Poker is a Growing Trend in Latin America

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The global market for gaming, including poker and casino gaming, is growing rapidly both online and at brick and mortar casinos, especially in emerging markets like Latin America. In general the global growth in popularity of poker can be attributed in part to the access of online gaming as well as the promotion on television of major poker events like the World Series of Poker (WSOP).

However, in Latin America there are a number of factors leading to a booming poker scene and home-grown professional poker players. These factors include the economy and a growing middle class, the expansion of broadband and mobile usage throughout the region, and the promotion of poker through various means.


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Latin America is considered an emerging market in terms of the overall economy and in particular the behavior of consumers. For instance, Brazil has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It is expected Latin America will have a combined GDP of $10,700 billion US by the year 2020, which is about nine percent (9%) of the global GDP. In 2012 the individual, or private consumption per head, was approximately $6,360 US. This number is expected to grow to $11,143 US by 2020 with a total market population of 640 million consumers.

Along with this growth are the changing demographics of the population including a growing workforce and the emergence of a robust middle class. The age groups of this growth trend will involve the 15 to 24 age group and the 25 to 35 age group. As this workforce grows so too will the Latin American middle class. As the purchasing power of this group increases it will be the telecom industry that will benefit through the proliferation of mobile technology.

Expansion of Broadband and Mobile Usage

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Momentum in the broadband services market of Latin America has been due to Telecom operators realizing they stand to benefit to increased earnings by consumers. As a result, they have been investing in network coverage expansion. The domestic competition between these operators has been intense and is resulting in lower prices and bundled service offerings. All of this means the mobile market in Latin America is booming. Just as in other major or emerging global mobile markets, social gaming and social media dominates mobile usage.

Furthermore, as in the other regions, growth of mobile gaming includes that of mobile poker and casino gaming. The increased access and usage directly impacts the level of popularity, especially when considering playing poker online is a form of social gaming. The more players interact, share, and invite friends, the more people are drawn to playing. This constant exposure has allowed poker to enter the mainstream consciousness, making it possible to promote poker in Latin America as not only a place to play poker, but also a great region to visit and enjoy.

Promoting Poker in Latin America

The mainstream appeal of poker has made it possible for professional poker players to actually embrace their success and promote their celebrity, in turn promoting poker even more. There are a number of Latin American poker players who have been advancing through the ranks. In fact, in 2014 the Global Poker Index (GPI), which is a ranking of the live tournament poker players in the world as of the day it is published, joined with Card Player Latin America to use the ranking system developed by the GPI to begin determining and acknowledging the Card Player Latin America Player of the Year. This type of promotion is something that gives players an extra incentive to participate in more tournaments as well as encourage other players and fans to follow the progress of all players in the pursuit of the title.

This type of player promotion and the promotion world wide of Latin American events like the Latin American Poker Tour are shining a bright light on poker in the region as well as the great players coming out of Latin America. Some of the players making a splash on the world stage include Chilean Claudio Moya, Brazil’s Felipe Ramos, and Mexico City born J.C. Alvarado.

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Claudio Moya is a fifty-one year old businessman from Chile and the newest champion of the Latin America Poker Tour (LAPT) Peru Main Event, winning $135,576. The LAPT has become recognized as one of the world’s leading poker tours where Moya outlasted a three hundred and sixty-six player field. This win bettered Moya’s fourteenth place win last year at the same event, making him the fifth Chilean player to win this title.

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Felipe Ramos is another player who is becoming a face of Latin poker. Nicknamed “Mojave,” he is especially well known for his online presence, though he is becoming a formidable figure at the World Series of Poker and other major poker tours and events. In fact, Mojave has live poker earnings nearing a million dollars in addition to his success at online. As a face for poker on the whole, and Latin American poker in particular, Ramos is full of personality, heart, and talent.

