I've been watching Dario Minieri since Day 1 of the Main Event, and he is my pick for this year's winner.
I know, most of you all are thinking, who the heck is this kid with the Harry Potter scarf? Well, he's an online cash game player from Rome, Italy who hasn't been on the scene very much.
But he's won enough money online to buy himself a Porsche. So let's just say, this kid can play.
During a break from bubble time at Day 3 of the Main Event, I caught up with him to pick his brains a bit. He seemed quite anxious, despite his huge stack - $650,000, which puts him currently in fourth place.
Here's what the young Italian had to say:
Sorry, my English is not very good.
Don't worry about it - why don't you just tell me how your day is going so far?
I am feeling very good because I started the day with $330,000 and now I've got $700,000. I'm getting very lucky because I'm getting many good cards. I hope my luck will stay, and that I won't lose it.
I notice you going all-in a whole lot.
Yeah, I'm very aggressive. I play very aggressive because my table is letting me do that. I like that. I hope that I can do that again when the block [bubble] is up.
I remember seeing you on Day 2 and your chip stack was going up and down like crazy - what was up with that?
Yeah, such crazy tables. I don't know - wherever, I go, there are such crazy tables. I think this table is a little crazier too!
What's your goal today for Day 3?
Goal? What I wanna do? Goal means what I wanna do…um, I don't have goals. I think having goals is bad because it makes you play bad. So I just play poker, I just play my cards for myself.
So you're very young - I suppose you're an online player?
Yes, I play online quite a bit.
I heard you bought a car with your online cashes -
Yes, yes, I cashed in my FPP's and bought a car with my points on Poker Stars!
What kind of car was it?
It was a Porsche Cayman S. Yeah it was crazy and I was very happy about that.
You're always wearing this scarf. Is it lucky or what?
What do you call this? (fingering his scarf) What did you just say?
Scarf. Okay. This Scarf is for my football team club in my country. AS Roma [Associazione Sportiv Roma].
You are aware that it looks like Harry Potter's scarf, right?
(Laughs.) Yeah everyone tells me that. Yeah it's funny!
So how are you feeling today, mentally?
Very good. I don't want to think at all about the tournament or about what I'm doing, because I think that if I did, I wouldn't play how I would in a normal [circumstance]. So I don't wanna think about anything. I just wanna think I'm running good, and [pretend] that this is a normal tournament and that's what I want to think.
Well good luck for the rest of the day Dario!
Thanks a lot!
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And that was it - he went off, calling his friends to report on his chip counts, and looking for other players he knows to see where they're at, chip-wise.
My money's on Dario - let's see how far he can go!