LAPT8 Panama: Zito's search for Sit & Gos
Earlier today we talked about the Hotel California effect of the LAPT.
Some attractive features of Latin America include: warm weather, lower cost of living, beaches and --for Americans-- a vast supply of online poker.
This last part became increasingly important after the events of April 11th, 2011, commonly known as Black Friday.
In a bizarre turn of events, several Americans immigrated to Latin America in order to pursue their livelihood.
One of those players was Dominick "dombomain33" Zito.
Before moving to the beautiful tropics of Costa Rica, Zito ran to the poker-fertile --but frigid-- land of Canada.
Before that he was in Jersey.
Zito, a graduate from Montclair State University in New Jersey, was planning on teaching math after graduating in 2009.
One of Zito's friends knew the principal of the school he was applying to and Zito thought he was a shoe-in. Zito is a man who prefers a safe bet and minimizing risk, an odd combination for a professional poker player.
"It didn't work out though," Zito said.
So Zito went pro.
Zito started playing sit&gos as a professional player and had a successful first year. Black Friday hit the following year.
In pursuit of poker, Zito fled north with a hometown friend and they shacked up in Montreal.
Zito's friend didn't last long in poker and Zito didn't last long in the cold.
Zito parted ways with his friend and moved to the much warmer city of Jaco in Costa Rica.
"There was something like 50 to 75 players there after Black Friday," Zito said. "But they scattered pretty quick."
Jaco, located on Costa Rica's central-pacific coast, is a world class surfing beach but is also home to several of Costa Rica's seedier elements.
While the others scattered, Zito found a reason to stay, a woman.
It's been three years since they met and now they're engaged.
"I'm glad [Black Friday] happened," Zito laughed. "I mean, I miss my family but I never would've done any of this.
"I learned another language. I never would've done that if I hadn't left. Poker's not hard man, try learning a completely different language."
Zito learned Spanish by fire and speaks with distinct Costa Rican slang.
It's not only helped him get around Costa Rica, but other Spanish-speaking countries across the world. After Costa Rica, Zito spent a few months travelling through Europe and flew to LAPT Panama after staying in Argentina for several months.
After this event, Zito is travelling to Playa del Carmen. He's not sure what comes after that though.
"I think about that all the time," Zito said. "If someone gave me a contract with good pay and stability I'd probably take it."
For now, single-table sit&gos coupled with the occasional LAPT provide Zito with enough stability.
"I'd really like to get a job where I can go out and socialize and you know, help people," Zito said.
For multilingual coverage, check out our Spanish PokerStars Blog and our Brazilian PokerStars Blog. If you're more of a watcher, head over to LAPT Live to check out the live stream. Updates are also available on the LAPT Facebook page.
All photos are snapped by Carlos Monti and all words are clacked by Alexander Villegas.