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Assassinato sets sights on EPT San Remo
It's final table time in San Remo on the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour and on Thursday afternoon eight lucky finalists will face off for more than €1.5 million.
At first glance, it's a final table devoid of star power, but there's no shortage of exciting finalists here on the Italian Riviera.
Among the final eight is 21-year-old Alex Fitzgerald, a Seattle-based online pro who has become a staple on PokerStars-run tournaments around the world.
Fitzgerald, who goes by "Assassinato" on most online sites, has qualified into tournaments on the European, Asia Pacific and Latin American Poker Tours but hasn't managed any major scores as of yet.
He comes into play on Thursday fifth in chips with 721,000.
"I feel great," he told PokerListings.com. "I really didn't feel like I played that well today.
"I've bubbled a lot of final tables where I felt like I was playing my best, but today I felt like I got pretty lucky."
That said, Fitzgerald is not going to let today's sub-par performance affect his final table outlook.
"This is the biggest tournament I've ever gone deep in and I'm just going to come in tomorrow and treat it like it's a new day," he said.
The former commercial fisherman turned pro at age 18 and now makes his living online playing the big buy-in MTTs and mid-level cash games.
Among his biggest scores is a fifth-place finish in the Sunday Million last September for $54,000 and a victory in the $100 rebuy on Full Tilt Poker for $31,150 earlier this month.
So how do live tournaments like these compare to the big online donkaments?
"In live tournaments I can pick up on a few more tells," Fitzgerald said. "I can see how comfortable or uncomfortable a person is at the tables and make a few more decisions based on someone's appearance or age, but the basic math remains the same.
"I'll try not to freak myself out when I snap-shove for ten big blinds."
Fitzgerald told PokerListings.com he has a decent read on most of his competition.
"Constant Rijkenberg is incredibly reckless, but he doesn't really care, which is pretty good in tournaments," he said. "He doesn't have many chips anymore, so he may not be as dangerous."
Of Dragan Galic, who has held the end-of-day chip lead after every day in the tournament, Fitzgerald said, "He's playing decently. He seems to want to gamble, which could be a problem."
William Reynolds is the second American at the table and though the Iowa native has very little in the way of live tournament results, Fitzgerald told PokerListings he thought highly of his countryman's cash-game skills.
Romania's Ovi Balaj is a "dead standard player who's maybe a little too tight," but Swede Gustav Sundell, whose 2.6 million is second only to Galic's 3.2, is the player to watch.
"He's sick," Fitzgerald said. "Very calculated and calm. I don't want to give away too much of what I know about him, but he's probably the one I like most to win it. Him or William Reynolds."
"Or me," he said.
Final table action kicks off at 2 p.m. local time from the Casino San Remo. Follow along with all of the action in the PokerListings.com Live Tournaments section.
Get full chip counts here.