2007 World Series: Dario Takes a Hit

by Craig Cunningham

Dario Minieri built a monster stack yesterday, running over his table to take the chip lead. He's at the ESPN Feature Table today, and the table dynamics are much different.

Dario's in the 7s, and the other end of the table is the danger zone. David Tran (1s) is prolific tournament player on the LA scene, cashing in dozens of $100-500 events over the last several years. John Spadavecchia (2s) is a veteran player with one WSOP bracelet and eleven Final Tables, including 3rd place in the 1994 WSOP Main Event won by Russ Hamilton. Julian Gardner (3s) was runner-up to Robert Varkyoni in the 2002 WSOP main Event. Both are still in the tournament, and Gardner is recognized as one of Britain's best players.

"It's a tough table," Dario said at the first break. "I made a mistake early. I was too emotional with the television cameras and too aggressive. I have a good feeling now, and I think I can make the adjustments. I lost over 500k at that level."

Dario actually lost almost 600k, with most of it in a big pot with Alan Levin. Blinds started at 3k/6k with a 1k ante. Levin raised to 18k in the 5s, and Dario called in the small blind. The flop came 3d-Qh-2h. Levin checked, and Dario bet 30k. Levin min-raised to 60k, and Dario thought for ninety seconds. He then made it another 350k, putting Levin all-in. Levin thought for at least four minutes, not moving and not saying a word. He then called and showed A-Q to Dario's 5s-4s. Dario needed help, but Jc-7d sent the pot to Levin and took 380k away from Dario.

Spadavecchia and Gardner have stayed away from Dario, but both have played aggressively when they are in hands. Each made 3x raises to early position raises, and Spadavecchia busted Mitch Garshofsky with A-K vs Garshofsky's pocket threes. Dario isn't familiar with either man's game, but you can bet both are familiar with the type of game Dario plays. In fact, it was only ten years ago that another slight-framed, aggressive player sat in the ring of fire. His name was Stu Ungar.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in