Thursday, September 15, 2016

Looking Back Along the Long and Winding LAPT Road

Was just reading a nice post from my friend Sergio Prado for the Brazilian PokerStars blog in which he looks back at nine years of the Latin American Poker Tour.

I’ll admit I had to use Google translate, as my Portuguese is essentially limited to a single word. That said, I think I can make out what his title means well enough: “Minha homenagem ao LAPT.”

Sergio has been an important part of the LAPT for the entire way, ever since the first LAPT event took place back in May 2008 in Rio de Janeiro. As he recounts in his post, tournament director Mike Ward and Reinaldo Venegas (who like Sergio has blogged while also serving other roles with the tour) have both been there throughout as well. A number of others have been there for much of it, too, and Sergio does a nice job remembering them while sharing some nice photos along the way.

My first time visiting the LAPT was way back in June 2010 during Season 3 when I went with Brad Willis to Lima, Peru and we helped cover Jose “Nacho” Barbero’s second straight LAPT Main Event win. I believe that was my first time ever in South America, and the trip was followed by more visits to Peru, as well as to Chile, Uruguay, and Brazil, then also to Panama a couple of times and to the Bahamas where the LAPT likewise added an event.

Sergio’s post got me thinking again about the new branding by PokerStars of its tours and how the introduction of the new PokerStars Championships and PokerStars Festivals will mean the end of these regional tour designations like the EPT, the LAPT, the APPT, and so on. In some ways it’s just a change of name, but then again it signifies something more, given the way each of these tours developed its own history and character as shaped by the players and personalities involved.

I’m slated to go to Punta del Este next week where I’ll meet up with Sergio and along with others we will report on the LAPT9 Uruguay stop, which I’m only today realizing will be the very last regular LAPT series. There’s still the LAPT9 Grand Final to go in Brazil in November, although that will only involve a single main event, not an entire festival. I won’t be making that November trip, as I have other things happening, so the long voyage down to Uruguay will represent my last LAPT ride.

I imagine I’ll be having my own homenagem to share afterwards once that’s done, given how much I’ve valued the experience of covering those tournaments and most importantly getting to meet and work and laugh with the people Sergio lists in his post. To him and all them I gratefully deliver my only Portuguese word...


Photo: courtesy Carlos MontiPokerStars blog.

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