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2010 November Nine: Filippo Candio
When November rolls around, Filippo Candio could become the first Italian to win the WSOP Main Event.
"Now that I'm a part of the November Nine, I feel it's my great opportunity," he said. "I'm the first Italian that has even made the final table of the WSOP Main Event. It's amazing."
The 26-year-old of Cagliari, Sardinia, has already secured $811,823 but in November he will try to parlay his 16 million chips into $8.9 million.
In many ways Candio is the biggest darkhorse at the final table. Despite some success on the Italian Poker Tour, Candio has had very little experience playing poker in North America and there isn't much information on his game.
Candio studied Greek and Latin in school and had plans to study law, just like his father who is a well-known lawyer in Sardinia.
Instead Candio decided to pursue the dream of poker and developed into a solid cash game player. Before making the final table of the Main Event, Candio played middle-stakes No-Limit Hold'em including 2/5, 5/10 and occasionally 10/20.
"Even though I'm a cash game player my dream was to make the final table of the WSOP Main Event," he said.
A close friend of established Italian pro Max Pescatori, Candio actually met the "Italian Pirate" by knocking him out of a tournament Candio went on to win in San Remo for €140,000.
"At the time players were saying he made a bad play against me," said Pescatori. "He's just an aggressive player though. I defended his play."
Candio had the dubious distinction of being on the winning side of the one of the biggest suckouts of the 2010 WSOP Main Event.
In the hand Candio cracked Joseph Cheong's pocket aces with a paltry 7-5 in a bad beat that will almost certainly be shown on ESPN.
Candio mentioned he was going to have to elevate his game if he wants beat players like Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, Joseph Cheong and Jonathan Duhamel.
"I want to study a lot for this final table," he said. "I'm going to find a coach. I worked hard to get here."
Although Italy has a strong stable of well-known pros, which includes Team PokerStars members Dario Minieri, Luca Pagano and Pescatori, Candio has the chance to become the Italian Chris Moneymaker and he's well aware of the fact.
"I want to [promote] poker in Italy," he said. "Poker is a great thing. When you study and you work hard, you'll make a score."
Whatever happens, it's obvious Candio is enjoying every minute of making the 2010 November Nine.
"It's an incredible situation and I love it."
The 2010 WSOP Main Event final table begins Nov. 6, with a winner crowned on Nov. 8.