LAPT Florianopolis: Back to Brazil


Welcome to Florianopolis, Brazil, and the start of the next leg of the Latin American Poker Tour. This event marks a welcome return to Brazil which was the first ever LAPT event back in season one. Then it was Rio hosting the festivities, a tournament eventually won by Julien Nuijten who collected $222,940.

This time around the winner can expect to collect more than that with estimates of more than 400 players having made their way to this Island off the coast of Santa Caterina. There's no shame in looking up where that is.

Play may start today but the LAPT spirit began last night at a welcome party by the pool. Amid revellers, food and drink LAPT President David Carrion introduced the latest addition to Team PokerStars Pro, Christian de Leon of Mexico, then apologised for having no control over the weather.

LAPT President David Carrion welcoming the players

It is, quite frankly, freezing in Florianopolis. A cold front has swept in, coming from, I can only imagine Scotland, bringing with it torrential rain, a breeze and statements like "It's usually about 22 degrees in winter here" from locals promising that the sun is on the way.

But as far as welcome parties go this one was more than enough to warm the bones. With Christian welcomed to the team the near constant supply of caipirinha resumed, a drink served in medicine cup portions and which looked harmless, being stuffed with lime (faces at breakfast would tell a different story) Then came the dancing girls. Or was that just the caipirinha? You decide.

The dancing girls

Weather aside there are few better places in the world to host a poker tournament. Nine-foot high waves may beat up the pristine coastline of beaches and forest, overlooked by a lush green mountain, but the entire Costao do Santinho Resort has become something like a poker player's holiday camp where everything is catered for and the staff want only to serve you relentlessly.

This we can assure you though will have little effect on the events at the table. Usually an EPT reporter this is my first LAPT but I think I know how things work. The best players in the region convene in one of the most glamorous places in the world for one of the best poker tournaments in the world. They sit, they play, and in the end Nacho Barbero wins.

David Carrion talking to Nacho Barbero - the player to avoid - at last night's party

That seems to be the complete picture. Like death and taxes Barbero is turning onto one of life's certainties. The Argentinean Team PokerStars Pro became the first to win two LAPTs at the last two events in Punta del Este and Lima.

Last night he was asked if he could pull off three in a row. "Anything is possible," he said, and few would doubt Barbero could yet make even more history. But sooner or later he's bound to lose one, and we'll be here to find out how.

Also here is a selection of Team PokerStars Pros led by the reigning World Champion Joe Cada. Also flying south into winter is Victor Ramdin, along with the Latin American Pros including Humberto Brenes (who won last night's charity event), Gualter Salles, Andre Akkari, Alex Gomes, Veronica Dabul, Maria Meyrinck, Leo Fernandez, Angel Guillen and Nacho Barbero.

Getting into the spirit of things Andre Akkari and Christian de Leon

We're about to get under way with 20,000 starting stacks and one hour levels with blinds at 25/50. You'll find updates here throughout the day and you can keep track of selected chip counts on the appropriately named chip count page. And if you're here by mistake and would rather read this in something other than English, you might prefer Spanish or Portuguese. Obrigado.

Time to shuffle up and deal.