These are just a few of the Latin American faces who are now showing up on television screens and computers of millions of fans all over the world. Their celebrity status will continue to drive the popularity of poker in Latin American, creating a fan base from which more players will surely arise. As the fan base continues to grow so too will the interests of business and poker entities who see the Latin American market as a great region for poker.

Toddler Raves at ‘Marvel Universe LIVE!’ “It Was Awesome!!!”


I thought this was for kids but let me say after reading the riveting reviews and seeing firsthand all the excited faces, I think the adults enjoyed it just as much as the kids. Unlike watching it on DVD or playing it on ps3, didn’t compare to watching ‘Marvel Universe LIVE!, with Spider-Man and Wolverine battling the most outrageous villains from the Marvel-verse.

It was like being in the Marvel Super Hero Movie. It was an awesome feeling! The pyroytecnics and the action in my face! said ‘Guebin’ from the The Luis Jimenez Show

You feel the energy when you see the special effects, stunts, martial arts, motorcycles tricks and more. From Spider-Man swinging, Black Widow Kon-Fu fighting, Captain America’s motorcycle tricks, and the Hulk smashing. There were lots of awesome stunts to please even these superhero fans.

“It was so cool! It was awesome!” said 3 year-old fan, Cristian Torres.

Feld Entertainment are the producers of this amazing stunt show. For those who don’t know, they are also the producers of ‘Disney on Ice‘ and the infamous ‘Ringling Bros. And Barnum & Bailey Circus‘ events. They are very familiar with the theory of putting “thoughts on paper” and recreating their “vivid imaginations on stage.” They have mastered a true platform for making a child’s dream come true and simultaneously reliving adult childhood memories.

Who was your favorite childhood hero?


Photos: Marlene Amaya-Vazquez,

The New York Liberty channeled their Latin side on “Nochelatina” night. DJ Lobo from La Mega 97.9 was in the zone and he got things warmed up for this Madison Square Garden Party. Kym Hampton, Liberty Ring of Honor legend and three time champion in Spain did the Liberty announcements in Spanish.

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Anna Cruz of Spain, the lone Latina player on the New York squad struggled but was still an effective playmaker. Yet at crucial points in the fourth quarter made some big plays. Cruz drove in traffic for a three point play, breaking a deadlock, then two plays later stole a pass at the key and in transtion found Swin Cash for layup to put them up by two with 7:01 remaining. With only 43 seconds left and the Liberty with a 64-61 lead Cruz drove to the paint with a serious determination on her face as she was fouled hard. She hit one of two three foul shots. She finished with 7 points, 3 rebounds, and 5 assists.

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After the game,K-Rose performed his hits including “Just the Way You Are” to fans who remained in the darkened arena, watching the lone Latin star belt out unique covers of 50’s hits in Bachata form and showed his accessibility by patiently taking photos with fans after his performance.

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All in All, a great night for Latinos and the WNBA’s New York Liberty.

8 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Latino


Katrina Laverne Taylor better known by her stage name Trina is a rapper and model from Miami, Florida. Trina’s father is Dominican and her mother is from the Bahamas.


Stacey Dash
Best known for her role as Cher’s (Alicia Silverstone) best friend in the hit 1995 comedy, “Clueless,” Dash is African American and Mexican.

BET Awards '12 - Arrivals

Tatyana Ali
She was the adorable Ashley Banks in the 90s sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and she is half Panamanian.


Yaya Dacosta
Best known as the runner-up on the third season of the hit reality competition America’s Next Top Model (2004), Yaya is of Brazilian, West African, and Native American descent.


Mariah Carey
The father of Singer, Songwriter, Producer and Actress is African American and Venezuelan.


Vanna White
Father of ‘Wheel of Fortune’ co-host was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

Variety & Women In Film Pre-Emmy Event presented by Yoplait Greek - Arrivals

Raquel Welch
Actress and ultimate sex symbol is English and Spanish-Bolivian descent.


Lynda Carter
Actress, Singer and the official Wonder Woman is Irish and Mexican.

