Poker in Brazil

History of Poker in Brazil

While this write-up will focus on the biggest poker playing country in the region, in addition to Brazil I will be examining the entire South American region, as well as touching upon Latin American countries.

Brazil, and all of South America for that matter, is another new entry into the world of poker, and following the Internet explosion, South American poker started to take off with Brazil at the forefront. By 2008 poker had a firm foothold in the region, and even created the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) which has been growing by leaps and bounds since it came on the scene in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in March of 2008.

Now that Brazil and the rest of South America has become a desirable destination for poker players from around the world, Brazilians are starting to make their presence felt in the global poker world.

Famous Brazilian Poker Players

With such a short history in the world of poker, Brazil and South America haven’t produced a slew of big names, but there are quite a few up and coming stars that hail from South America. With the LAPT allowing South American players to compete in major tournaments, the top talent from the area now has a place to shine, and display their poker prowess. In just four years the LAPT has produced such notable names as Alexander Gomes, Andre Akkari, and Felipe Ramos, and when including the entire South American continent names like Argentineans Jose “Nacho”Barbero, Leo Fernandez, and Veronica Dabul can also be added to the list.

The big names in South American poker Alexander Gomes and “Nacho” Barbero, both of whom have won millions over the last few years at poker tournaments around the world.

Here is a look at the top South American poker players as well as some of their accomplishments:

Nacho Barbero Poker Jose “Nacho” Barbero

  • Two-time LAPT winner
  • Approaching $2 million in career tournament earnings
  • 2010 EPT London High-Roller winner
  • Team PokerStars Pro


Alexander Gomes Poker Alexander Gomes

  • Over $3.4 million in career tournament earnings
  • 2009 WPT Bellagio Cup winner
  • 2008 WSOP bracelet winner
  • Two-time EPT Main Event final table participant


Andre Akkari Andre Akkari

  • Team PokerStars Pro
  • 2011 WSOP bracelet winner
  • Nearly $1 million in career tournament earnings
  • One of the top online poker tournament players


Felipe Ramos Felipe Ramos

  • Nearly $500k in career tournament earnings
  • Plays under the screen-name “Mojave” online
  • One of the most feared internet poker players
  • Full Tilt Poker Red Pro


Veronica Dabul Veronica Dabul

  • Considered the top female player in South America
  • 12 WSOP cashes on her resume
  • Won 2009 charity event at LAPT Playa Conchal
  • Nearly $200k in career tournament earnings


Online Poker in Brazil

Latin America and South America are the new emerging markets for online poker sites, and the game has quickly caught on in the region. While laws differ from country to country, playing online poker in South America is perfectly legal for the players, and no player has ever faced any form of prosecution for playing online poker. On the other hand, since very few laws have been passed regarding online poker, most online poker rooms are skirting local laws in South American countries.

Thanks to the foresight of PokerStars, which saw the emerging market well before their competitors, the largest online poker site in the world has a strong hold on online poker in the region. With the PokerStars LAPT now in its fourth season, PokerStars is the most recognizable brand in central and South America.

Besides PokerStars, a few other online poker rooms have managed to grab a piece of the South American market-share; here is a look at the top 3:

pokerstars PokerStars

  • Largest online poker site in the world
  • Team PokerStars Argentina: Jose “Nacho” Barbero and Leo Fernandez
  • Team PokerStars Brazil: Andre Akkari and Gaulter Salles

lock poker site Lock Poker – NOW CLOSED

  • Member of the Merge Gaming Network, the largest US-friendly online poker network
  • Over 25 sponsored poker pros including Latin players Frederico Silva, Ricardo Pereria, Miguel Tavares, and Emmanuel Ferreria
  • Massive 200% deposit bonus up to $1,200 for South American players

bodog Bodog Poker

  • One of the longest-standing online gaming sites
  • Known for very loose games
  • Strong branding in Central and South America


Where to play poker in Brazil

There are only about eight casinos throughout the entire country of Brazil, and even though poker’s popularity is on the rise, Brazilian casinos are not the gaming Mecca like you’ll find in other countries.

Most of the casinos are located in the major metropolitan areas like Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Florianopolois, with a few other smaller card-rooms located in some more out-of-the-way areas of the vast country.

The major Latin and South American hotspot for poker is still located in Costa Rica, with Argentina and Chile also becoming hot poker destinations in recent years.

Poker laws in Brazil

While laws vary from country to country in Latin and South America, I will focus on perhaps the strictest country when it comes to poker laws: Brazil. Basically, this is the strictest country in the region when it comes to laws governing poker, so any other country you visit or reside in will have far laxer laws.

Poker in Brazil is a dicey proposition as all casino games are forbidden in the country except in licensed establishments that use loopholes to offer the barest form of poker, which have become known as poker associations. These associations circumvent the 1960’s era law forbidding casino games by focusing on tournament poker almost exclusively –which seems to reside in a legal gray area in Brazil.

There are currently a number of measures working their way through the Brazilian legislature that would legalize poker in the country. However, the Brazilian legislature works at a very slow-pace, so it may still be some time before any of these measures are put in place.

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