LAPT Punta del Este: Swarming
It's day one of the PokerStars Latin America Poker Tour tournament in Punta del Este, Uruguay. And what better way to start than with a gross understatement: the LAPT has been a great success. Rio attracted more players than we could possibly have hoped, Costa Rica broke that record, and now we have just got word from the tournament staff in Uruguay that the start has been pushed back an hour, to 1pm local time, to accommodate the swarms of eager competitors camped outside the Mantra Resort.
Poker and Latin America have turned their teenage flirtation into a full-blown love affair. At least 400 guests are expected to come to today's engagement party, and with each stumping up $2,500 per ticket, the honeymoon fund is going to be something like $1 million. Those figures will be confirmed in due course, once the bean counters have done what they do best. Give them a couple of hours and we'll pass on what they tell us.
In the meantime, here's what we do know. This is a no limit Texas hold 'em event, lasting three days, with the final table of nine being played down to a winner on Saturday. The players -- an estimated 400 of them, remember -- will start with 10,000 in tournament chips for their $2,500 and we'll be playing one-hour levels. We're scheduled to play 10 levels today, and the full structure can be found HERE.
In the field today are Team PokerStars Pros Greg Raymer, Humberto Brenes, Barry Greenstein, Chad Brown, Vanessa Rousso, Andre Akkari and Alexandre Gomes, as well as a clutch of celebrity players in both the poker and non-poker worlds. There are also 148 PokerStars qualifiers who will make their characteristic charge for the title. We'll introduce you to plenty of them over the coming few days. Regular estimated chip counts will be available HERE.
Last night, as previously reported, we had a welcome party here in Punta del Este, with all the traditional flair and excitement from these kind of occasions. Our video blog team were on hand to provide a real taste of the action.
Watch LAPT Punta del Este: Welcome Party on PokerStars.tv
All their work, including an archive of previous video blogs, can be found over at PokerStars.tv
The players are now taking their seats. It's all action from here until the end.