Mostly stuck around the hotel until later in the afternoon when Brad “Otis” Willis and I headed over to the Atlantic City Casino for a press conference. Once there, we picked up our credentials and met various media types whom we’ll be working alongside over the next few days.
We toured the casino a bit, including visiting the main poker room. One of the two satellites for the Main Event (which starts today) was just about to kick off. Just before it did, I met Latin American Poker Tour Tournament Director Mike Ward who told us there would definitely be 350 runners for today’s Main Event, and they could possibly reach the 400-player cap for the sucker, which I believe would represent a new record for the LAPT.
The presser was all in Spanish, natch, and so turned into an exercise in figuring out contextual clues for yr humble gumshoe. The Presidente del LAPT, David Carrion, spoke about the tour and other matters, including officially announcing the August stop in Florianopolis, the capital city of Santa Catarina, Brazil. (More here.) We then heard from a representative of Santa Catarina (who spoke in Portuguese and had a translator there to relate his words in Spanish).
Others who spoke at the presser included the mayor of Miraflores, the manager of the Atlantic City Casino, and the president of Siempre Amanecer (a charity with which the LAPT is involved). Then a group of Team PokerStars pros was introduced and they gathered around a poker table in front of the podium to play a sit-n-go for $10,000, with the winnings going to Siempre Amanecer.
I didn’t pick up on all the names of the players, but there were a number of celebrities in the group, including a Peruvian soccer player, a tennis player from Argentina, a model from Brazil, and a TV host. There were a ton of media there filming the conference, with the presence of these celebrities clearly having helped attract such coverage.
Not too long after the conference we were on a shuttle bus heading over to the Rosa Nautica club for welcome party. Over the course of the evening we sampled a lot of difficult-to-identify edibles, and Otis did a good job testing out the various drinks that on offer, including the Pisco Sour (see his assessment here).
Over the course of the night I was able to visit with a few more folks who’ll be helping cover the event, including my former blogging partner Marc Convey and Rick Dacey who are here for PokerNews. Lynn Gilmartin is coming, too, following my path from Vegas. (In fact, like me, Lynn apparently had a big delay in Houston getting here as well.)
Team PokerStars pro Maria “Maridu” Mayrinck arrived a little later on after sweating her boyfriend, David “WhooooKidd” Baker, from afar (via PokerNews) in the $50K Player’s Championship. He ended up finishing sixth, and Maria was ecstatic.
“On Day 2, at his table was Daniel [Negreanu], [Phil] Ivey, [Steve] Zolotow, Eli [Elezra], Huck [Seed], Dario Alioto, and Abe Mosseri!” she said excitedly. I said to Maria that none of those guys made it as far as Bakes did, and she pointed out that David probably benefited some from the fact that unlike everyone else at that table his game was relatively unknown.
Eventually Carrion came out and spoke again, then we enjoyed a seven-piece Peruvian band perform a few numbers accompanied by a sequence of dancers, culminating with a pair of especially athletic men throwing their bodies around wildly while holding large, music-making scissors.
“They are doing the one thing with scissors you aren’t supposed to do,” I told Otis with a grin. As we took yet another step back from our front-row spots viewing the dancers.
We made it back before midnight, and I slept soundly on my “poofy” bed (as Otis has described ’em here). Will soon be grabbing breakfast and then heading over to begin our coverage of Day 1 of the Main Event.
If you’re curious, go check out the PokerStars blog a little later today to see who is here and what is happening.