LAPT Peru: The Grand Illusion

The LAPT is back in Peru. I suspect this for a few reasons.

First, Google Maps says we're in Peru -- Apple Maps says I'm in the ocean, but there are too many chairs here for it be an ocean. Second, the traffic coming out of the airport was distinctly Latin American. I flew in early in the morning, just in time for traffic hour. During this time, lanes do not exist. The white dashes on the road aren't even suggestions, they -- like Machu Picchu -- are just mysterious remnants of an ancient society.


The ancient white lines of Peru.

Did people back then really only use four lanes?

Now, in modern Lima, people need to get to work. The four lanes turn into a seemingly gridlocked mesh of cars. Despite the road looking like a few automotive companies sneezed cars over the road, things move along surprisingly well. The LAPT Travel bus driver handles seemingly hair-raising situations with incredible ease.

At the PokerStars party, there were a few other indications that the LAPT was in Lima. A swarm of familiar PokerStars Team Pros, including Humberto Brenes, Christian de León, Jose "Nacho" Barbero and Vanessa Selbst were all in attendance.

They drank, ate and mingled with other Latin American pros and novices.

Speaking of food...the food. It was delicious. Peru is known as the gastronomical capital of the world, and yesterday, it did not disappoint.

This could all still be an elaborate ruse though. I could be sitting in a dark room picking at a wall, with Descartes' evil demon making me believe I'm typing away in Peru. If that happens to be true, I gladly accept this fake world.

That demon can cook.

Plates and platters of sushi, carpaccio, squid, egg rolls, prosciutto and desserts kept flowing into the party. Almost as soon as they arrived, they vanished, finding a new home in the bellies of several poker players.

I'd compare poker players to hyenas, or piranhas, but no comparison is necessary to describe poker players and free food. In fact, if I ever see a pack of starving piranhas feasting, I'll compare them to a group of poker players at a Peruvian buffet.

The final shred of evidence that the LAPT Grand Final was about to start was when LAPT President, David Carrion, grabbed the microphone and told us it was.

"I can't believe it's already been full year," Carrion said. "And our third year in Peru at that. We're celebrating a great season, a final and you, the players."


LAPT President, David Carrion

Carrion also gave us a little preview of what to expect during the next few days.

"We're having 10 events in the Grand Final. Two satellites happened today and the main event starts tomorrow. We also have a $5,000 high-roller event and more," Carrion said. "The player of the year race is very tight too. Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen is currently in the lead, but last year, the race came down last table of the last tournament.

"We'll see what happens this year."

Carrion gave the floor back to the free food and booze and now we find ourselves minutes away from kickoff. The tournament dealers are seated at their tables with eight neat stacks worth 20,000 a piece.

In a few days, all the chips will belong to one person and we'll have our new LAPT Grand Final Champion.

It all starts with four words, "Shuffle up and deal."

We're about to hear them, so stay tuned for more updates from the LAPT Grand Final.


Alexander Villegas is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog

Alex Villegas
@PokerStars in Day 1