The first hands of the last Main Event of the eighth season of the Latin American Poker Tour are being dealt here in one corner of the Golden Hall at the WTC São Paulo, the tournament clock signaling the start of what will be a multi-day journey until the next LAPT Main Event winner is found.

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It’s time to play some cards
As the clock says, just 50 have taken their seats for now, with many more expected to join them either later today or during tomorrow’s second Day 1 flight for this R$10,000 event (~$2,650 USD). Among those seated already is Brazil’s own Renata Teixeira who just missed becoming the tour’s first woman to win a title back in March at LAPT8 Chile where she finished runner-up, and who also just missed another LAPT Main Event final table in September at LAPT8 Uruguay where she finished ninth.

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Renata Teixeira
Season 8 has crowned five Main Event champions thus far, stretching back to January when the American Josh Kay topped a huge 736-entry field at the inaugural LAPT Bahamas event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure to win a massive $367,928 first prize. By the way, the LAPT will be returning to the Atlantis in January to kick off Season 9 with a $2,200 buy-in Main Event scheduled to begin at the very start of the PCA’s full schedule on January 6.

Two players collected their second career LAPT Main Event titles this season, starting with Oscar Alache of Chile who beat out 410 entries including runner-up Teixeira at LAPT8 Chile to earn his second title and $131,962.

In fact, Alache has just walked up to take a seat here to begin his quest for what would be a record third LAPT title. He’s also looking to preserve his current No. 1 ranking in the LAPT Season 8 Player of the Year race — where Teixeira is right behind him again at No. 2.

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Oscar Alache
The Argentinian Mario Lopez then later matched Alache’s feat at LAPT8 Uruguay by topping 267 to win his second Main Event trophy and a $155,730 prize. Lopez added that to a WSOP runner-up finish and a win at the Estrellas ESPT Main Event in Barcelona this year as well.

The other two LAPT Main Event winners during Season 8 have been Shakeeb Kazemipur of Canada who overcame a field of 422 to win LAPT8 Panama for $180,112, and Chile’s Claudio Gali won at LAPT8 Peru, a 366-entry event that earned the Chilean $135,876 for the win.

Even with the Grand Final’s quiet kickoff, there’s already a buzz here in the Golden Hall with the Brazil Series of Poker’s initial event — a $750K guaranteed tourney — getting going nearby.

There’s a 32-event schedule altogether for this joint LAPT/BSOP festival, stretching into the first week of December and including a variety of satellites, no-limit hold’em events with a variety of formats and buy-ins, seniors and ladies events, mixed game events and Omaha events, “Survivor” tournaments and High Rollers, and even a Courchevel tournament.

There’s a lot else happening today, too, including a celebrity tournament for which none other than Ronaldo of Team PokerStars SportStars will be among the competitors. We’ll likely look in on that event tonight, but for now we’re keeping an eye on late arrivals to the Grand Final as the clock ticks along through the early levels of Day 1A.

Photography from LAPT8 Brazil by Carlos Monti. You can also follow the action in Spanish here and in Portuguese here.

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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.


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