to Argentina to play in arguably the LAPT's most prestigious event.

Day 1a took off on Thursday and featured 140 players from every corner of the planet. Notable players included Maria Mayrinck, Chris Moneymaker and illustrious names such as Boris Becker and LAPT Viña del Mar winner Fabián Ortiz. Apparently, players did not arrive at the LAPT to enjoy sitting down for very long as two tables broke down out of the starting 14 set up during the first hour alone. Becker was outlasted on Day 1a by his wife Lilly Kerssenberg, who in turn was busted while sitting at Moneymaker’s table. Also eliminated on Day 1a were Mayrinck, Moneymaker and Ortiz, who hoped to make a big splash in this event but fell short.

Play was suspended for Day 1a when the field was trimmed down to 27 players. The big contrast of the dasy was that 77-year-old Jaime Ateneloff of Uruguay finished the day with the chip lead while 19-year-old Jorge Landazuri De Los Rios sits a close 2nd in chips. Of the 27 remaining players from Day 1a, none are notable tournament circuit pros or members of Team PokerStars Pro. The surviving Day 1a field is a diverse one, with 15 players from the hosting country of Argentina, while Mexico, Spain, Uruguay and the Netherlands still have players alive. The United States has a single player remaining alive out of Day 1a in Ryan Smith, a PokerStars Online qualifier who sits with 51,100 in chips, good enough for 13th in the Day 1a remaining field.

Currently, Day 1b is playing at the Casino Central and notables including Humberto Brenes, Alex Brenes, Dennis Phillips, Andre Akkari, Joseph Hachem and Team Pokerstars pro and recent SCOOP event winner JC Alvarado. The event isn’t without its cast of characters as well, performing antics typically reserved for the World Series of Poker’s Main Event where players try to get noticed for television coverage. Although there are no camera crews televising the event, has been filming small videos for self-broadcast. Notable shameless self promoters include United States player Zachary Hall who is wearing a ridiculous rainbow-umbrella hat that has gained some attention from media and cameras. Hall won entry into the tournament as an online qualifier.

This is the second year that the LAPT has gone through Central and South America with PokerStars heavily promoting the event in hopes of gaining a marketing foothold in a part of the world where poker has yet to be heavily adopted. With notable Latin players such as JC Alvarado and Humberto Brenes attending the tournament events, as well as international poker superstars like Joseph Hachem and Chris Moneymaker, it seems that PokerStars is getting a leg up on the competition gaining market share in the Latin American markets.

The LAPT Mar del Plata held $550+$50 super satellites the day before Day 1a began and other tournaments during the LAPT’s visit include a $460+$60 No Limit Hold’em Turbo, a $1,020+$80 “Second Chance” tournament as well as a $10,000 high roller event that begins on Saturday, April 18th.

The tournament series has made its way through Costa Rica, Mexico, Uruguay and now Argentina to wrap up the second season of the tour. Although there has been no announcement about a third season it seems that the widespread coverage and enthusiasm that the events are getting this year makes a third season an almost surety.

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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