Dario Minieri was one of Italy's original poker superstars but after a few dry years he's hoping to mount a comeback at the WSOP.
His hyper-aggressive style got him to three EPT final tables and put a WSOP bracelet on his wrist in 2008. It also made him a hero to a generation of young Italian poker players.
There seemed to be no stopping him but, all of a sudden, the results failed to come and he’s hardly made a ripple in the poker world these past two years.
Minieri: A Poker Icon to Look Up To
Roberto Baggio. Valentino Rossi. Paolo Maldini. Alberto Tomba. Marco Pantani. Italians have always needed a sporting icon to look up to and they need this Roman back to his lethal best.
Will the 2013 WSOP be the start of something big for Minieri? He already cashed in the $3k Shootout and, at the time of publishing, was one of the big stacks with just two tables left in the $5k Pot-Limit Hold’em.
PokerListings caught up with him as he started to get the ball rolling.
PokerListings: This is your second cash of the series. How's this tournament going for you?
Dario Minieri: I feel very good up until now. Yesterday was very important for me and I was close to getting my stack up to 700,000 for nearly 25% of the chips in play but I lost ace-king to queens.
I want to forget that today and keep going. I was very lucky for the most part yesterday and I was also very concentrated which is a very good mix to have. I hope to be able to repeat such a mix to day.
PL: The long bubble period in this tournament seemed to be fruitful for you yesterday. Talk us through that.
"It’s tough in a World Series tournament to abuse the bubble."
I had a very lucky situation at the table because I was the chip leader and the other stacks were smaller than me and they weren’t trying to bully the table.
I found a lot of good spots as there were short stacks to my left.
Yes, the bubble period was very good and it’s tough in a World Series tournament to abuse the bubble.
This tournament didn’t have a lot of runners so when there’s 27 players left everyone wants to make the money and no one is willing to risk busting. That was a lucky factor for me.
PL: The last couple of years have been a bit dry for you, in terms of results. How important is it for you to come back and make an impact in the poker world?
I need to make a comeback and I I think I’m doing it right now. I’m so concentrated on what I’m doing and have the hunger to win more bracelets.
I didn’t do anything in the last two years and I hope to change it now.
PL: Have you altered your game in anyway to aid this comeback?
I always try to sharpen up my game at the table and I feel I’m more mature than I was. There’s not I’ve done to change my overall style or anything like that though.
PL: Poker exploded in Italy a few years ago. What’s happening there right now?
It’s still growing. There was a period, due to difficulties in the economy, where the growth was not that significant, but I think now it is going to grow more and more.
This game is so beautiful. You get to socialize with people; to put yourself on the line and to train your brain up. You have to think so much at the table.
Everyone in Italy would love that if they just new what it is all about. I’m sure that, for these reasons, it’s going to continue to grow.