LAPT8 Panama: Teixeira takes on the world

Renata Teixeira is currently the only woman in the field, but it's a position she's comfortable with.

Just a few months ago, in LAPT8 Chile, Teixeira was almost the last man or woman left standing. Teixeira became the 6th woman to reach an LAPT final table but made it further than any of them.

Teixeira beat Jessica Bedoya's 3rd place record --a record that stood since since season 4-- after she eliminated Javier Venegas in 3rd place.

Teixeira got heads-up with the lead but Oscar Alache took down a series of pots and eliminated Teixeira in a flip.

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Teixeira and Alache, heads-up for the title

Teixeira took the record for best female LAPT finish and Alache became the third player to win two LAPT titles.

"[The finish was] so amazing, it was crazy but it's the result of working so hard last year," Teixeira said. "I worked and studied so much. I was so happy to make it so far."

While women tend to be even more scarce in Latin American poker tournaments, Teixeira says "there are lots of women playing poker in Brazil."

Teixeira, a São Paulo native, lives in one of the fastest-growing poker markets in the world.

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Renata Teixeira

The entire first season of the Brazilian Series of Poker drew 427 players throughout seven event while he most recent season drew 7,620 players. Out of that number, 2,749 players showed up for the São Paulo millions alone.

In 2006, the largest BSOP São Paulo event drew 67 players.

The Brazilian poker craze has even attracted the country's biggest sports stars. Soccer phenom Ronaldo made a deep run in this year's PCA and just yesterday, Neymar Jr. joined PokerStars as a brand ambassador.

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Neymar Jr.

Both poker and Teixeira are doing well in Brazil

Teixeira, 28, started playing poker four years ago but has been playing professionally for the last two.

Teixeira is stoic and calm at the table, her face hidden behind multi-colored hair and sunglasess. Away from it, she's small and bubbly and has a hard time getting through a sentence without giggling.

Her charisma, skills and colorful hair has attracted a number of fans which took to the rail and the internet --wearing purple wigs-- when she finished 2nd in LAPT8 Chile.

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Teixeira and her fans

Teixeira, who was on Andre Akkari's list of pros in Brazil, has been benefitting from the explosion of poker in Brazil.

While Teixeira used to play predominantly online as XTINHAX, she's now able to find daily tournaments around São Paulo.

Now that the groundwork is there and her results are starting to rack up, Teixeira wants to go full pro.

"I've been working [to go pro] and studying so much this past year," Teixeira said. "That's my dream in poker."

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For multilingual coverage, check out our Spanish PokerStars Blog and our Brazilian PokerStars Blog. If you're more of a watcher, head over to LAPT Live to check out the live stream. Updates are also available on the LAPT Facebook page.

All photos are snapped by Carlos Monti and all words are clacked by Alexander Villegas.

Alex Villegas
@PokerStars in Neymar Jr