Argentina is second only to Brazil as South America's largest country, and the eighth biggest country in the world encompassing 1,078,000 square miles.
Unlike many countries, Argentina does not rely on tourism dollars to survive, although tourism does account for 7% of their income. Argentina benefits from an abundance of natural resources and exports everything from leather to soy oil. It is also the 5th largest wine producer in the world and is proud of having one of the most literate populations in South America. In a country this big with approximately 40,000,000 people, it seems a given that a lot of poker is being played within its borders.
In November of 2006, the online gambling company Victor Chandler, became the first international bookmaker to obtain a gaming license in Argentina. This will allow residents to play online "locally" at Chandler's popular VC poker room. As with other online casinos, they also offer sports betting and an array of casino games.
With this new license, the 60 year old Chandler company now operates in 160 countries around the globe. In a press release the company stated that given the recent gambling restrictions in the US, it will now focus on international markets, like the UK. While this is the first such license to be granted in South America, they are hopeful more will follow.
Among Argentina's other vast exports, we can count some excellent poker players who are making a name for themselves in the tournament arena. Players like Ivan Saul who placed 729th in the 2006 WSOP main event and took home $16,493. Not a bad showing for a field of 7,773 entries. And Leo Fernandez, who placed 18th in the PLO event this year, which earned him a payday of $28,040.
There are online poker sites where players belong to teams and gather to play. On one such site, the 505 member Argentina team currently ranks 18th out of 868. If you prefer live poker, there are at least 21 B&M casinos located in Argentina with most of them having between one and four poker tables.
All of this proves that poker is alive and well in the land of the Tango and Gauchos.
You may not make it to Argentina to check out their card rooms but you can play with people from around the globe by downloading Victor Chandler poker here.