LAPT Grand Final: We're working, we promise
So there's this little poker tournament going on here in São Paulo. You might have heard about it. It's the Grand Final of LAPT Season 4.
Dry statistics don't tell the tale of what's going on in the 10,000-square-foot ballroom at the WTC Sheraton. Sure, close to 400 players took precious time away from Carnival, the biggest holiday this country celebrates each year, to try their luck in the Grand Final. Roughly 80 of them have already left to the cry of "Eliminação!", despite the fact that Day 1 isn't half over yet. Nobody wants to burn 4,000 Brazilian Reals (about US$2,332 at today's rates), but given the jubilant mood in the rest of the city, there are worse things that can happen. The booby prize for busting out of the tournament is being "forced" to attend Carnival for the next four days.
Yes, the tournament room has a little less buzz than you'd normally expect to find at an LAPT stop. An informal straw pool at the media desk suggested a probable cause: most of the Brazilians (the life of the party) are off being the life of the party somewhere else. It's Carnival, after all. Not Flag Day. This is an Important Holiday, with a capital I and a capital H.
But there's still plenty of witty banter and frivolity to be found. Connie Ansaldi, a minor television personality from Argentina, has been taking video footage on the tournament floor. She asked one player at Fatima Moreira de Melo's table, "Are you in love with Fatima?" When the player replied that he was not, Ansaldi mock-sighed and said, "There's no love in poker!" Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen (still in the field) would strongly disagree with that.
There's also a gentlemen sitting two tables behind us named Jorge Pereira who called out "Rabo da macaca!" several times in rapid succession when he needed a jack to win a big pot. It's no "filho do rei", the declaration that Andre Scaff cried repeatedly last year here in São Paulo, but "tail of the monkey" is funnier to us than "son of the king" anyway. Why shout "tail of the monkey" when you need a jack? Who knows. It's Brazil.
Of course no poker tournament spectacle would be complete without its jester. Today that role is being filled by Miguel Alvarez of Venezuela, who has donned his best "hunter's orange" in order to make an impression. When Alvarez is standing out of his seat, it's impossible to look anywhere in the room without being drawn to his fluorescing form.
There's about an hour to go before the dinner break, a break where we're all going to try really hard not to repeat the "Meat Sweats" from last night. I'm also going to try to figure out why I haven't just moved to South America already.