LAPT Rio: Another new dawn

When you've already made a splash in Vegas, have toured Europe several times, have taken a leisurely sojourn around Asia and the Pacific, and dipped toes in the waters of the Caribbean, where do you go next?

For the players, staff and spectators of PokerStars sponsored poker tournaments, the answer is revealed this week when Rio de Janiero, Brazil, plays host to the first leg of the first season of the Latin America Poker Tour.

Following the innumerable successes of PokerStars players at the WSOP and on the back of the hugely popular EPT, APPT and PCA, the next set of initials poker players need to learn are LAPT, shorthand for the newest PokerStars tour, featuring three tournaments in Brazil, Costa Rica and Uruguay this summer.

If recent history is anything to go by, these will be the richest and most exciting poker tournaments ever held in Latin America, and seem certain to uncover another booming region of poker fanatics. It's less than five years since commentators wondered whether Europe could sustain a series of high buy-in tournaments; last month no one needed reminding of the answer as Glen Chorny, a PokerStars qualifier from Canada, took down more than two million euros in Monte Carlo.

The prize in Rio won't quite be that huge, but there's plenty to play for and the excitement of a new dawn. The tournament seems set to sell out its 300-player capacity, each parting with $2,500 for the pleasure. And while there are certain to be a hefty number of qualifiers transferring from the online tables, there will be some established stars in the mix as well.

On home turf, Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari will be a threat, as will his team-mate Humberto Brenes, who is making his way south from Costa Rica. From the United States, Team PokerStars Pros Gavin Griffin, Chad Brown and Vanessa Rousso will also be making an appearance. And rumour has it that a man named Moneymaker will find his way to Rio.

As ever, the best place to follow all the action is here on PokerStars blog. We'll be in the thick of it from the outset, bringing you all the atmosphere from in and around the Intercontinental Hotel, filing player profiles and interviews, video blogs, the best photography from the tables, as well as chip counts and blow-by-blow accounts of all the action from the moment of the first shuffle (1pm local time on Saturday) to the final table and crowning of a champion on Monday.

I suspect there might be the occasional pun based around Brazil nuts, Sugarloaf mountains, beaches and soccer too.

It's another bold new venture for PokerStars and the fun really is only just beginning. Check back here to be a part of it.