LAPT San Jose: Final Preparations
It's amazing to see how quickly the ballroom of the Ramada Herradura events center has been transformed into the center of Latin American poker. Yesterday, the ballroom was a cavernous, empty space. Today, thirty eight poker tables dot the floor, surrounded by all manners of PokerStars banners. Dealers clad in identical deep blue PokerStars polos and black pants are gathered around several of the tables, chatting rapidly in Spanish and laughing at each other's jokes as they pass the last hour before taking their places at the center of each table for Day 1 play. All we need now are the players, many of whom are finishing up breakfast or soaking up some of the bright sunshine by the various hotel pools, looking for their inner monk before beginning a (hopefully) long three days of poker.
The best and the brightest of the Latin American poker scene are here. Humberto Brenes has been ubiquitous around the hotel for the past two days, passing out toy sharks to anyone who wants one. Andre Akkari and Alexandre Gomes are looking to put their stamp on this event. Everyone will have to find a way to overcome the Season 1 champion, Valdemar Kwaysser, who won with an improbable final hand of pocket aces. The win earned Kwaysser $280,000, and he's looking to do it again in Season 2. With a guaranteed prize pool of $1,000,000, who wouldn't want to win this event?
Day 1 begins in about thirty minutes. $3,500 gets players a seat at the table. The rest of us will be in media row, chronicling the action on this blog, the PokerStars Spanish blog, the PokerStars Brazilian blog, and on PokerStars.tv. Until play begins, we'll be drinking lots of water, trying to shake off the unfortunate after-effects of the fun everyone had at the opening party last night.