It was announced on April 4th that the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) will expand to include North American venues. Therefore, the name of the tour will now be the Poker Tour of the Americas (PTA).
The publicly-traded company that markets the tour, Vega Promotional Systems, Inc, cites the change as a result of increased interest from cities in North America – including the United States and Canada – to participate. Vega will also produce the video programming that will air throughout North and South America. Airtime with cable providers is currently being negotiated.
It should be noted that PokerStars launched its own Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) in March of 2008. This is a different tour than the Vega Promotional Systems, and it is one of the reasons for the latter tour’s name change.
Michael Herron, CEO of Vega, explained: “The response we have received from all over North and South America has been incredible. We contemplated launching a second tour for North America but decided to combine the two and make the PTA one of the largest poker tours in the world. Another factor in our decision was PokerStars launching its own Latin American Poker Tour. We felt that if we continued with our own LAPT, it could be confusing to everyone involved.”
Herron continued, “We have all seen the success that other tours like the World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour have enjoyed, and we feel that we can produce a first class tournament. Unlike a lot of poker programming you see on television, we are not attempting to sell the rights to a programmer; we will own the programming… This will allow the company to profit from the advertising, sponsorships, replays of the programming, and the tournament itself.”
The company is currently negotiating with venues in several Latin American countries, including Puerto Rico, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. Now, venues are being considered in the United States and Canada. Dates and tour stops will be announced in the near future.
PTA tournaments will be invitational events, and players will be able to qualify to play via online and live local satellite tournaments.