LAPT Peru: The expats
English only at the table doesn't really go over well at the LAPT.
Being based in Latin America, the majority of the players here speak Spanish. Portuguese is also peppered around the tournament area and is the dominant language in Brazilian tournaments.
This leaves English as the minority. A foreign and little-heard tongue amongst the audible sea of romance languages. English has distinctly strong syllables and most of its speakers -- at poker tournaments -- tend to use a lot of digital vernacular.
This type of speak was prominent at one table at the welcome party last night. Phrases like "-EV" and "owning on the bubble" stuck out over the cigarette-laden Spanish conversations. Then I saw them, huddled together at a table by a fire heater.
The internet expats.
They come in force every tournament, representing their new homeland. Their pale, American look is often gone, replaced by a grizzled tan exterior.
They prefer English, but can confidently say a few Spanish words like, gracias, cerveza and tocineta.
They've seen things man.
Most of these players have come to love their new homes and wouldn't consider moving back to the United States, even if online poker came back.
One of the expats present today is Brandon "oncommand" Meyers. Meyers, a father of two, moved down to Cabo, Mexico, after Black Friday.
The move was definitely a financial success for Meyers. Since Black Friday, Meyers has won more than $1 million online. But it was more than just money, Meyers is a family man and he believes the move was right for his family.
His kids will grow up speaking at least two languages and learn about international diversity firsthand. Meyers himself has also taken a liking to his new home and is proudly representing Mexico at the LAPT.
Meyers has plenty of live experience, with more than $580,000 in live tournament earnings, but he has yet to take down a tournament that starts with an acronym. Meyers is now well above average stack with 75,000.
Seth "setherson2" Davies also joins Meyers on the list of expats. Davies though, chose Canada as his temporary internet safe haven. Davies is a free-spirited traveler that's currently looking for his next online poker haven.
Davies, just like Meyers, has more than $1 million in online tournament earnings, significant portion of which came after Black Friday. Davies is also devoid of a major tournament win, but his live tournament earnings exceed $100,000. A win here could more than double that number and give the young pro a fancy, transparent LAPT trophy.
Micah "100mile" Johnson also joins the ranks of the LAPT Peru expats. Johnson left his hometown in Atlanta, Georgia after Black Friday and now resides in Jaco, Costa Rica. Johnson left a city filled with... an airport, in favor of one filled with surfing and warm weather.
Johnson is currently sharing a house with Dan Kelly*, but they're expecting to move soon.
"Not sure where yet," Johnson said, but the United States isn't one of them. Johnson is about average in chips with 46,000 and is looking to make it to Day 2.
All the expats are.
For many of them, Latin America isn't a vacation destination anymore. It's their final destination, it's home.
*We thought Kelly was gone, but discovered him during another walk through the tournament area. Kelly's immersion with the Latin Americans is nearly complete.
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Alexander Villegas is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog