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PokerStars Latin American Poker Tour Another Bad Beat

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Jun/08/2010
PokerStars Latin American Poker Tour

For the second time in so many months, a PokerStars World Poker Tour event has become stomping grounds for hardened criminals.  This past week's Latin American Poker Tour hasn't necessarily played center stage as did the brazen Berlin armed bandits raid back in early March.  Nevertheless, one can argue that had the LAPT not been taking place in Peru, chances are Joran van der Sloot might not have been there to murder Stephany Flores.

van der Sloot has confessed to murdering the young Peruvian student after meeting her in a casino just as the LAPT was set to kick off in Peru. 

"The girl intruded into my private life," van der Sloot told authorities, stating that she had used his computer without permission.

Organizers confirmed that van der Sloot was not registered to play in the event but was merely there as a spectator, or "rail bird" .

Harold Faro, assistant editor of Bon Dia Aruba, confirmed that van der Sloot left Aruba last week, traveling to Colombia, Argentina and Peru to take part in the poker tour.  Van der Sloot is known to play on a few Internet poker websites including PartyPoker and 888.com. His best known handle perhaps was AANOTILTKK on the PartyPoker site, though his Joran888 over at 888 Poker was getting plenty of attention being that his avatar was that of a young blonde woman who many believe resembled that of Natalie Holloway.  Ms. Holloway vanished from the island nation of Aruba back in 2005 following her High School graduation and van der Sloot was the prime suspect in that missing person's case. 

There were indications Van der Sloot may have been traveling on money gained through extortion. The day of his arrest in Chile, the country he escaped to following the murder of Flores, Van der Sloot was charged in the United States with trying to extort $250,000 from Holloway's family in exchange for disclosing the location of her body and describing how she died.

U.S. prosecutors say $15,000 was transferred to a Dutch bank account in his name May 10. He arrived in Peru four days later, coinciding with the runup to a June 2-5 Latin America Poker Tour tournament with a $930,000 prize pool.

Unlike the Berlin Poker Tour raid, the LAPT is, for now, simply being viewed as a side note when it comes to the van der Sloot matter.

PokerStars and its event were the story in Berlin, a news story that drew worldwide attention much like the van der Sloot case we might add.

It was there that a heavily-armed gang made off with the Berlin Poker Tour jackpot of 242,000 euros ($327,000; £217,000) while cameras were rolling.  Just like with the murder investigation in Peru, videotape played a crucial role in apprehending the suspects.  Both hotels where the crimes took place incorporated video cameras within the casinos.  Additional video cameras captured van der Sloot entering his hotel room with Flores and leaving without her.

PokerStars has not made any mention of the situation in Peru, unlike in Berlin where they had little choice but to cover the brazen robbery.  It's certainly not in PokerStars interest to have the world associating the game with cold hearted killers and brazen armed bandits. 

As a footnote in all of this, Team PokerStars Pro Jose "Nacho" Barbero came out on top of the 384 player field of the PokerStars Latin American Poker Tour Lima.

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher 

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