PokerStars has cancelled the first stop on the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) that was due to start in Chile next month for unexplained reasons.
Had it gone ahead, it would have marked the start of the 10th season of the LAPT. It has yet to be revealed whether PokerStars intends to reschedule the event.
“As we review our strategy for tournaments in Latin America, alongside the global event calendar and the overall Live Events proposition of PokerStars, we have decided to cancel LAPT Chile,” Director of Corporate Communications Eric Hollreiser said in a statement.
“We want to continue to produce tournaments in the region that players can love, and that can be enduring. As such, we are refining our plans with the aim to present a more exciting and stronger offering than ever before,” Hollreiser concluded.
Ever since 2009—in the LAPT’s second season—PokerStars has stopped in the Casino Enjoy at the Viña Del Mar coastal resort in Valparaíso. This was true even when the LAPT was on hiatus last year. It was cancelled along with other brands including the European Poker Tour (EPT) in a change of PokerStars’ strategy.
Instead, the operator ran a PokerStars Festival in the country with over 20 events on the schedule, so the shock cancellation of the first stop on the LAPT came as a surprise to many.
“We want to continue producing events that players can love and that can facilitate access to all participants in the region,” said Marcelo Fitte, a publicist and blogger for PokerStars Latin America in a press release addressing the recent cancelation of the LAPT Chile stop. “To do this, we are perfecting our plans for PokerStars live sponsored events with the goal of presenting a richer, more exciting and solid event offer.”
The press release went on to talk about “long-term relationships with our partners are the core of our events” and thanking its local partner for “supporting their plans,” but no concrete information was offered up as to why the operator would cancel such an iconic stop on the tour on such short notice.
Branding of PokerStars Poker Tours
The LAPT along with other popular tours were sunsetted back in 2017—the latter being put down to the “the European Poker Tour outgrowing its European borders.”
But in a change of strategy the LAPT, EPT and Asian Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) are being resurrected for 2018. In January 2018 the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure brand successfully rose from the ashes—one year after it had been converted into a Championship for its 2017 outing.
“These are brands that all our players loved,” said David Carrion when it was announced PokerStars were brining back the iconic brands.
“They have a historical legacy behind them of how poker throughout the world grew, how the game developed around them and how we all started a journey where poker became a big part of our lives.”
“We tried and tested a new format of top-tier live events but we want to bring our iconic tours back and continue to build a future by going back to our roots,” said Carrion.
Other Operators Making Waves In South America
PokerStars is not the only operator to prioritize South America, and with the pullout from Chile, it leaves room for other operators to capitalize on this potential.
Already partypoker has announced the Latin American Poker Championships in Uruguay, which will get underway later this month. Partypoker has also partnered with the WSOP to run the Brazil circuit event for 2018 and signed three Brazilians to their newly created “Team Online” roster.
PokerStars has confirmed that players who had qualified for the LAPT Chile will have money returned to their accounts.