FIRST LOOK: Zoe Saldana & the Star Trek Cast Get Gamed! [VIDEO]

In celebration of the new “Star Trek” installment starring Zoe Saldana, Chris Pine, & Zachary Quinto, the movie house that brought you the J.J. Abrams reboot of “Star Trek” is bring you the newest game for ALL gaming platforms — XBox, Playstation, & Wii — coming in early 2013!


The New Spiderman is BLA-TINO!

Peter Parker is dead and gone, but Spider-Man’s still slinging webs and fighting crime.

And it’s not just a new teenager climbing Manhattan buildings, it’s an entirely new crime-fighter, from the color of his suit to the complexion of his skin.

Meet Miles Morales, a half-black, half-Hispanic American teenager who, inspired to do good after the death of Parker at the hands of the Green Goblin, takes flight and has his first fight in the pages of Marvel Comics’ “Ultimate Fallout” No. 4, in comic shops on Wednesday.

The Ultimates imprint is separate from Marvel’s bigger universe where Parker is alive and well.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis, who has scripted every issue of Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man since it first debuted in 2000 to wide acclaim, maintained a new hero would replace Parker, felled in the pages of “Ultimate Spider-Man” No. 160 this summer.

But as to whom that was a closely guarded secret, until now.

Bendis said that the decision came down to the story, to keep it fresh and vital and new.

Morales, he explained, is nothing like his predecessor.

“He’s younger than Peter Parker, he’s coming from a completely different background, a completely different world view,” Bendis said. “It’s Peter Parker’s death that inspires this kid to step up.”

Bendis said his decision was made before actor Donald Glover’s efforts to be considered for next year’s Spider-Man film went viral. He had talked it over with Joe Quesada, Marvel’s chief creative officer.

“Joe and I talked about it at great length – what if he was an African-American and how interesting it would be,” Bendis said.

Later, he saw Glover on the television show “Community,” wearing Spider-Man pajamas, and knew he was on the right track.

Making Spider-Man a black character is not a publicity effort, it’s reflective of an industry keeping pace with modern society, said Axel Alonso, Marvel’s editor-in-chief.

“As someone who grew up on a steady diet of `Luke Cage, Hero For Hire’ and `Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu,’ I am personally invested,” he said.

“This was a conscious decision. Here at Marvel, we pride ourselves on reflecting the real world in all its diversity,” Alonso added, adding that Morales’ stories would be on par with those of Parker.

“Morales’ adventures will be fleshed out in the coming months with the start of “Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man” in September that is being illustrated by Sara Pichelli.

Bendis is excited about the possibilities that Morales brings.

“I’m now sitting with a pile of legitimately new Spider-Man stories to tell and that is the best news a writer could have,” he said.

Comic Book Artist Inspiration for Youth

By: John Rodriguez

Taking his artistic talents to Harlem Library, artist Ivan Velez Jr. is stepping out from behind his easel and is teaching a class made of seven kids how to draw the Japanese comic book art form known as Manga. At the Countee Cullen Library in Harlem on W. 136th Street, Velez Jr., 49, is not only showing his class how to draw but life lessons regarding human behavior in the process.

During a workshop involving Monsters, Velez asks his class “why do people make stories about monsters?” And he goes on to explain how Monsters are used to as a method of fear in order to control behavior. He also adds the importance of these stories is to show people how rise against crises through the use of myths. “In Tokyo, they have these natural disasters, like earthquakes and tsunamis. They have monsters as a way of dealing with it.” This concept that Velez relates to his students is something he can relate to.

As a young gay closeted teen growing up during the 1960s in the South Bronx, Velez used the world of monsters and heroes as a defense against his personal problems. “It wasn’t safe to talk about certain things. In that culture, you didn’t mention your sexual orientation. The shame was very strong.” So in order to overcome the shame and the restrictions of growing up during this constricting period, Velez escaped into this creative mind.

