LAPT Rosario: Close encounters of the Grand Final kind
We sit inside a giant, dark room inside the biggest and most luxurious gaming spot on the continent of South America. This alone should be reason enough to impress us. This, however, is not all that's knocking us back like the iconic Maxell "Blown Away" ad campaign (that most poker players are probably too young to remember anyway).
No, there is more here. This is the week the third season of the Latin American Poker Tour will close out in grand fashion. On the giant, rhetorical flatbed truck that's pulled into town are hundreds of poker players from around the world, a $5,000 buy-in, and an event unlike this city has ever seen.
And as if that wasn't enough, there are more than two dozen giant white screens on the wall that are dinking and donking like the famous encounter scene from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Its so loud, so impressive, and so real, I half-expect Richard Dreyfus to come scrambling over some yet-to-be-seen mountain.
In the event that doesn't happen and were not about to meet beings from another planet, it's time for some big time poker, in a big time poker room, for big time money.
We've come a long a way to get here. It started last year in Playa Conchal, Costa Rica. We then moved to on to Punta del Este, Uruguay and Lima, Peru. After that was a brand new stop in Florianopolis, Brazil. Now, we've hit the end of this run and we've hit it...well, hard.
That was the band the knocked the socks off last night's signature PokerStars signature welcome party. Quilmes flowed, the band played everything from PVC pipes to plastic grocery bags, and the whole lot celebrated the end to an amazing season.
For most, that party is now just a happy memory (but a few are still living it this morning, it appears). For everyone, it's now time to hit the felt. Cleaning crews have just finished vacuuming the tables (seriously), and dealers are taking their seats.
Among the Day 1 crowd today, we expect a ton of qualifiers to join Team PokerStars Pros Chris Moneymaker, Dennis Phillips, Victor Ramdin, Veronica Dabul, Leo Fernandez, Jose "Nacho" Barbero, Andre Akkari, Alex Gomes, Gualter Salles, Maria Mayrinck, Christian De Leon, Angel Guillen, and Humberto Brenes. How have they been spending their time since they arrived. Well, it appears, bowling and doing the tango.
We expect all of the above to be done with their dancing and bowling within the next half an hour. At high noon, we begin nine-handed play that should last for eight one-hour levels.
Keep it here for all the live-blogging action, photos, and videos from the LAPT Grand Final. We'll be here for until the last river falls.