LAPT Punta del Este Numbers Way Up

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Attendance numbers are up almost 40 percent over 2010.

The PokerStars Latin American Poker Tour has touched down in Argentina for the fourth annual LAPT Punta del Este main event and it’s the biggest yet.

The $2,500 tournament attracted 422 players. That’s up from the previous record of 351 set back in 2008.

The record field size this year marks a turnaround in a trend that we’ve seen since the event was first introduced three years ago.

After drawing 351 in its first incarnation, attendance was steadily decreasing with 327 and 307 in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

This year’s numbers represent an almost 40 percent increase over 2010.

One reason for the growth could be the success enjoyed by South Americans this year at the World Series of Poker.

Andre Akkari is one of the continent’s most famous poker players and he won his first WSOP bracelet this summer, just the second in history for his native Brazil.

“Poker in Brazil is like a fever,” Akkari told PokerListings after his victory in Las Vegas.

Hilton Laborda and Fabio Sousa, two more Brazilians, finished in the top 42 at the WSOP Main Event, both scoring six-figures and plenty of TV time.

Punta del Este is located in north-east Argentina, providing a perfect opportunity for Brazilians to test their skill in the live arena.

Indeed, roughly 20 percent of the 422 who played today in the LAPT main event were from Brazil.

At end of play on Day 1 the starting field was pared down to 188 with Argentinean Juan Jose Perez leading.

Defending champion Jose “Nacho” Barbero played but failed to make it through the day.

56 players in total will be paid in this event, with the payouts starting at $4,250 and increasing all the way to the $244,720 reserved for first place.

Here are the top ten chip counts going into Day 2:

Juan Jose Perez - 197,500
Nicasio Juan Sanchez Toranzo - 131,800
German Fernandez Schemini - 129,300
Rafael Moreira Pitanga Lopes - 125,600
Fernando Zuccotti - 121,000
Roberto Hernandez - 118,200
Julio Belluscio - 113,200
Gabriel Pereira Gomes - 102,000
Ty Austin Hill Mullins - 101,300
Engelberth Steve Varela Moreno - 97,300

Action continues on Day 2 at the Mantra Resort and Casino in Punta del Este, Argentina.

Photo credit to PokerStarsBlog

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