Argentina and Brazil are natural rivals. They're the two largest countries in South America. They share a border. They field two of the strongest football sides in the world that regularly vie with each other for regional and global supremacy.
When it comes to LAPT championships, however, there's no rivalry at all. Argentina has claimed 4 of the 19 LAPT championships over four-plus seasons of the LAPT, led by Team PokerStars Pro Jose Barbero's back-to-back wins in Season 3 at Punta del Este and Lima. Brazil, on the other hand, didn't win its first and only championship until the second event of Season 4, when Murilo Figueredo took down the trophy at Vina del Mar.
Barbero likes to remind fellow Team Pro (and Brazilian) Andre Akkari of the 4-1 score whenever he can. In April, Akkari responded with a Twitter challenge.
"Hey @nacho_barbero do u want to make a bet for LAPT Punta? Who'll put more players at the final, Brazil or Argentina? Make the price!"
Barbero isn't the type to back down from that kind of bold challenge. He quickly responded "I give you 2-1 ez money filho!" Akkari suggested $2,000 and the bet was set. If Argentina out-mans Brazil at this week's final table, Akkari will pay Barbero $2,000. If it's the other way around, Barbero will pay Akkari $4,000.
I asked Akkari why he thought Barbero would be willing to give such generous odds a month in advance of the event, without knowing the nationality breakdown of the field.
"He's Argentinian," said Akkari, as if no other explanation was necessary.
The two friends and Team Pros have been having lots of fun on Twitter with the bet.
Akkari: Dear @nacho_barbero u'll pay my bills in may buddy! Thanks a lot!!! u r a great friend!
Barbero: @aakkari ahahaha, yeah I was thinking of a nice pair of dolce gabbana to buy with your money also! Cant wait to be spend yours @laptpunta
Akkari: @nacho_barbero Hey cabron, ready to gimme my money? Want to pay 50% now?
Barbero: @aakkari looool stop drinking caipirinihas bro, u losing your mind! You going down, vamooos argentina, los necesito hermanos!
Akkari has a secret weapon in the bet. He spent all of the last month rallying as many Brazilians as he could to attend this week's tournament. He's promised them that if he wins the bet, he'll throw a big party with Barbero's $4,000. To hear Akkari tell it, Barbero has made no such promise to the Argentinians and is likely to spend the money on himself if he wins.
"He's Argentinian," said Akkari a second time, as if no other explanation was necessary.
At the end of Level 4, each Team Pro had about 18,000 in chips. The LAPT staff are busy crunching the numbers on the field, trying to figure out how many other Argentinians and Brazilians figure into this bet. We'll be following up in the coming days on where the bet stands as the field consolidates.
But as partiers and fans of the underdog, we're rooting for Akkari all the way. Vamooooooooo!