Teaching at libraries and other educational centers is Velez’s personal way of giving back, a way of giving back and finding the next generation of artists by providing guidance to them in order to find the strength in utilizing their creative voices. But before helping others, Velez sought help for himself. Seeking refuge within the pages of comic books like Superman, X-Men, and even Archie, Velez’s interactions with comic and kung fu movies provided sanctuary for him, “It was a way to escape the real world,” and encouraged him to pursue his own creative endeavors.

During his last year of college, Velez battled isolation and depression. Suffering from these ailments, he sought help at the Hetrick-Martin Institute on Astor Place to seek help from counselors about his developing sexual identity. It was there Velez that, “I had this thing in me, this part of me, that just wouldn’t stay quiet anymore,” and one way he spoke out was through the use of his artistic talents.

Entering the world of cartooning, Velez came up with the idea to write a “gay Archie” and after securing grant money he turned his idea for a comic into a reality. The creation was Tales of the Closet, a nine-part series about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender teens growing up in the Bronx. The comics were a success, “The first printing was about 10,000. We got through that in about six months. Then we had another printing. All in all we did about 100,000 of the first issue,” says Velez discussing the success of his comic.

The success of his comic was an impact on the comic book world, according to Velez his comic book was “a social-service comic book, and it was selling better than a lot of comics books in the mainstream.” The success of Velez’s comic paved the way for him to write comics for DC and Marvel, titles such as Ghost Rider, Blood Syndicate, and Static are just a few he has worked on. Despite his success in the comic book industry, Velez has devoted the past few years to teaching.

For the past few years, Velez has taught a class which has been designed to help and enabled urban youth to use art and cartooning as a way to change the popular comic culture. Velez describes the class as being an outlet for the students, “If you want to get out a message, it is probably one of the easiest forms to do it, because all you need is a pencil and paper. It’s very low-tech, and it has a very high potential to reach people.”

A young-adult specialist named, Christopher Shoemaker comments on the success of Velez class at the New York Public Library and its impact on the students since, “In addition to reading it compulsively, they are constantly sketching when they’re in the library. We really want to empower them to see how they can get their voice and their opinion and their personal expressions out there.”

At the library in Harlem, Velez’s students are focusing on the work of Manga, a popular Japanese-format of graphic storytelling. Using the Japanese art form, Velez intends for his students to “if anything, the most important thing I want them to learn is that…it’s possible to support characters who reflect who they are, who they like,” aside from providing the students with the knowledge of understanding and appreciating comics better than they have before.

Through his encounters with the young developing artists, Velez hopes that his impact upon them will lead them to impact others. “I know that at least I reached a couple of people. That’s what I want the kids to do–to reach people.”

A Monster Smash!

by: Casandra Kate Escobar

The makers of Moshi Monster share the secrets to their amazing on-line success; building a 30 million registered user platform that generates a $100-million consumer products program.  Moshi Monster,, is an interactive platform that lets kids engage with friends socially.  In the United States about 1.5 of every 6 Moshi Monster pet owners are Latino children.

Within 3 years, the founders of Moshi Monsters “burned” threw $9-million of investor money and at the doorstep of bankruptcy, found the way to “turn it” around.   How did they do it?  Behind the velvet ropes, Michal Smith, CEO of Mind Candy, shares the ten keys to building a successful on-line platform:

1. Fail Fast.  Failure is part of the equation of success, watch your steps and fail fast.

2. The Majority follows the Leader.  Position yourself to be the leader in your field.

3. Remember the $.  Have an accountant and budget to know your financial position at all times.

4. Don’t raise venture capital in the midst of a “melt-down!”  Be mindful of the money you borrow.

5. Keep It Social!  Kids love to share!  Humans love to share!

6. Build a sandbox.  Test out your idea before rolling it out big!

7. Story.  Engage the viewer with an on-going tension filled story.

8. Be a TV online.  Show kids content, give them a reason to tune in and find something new every day.

9. Think big!!!

10. Turn the industry upside down.  Dare to be innovative!

I suspect over the coming years many similar on-line success stories will be shared!