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PokerStars already sponsors the European and Asian Poker Tours, and it is adding Latin America to its list. Yesterday it announced the launch of the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT), and 2008 will feature stops in Brazil, Costa Rica, and Uruguay. “Poker is exploding in Latin America and the game is more than ready for its own major poker tour,” LAPT President Glenn Cademartori said. “It’s one of the fastest-growing poker regions and there are thousands upon thousands of players in countries like Brazil and Argentina who will love the chance to take part in events of this kind.”

Brazil is the first stop for the LAPT, and it will take place in Rio de Janeiro from May 3 to 5. The buy-in is $2,500 and the expected prize pool is $600,000. Andre Akkari, a PokerStars pro from Brazil, is expected to play this first LAPT event. “It’s a real honor to be representing Team PokerStars in the PokerStars Latin American Poker Tour,” he said. “[Even] more exciting that the very first event is in my home country!” This tournament will be the largest to ever take place in Brazil.

The 2008 LAPT’s second event will be in Costa Rica, the home country of PokerStars pro Humberto Brenes (known as the “Godfather of Costa Rican Players”). It will take place in San Jose from May 22 to 24, and it will feature a $2,700 buy-in. The third event of the summer in Uruguay is in Punta del Este, has a $2,700 buy-in as well, and will take place from August 7 to 9.

Mike Ward, a tournament director at Foxwoods Resort Casino since 1996, has been appointed to handle the tournament directing duties. He has 15 years of experience in the poker industry. “I’m now really looking forward to bringing my skills and energy to the Latin American Poker Tour,” he said.

As always, PokerStars is offering numerous satellites for $5,000 prize packages to the events. These have started already and can be found under EVENTS and LAPT in the PokerStar tournament lobby. Satellites start as low as $2.50, and you can also use FPPs to enter some of them.

Cademartori is happy with LAPT’s partnership with PokerStars. “It’s not just because PokerStars has proven success in launching major poker tours in other regions, but also because it is the world’s number one online poker destination,” he reasoned. “This means it’s uniquely positioned to give an enormous number of players from across the globe the chance to take part through online qualifying satellite tournaments. Our goal is to provide Latin American players and beyond with the best poker tournament experience in this part of the world.”

If the European Poker Tour and Asian Poker Tour are any indication, the LAPT should be a wild success. Be sure to check the FTR Blogs once the events start because you know how much I love writing tournament reports 😉