LAPT Vina del Mar: Summer in Chile

There may be no way to properly explain what it feels like to fly over the Andes mountain range. It's natural awe conflicted with the trailer for the the movie "Alive." Anyone who has seen that flick knows how those folks ended up. So it's enough to make one happy to be on the ground and speeding along a smooth highway out of Santiago, Chile.

It's arid and barren country for the most part between the capital and Vina Del Mar, Chile's fourth largest city and summertime tourist destination to Chile's elite. Scrub-covered mountains line the horizons and vineyards frame the highway. After a full hour of break-neck driving, the road opens to the Vineyard of the Sea, Vina Del Mar.

vina beach.jpg

This place, known to locals as the Garden City, is the Latin American Poker Tour's third stop of the second season. This week marks the first time a live PokerStars event has set its chips down in Chile. It's summertime here and with the temperature hovering at about 90 degrees, a walk through town gives a warm taste of the historic alongside the modern. This old city dates back to its beginnings as a fishing village. Even today, you can see the locals fishing off the sea wall on a Monday morning. Now, not only does the history remain, but the city is scattered with everything from McDonald's to five-star hotels like this one, the Hotel Del Mar.

It is in this hotel and its adjacent Enjoy Casino that we will watch the LAPT event play out over the next week. At this moment, some members of Team PokerStars are going out to do some paragliding. PokerStars 6 Million Dollar Man Ylon Schwartz is resting in the grass and staring at a chess board. We are resting up from a flight across the equator and preparing for tonight's PokerStars welcome party.

Beginning tomorrow at noon, the dozens of PokerStars qualifiers will join folks from all over Latin America to determine who walks away with the inaugural Chilean title.

Join us here for all the action from the first flop to the last river. In the meantime, here's a look at Vina del Mar from the eyes of our video blogging team.

Watch LAPT Vina Del Mar 09: A taste of things to come on

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in Latin American Poker Tour