I remember that six years ago when I started my relationship with PokerStars I traveled to different places in Latin America and, when going to play poker, there were different games and rules depending the place and country where I was. Also poker was so much less popular. Since the LAPT started in 2008 with the event in Brazil, poker started growing exponentially in the region to the point that the most recent LAPT in Colombia had a very impressive 681 players, a record for Latin America. Televised poker has helped a lot to make this growth possible, as well as having a world class tour in the region.
Now, when I travel to different places in Latin America, rules are unified and there is a variant of poker that dominates over all the rest, just like it happens in the rest of the world, this variant is No Limit Hold’em. You can go to Chile, Brazil, Panama, Venezuela, Argentina, Costa Rica, Colombia, Uruguay, really any place in the region, and find a place to play everyone’s favorite game, No Limit Hold’em. In fact I am writing this from the beautiful, beautiful beach of Punta Cana in Dominican Republic. This beach is great it’s a touristy place perfect for playing poker and having a much deserved vacation! I am here with many of my poker friends from Costa Rica and Latin America having a good time.
Because of the enormous growth poker has experienced in the last 10 years, detonated when my friend and Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP in 2003, I have made many, many new friends. That is one of the things I like the most about poker tournaments, traveling meeting new places and people that I would probably not have meet if it not were because of poker.
PokerStars, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, is also greatly responsible of this growth doing a great job through the years making poker much more known and bigger. It even has a Guinness World Record for the biggest online tournament ever held which, by the way, seems to have its days counted as PokerStars plans to beat it.
So much has changed in these 10 years. When people discover poker on TV, online or because of a friend, they become instantly hungry for information about it and want to learn, get better and play as much as they can. This phenomenon has made possible that tournaments have thousands of players these days. These last 10 years have been great for poker in general, and it really makes me happy as I have loved poker since I was a kid. Watching how something that is a big part of my life grows just puts a very big smile on my face. I get really excited by the thought of how much bigger poker will be in the next 10 years, I just can’t wait. In the mean time, I guess I’ll have to go to the pool to drink a Pina Colada!
Remember, The Shark is Hungryyyyyyyyyy!