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The Eight Points of Enlightenment: LAPT Florianopolis

2 comments ● 2010-08-24

The land of beautiful woman, gorgeous beaches and the beloved game of soccer was the next stop on my poker calendar as an Austrian hoisted the trophy and US$247,441 first prize when he bested a 364-player field courtesy of a two-pair over two-pair cooler last hand.

With Florianopolis being the fourth stop for season three of the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) - and my first - I am delighted to write my first tournament recap from South America with The Eight Points of Enlightenment: LAPT Florianopolis.

* * * * * * * *

1 - Costao do Santinho Resort (Part I): Being able to cover tournaments in exotic occasions means that you are privy to five-star hotels and fantastic resorts. With this leg of the LAPT being located on the island of Florianopolis, the Costao do Santinho was the ideal resort for the tournament with its many villas and prime beach-side location. Although the resort was somewhere Brazilians would journey to to escape the city life, in comparison to some of the places that poker players have accustomed to, it doesn't quite fit the bill. Each room was more like an apartment with a laundry and kitchen, and was pretty average in all departments - especially the heating - which was quite a disappointment.

One of the other problems we were having was terrible internet connection. Although it allowed us to connect momentarily, it would randomly just disconnect and not allow us to re-connect at any point during the night. This was a major problem for us when we either had to do work or play online; and who knows how the poker players staying at the resort would have felt - especially since it was mid-FTOPS!

2 - Costao do Santinho Resort (Part II): The rooms may have been average, but the one aspect of the resort that was really good was that it was all-inclusive. With two restaurants located on the beach front, we could freely make our way there for a buffet breakfast or dinner, and it was completely complimentary. The breakfast wasn't flash hot, but the dinner was what we all looked forward to as they had an Italian restaurant where - along with the standard buffet - they had freshly made pizza and pasta for you to order and have delivered to your table. It definitely made our group dinners more enjoyable as we stuffed our faces without a care for the bill.

3 - Timing: One problem that is a good thing nowadays is that the poker calendar is packed with events nearly every week in locations around the world. Understandably, especially with a tour that is PokerStars-based, is that they don't really want tour stops overlapping with each other so that they have the maximum chance of getting a bumper field size. Unfortunately in Florianopolis, the event not only coincided with Brazil winter, but also a week-long spell of the coldest weather to grace the area in seven years. Nearly every player and media member hadn't quite prepared adequately for the cold, and many were sporting double and even triple layers as they made their way round the resort. With Brazil being all about beautiful woman and incredible beaches - or so many do believe - why not hold this event in summer or at least not mid-winter? Not only would it attract more players, but make everybody's trip more enjoyable regardless of their result in the tournament.

4 - Tournament Structure: Virtually all of the PokerStars.net tours following the same tournament structure of blind increases and timing, but one of the unusual aspects here in Florianopolis was the day two structure. The plan - as per the tournament guide - was that day two would see the field play down to a final 24 or as announced. At the start of play as 183 players sat down to battle it out, everyone in the tournament room knew there was no realistic chance of culling the field down to the magical three table mark. The problem is, the tournament staff decided to push for that number anyway instead of ending the night at realistic time. Consequently, with fourteen hours of play and over twelve levels, the final 36 were finally allowed to call it a night.

With only needing to make the final table of eight the following day, the day was obviously a short one, and if the tournament staff working the previous night decided to be realistic and look ahead, they would understand that they could have ended play early so that all days of the tournament were fairly even in length.

5 - Staff: Both the Costao do Santinho and LAPT staff were extremely friendly and helpful with anything that we needed. Whether it was solving internet issues, answering the most random of questions or just making life easier for us, they really did the best to make our lives easy during the stay. As mentioned in a previous blog, some of the media were idiots, but the majority of them were great; especially the ESPN Brazil and PokerStars Blog team, who often shared hands and information between the three of us.

6 - Language Barrier: Although the staff were great, we did have some language issues especially with the hotel staff. At times it was hard to communicate with them whether it be at the restaurant or generally around the resort, but we still did our best to manage. As for the tournament, we always knew that talking to players would be an issue, and at times they would go on a Spanish or Portuguese rant after we would ask their name, and all we could do was nod and smile. Occasionally people would approach Donnie and I with questions, but all we could do was say, "English. English" and they would either laugh and walk away, or speak to us in some form of the broken variety.

7 - Media Room: One of the great things the Costao do Santinho and LAPT staff did was implement a media room so that all media members that didn't necessarily need to be on the tournament floor, had a separate room to do all their work. Not only did this reduce the clutter on the desks in the tournament room, but also meant that Donnie and I had a place to play online once the day was over, that was both warm, quiet and had a decent internet connection - all of course, in comparison to our rooms! At many tournaments you don't often see a separate media room, but I think it is a must at some of these bigger tournaments where media is going to consist of more than just PokerNews.

8 - To Be, Or Not To Be Home Grown?: In these new tours, I like to see a local player take it down, because I always feel that it will help encourage the growth of the game in that area of the world. Especially with a place like South America, I truly felt that seeing a home grown champion would be the best thing for the LAPT. Although the numbers were on the low side, I still feel that poker is growing forward in the region, and that for a tour such as the LAPT, we have to start encouraging players that aren't based in South or Central America to make the trip. Seeing Austrian Matthias Habernig capture the title will hopefully encourage other Europeans to satellite into the LAPT and make the long journey across the globe to potentially make their mark in South America!

* * * * * * * *

With my first LAPT in the bag, it is time to journey back to Las Vegas momentarily before venturing back home.

Next stop . . . the Victorian Poker Championships in Melbourne!

For additional blogs, interviews, articles and photos from tournaments around the world, head to Tilted Behaviour.

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