LAPT Nuevo Vallarta: A new paradise

Sometimes one location can't hold the entire paradise.

You've heard of Puerto Vallarta. It's an historic city, a familiar paradise, a vacation place for people around the world. When you think of Mexico and Vallarta, you think Puerto Vallarta, the oceanside resort city along the Pacific Ocean's Bahía de Banderas. A sandy Xanadu to people since before 500 B.C., this has been part of the resort royal family in Mexico since the 1960s.

But, hop in a car and speed to the city's outskirts and you will find something new. At high speeds, you could mistake parts of this area for Southern California. There's a familiar delivery pizza chain, a Carl's Jr., and the ubiquitous advertisements for Corona. Other sights will give you a better idea where you are: a roadside mariachi band, a truckload of loose oranges, and a speeding red truck outfitted with sirens and labeled B-10 Bomberos. No doubt, you're in Mexico and quickly leaving the place some folks call P.V.

A couple of turns later, you have entirely left the state of Jalisco but are still in a Vallarta. This is Nuevo Vallarta, the newest stop on the PokerStars Latin America Poker Tour.

LAPT Mex_Venue Photos_IJG_2376.jpg

Now in its second season, the LAPT has chosen Nuevo Vallarta as its second stop on the circuit. We are just settling in at the Marival Resort and Suites All Inclusive Resort. Dozens of PokerStars qualifiers are already wandering the grounds in purple wristbands (the all-important key to free Pacificos and taquito fare).

Just a few weeks ago in San Jose Costa Rica, Ryan Fee won more than $200,000 on the first stop of the LAPT's second season. Now, the ever-growing tour is looking to crown its second champion of the season.

While Mexico is no stranger to poker, this little area is. A poker tournament of this magnitude is not something you see here every day...if ever. By this time tomorrow, we will be in the thick of it. While we won't know the final number of players for some time, we know that dozens of people qualified on PokerStars. In just a short trip around the resort. What's more, we're expecting to see a whole host of Team PokerStars Pros, including Victor Ramdin, Greg Raymer, Humberto Brenes, Andre Akkari, and Alexandre Gomes.

Like all LAPT events, however, there are matters to which we must attend first. Just a short walk from here, the PokerStars crew is setting up for another of its legendary welcome parties. We'll be there as well just in cases any news breaks (and in the event it doesn't...hey, tacos!).

In the meantime, here's a look at what the players will be enjoying during their off-table time.

LAPT Mex_Venue Photos_IJG_2355.jpg

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in Latin American Poker Tour