LAPT Peru: Out of the woodworks

Yesterday we posted about a few expats in the field.

Since then, more have started to reveal themselves. Out of the woodworks, they raise their hands and proudly state, "I too call Latin America home."

The traumatizing events of Black Friday are just a memory and things are looking up again. Their new life is good, better even. It's ok to talk about the past now.

One of those players is Martin "thelipofund" Mathis. Black Friday will always come with a memory of LAPT Peru for Mathis, since that's where he was when the news hit.

"It was chaos, everyone was in panic mode" Mathis said. "There were around eight of us here and we were wondering where the hell we were going to live."

One of Mathis' friends had his whole net worth on Full Tilt while Mathis only had $30,000. Luckily, Mathis was able to get it out in time.

"I changed my location to Peru and tried sending a few dollars to people," Mathis said. "It ended up working so I sent my whole roll to a few friends in Europe. They got it, cashed out and I got my money in time for the WSOP."

Martin Mathis LAPT Peru.JPG

Martin Mathis

After the WSOP, Mathis became one of the first players to make the move.

"I packed up and moved down to Cabo, San Lucas right after I busted the Main Event," Mathis said. "I lived there for six months and then started to travel."

Since then, Mathis spent time in the Bahamas, Australia, Amsterdam and Brazil.

"So far, the Brazilian players have been the best," Mathis said. "They only knew me online but still took me into their homes and let me grind with them. They'd give me the shirt off of their back if I asked them.

"It was a real humbling experience," Mathis added. "It made me realize that we're not that different, all of us."

Since then, Mathis has taken up residence in Rosarito, Mexico, a quiet beach town just south of Tijuana.

After the LAPT, Mathis is looking forward to heading home and playing the upcoming FTOPS. The first FTOPS since the hammer dropped last April.

While all these expats are enjoying their new home, there's a grizzled expat in the corner. Brent Sheirbon left to Latin America before many of these players could legally play poker.

"I left to Costa Rica back in 2006," said Sheirbon while sitting in a dimly lit room, smoking a cigar and stroking his beard.

Actually, he was standing by the well-lit, non-smoking media table, he's also freshly shaved.

"I got sick of IT consulting and poker was really taking off," Sheirbon said. He moved down to Costa Rica with a friend and milked the plump Party Poker games for all they were worth.

Brent Sheirbon LAPT Lima.JPG

Brent Sheirbon, the hipster expat

"We were only supposed to stay a year," Sheirbon said. He stuck to his plan too, kind of.

Sheirbon had such a great year that he decided to stop renting and get some real estate. The market in Costa Rica wasn't that appealing to Sheirbon, so he went south, to Panama City.

It's been home ever since.

Sheirbon now has a Colombian girlfriend and a strong command of the Spanish language. He's met new friends and has been touring the Latin American poker scene.

While Sheirbon was already in Latin America when Black Friday hit, he didn't come out completely unscathed.

"We had just started a training site, Drag The Bar," Sheirbon said. "Black Friday really hurt the business but I didn't have too much online."

But those days are gone. Sheirbon and Mathis are now looking forward and onward. Currently, they're focused on just one thing, LAPT Peru.

Sheirbon has about 100,000 while Mathis is at 120,000.

We're close to making the money home, but both players are looking for a win. You know, to keep the trophy in Latin America.

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Alexander Villegas is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog

Alex Villegas
@PokerStars in Peru