2007 World Series: In Plural, Dario Takes a Hit

by Craig Cunningham

When we left Dario Minieri, he was regrouping at the first break. At the second break, he was re-regrouping, 980k lighter than before.

The test before Dario is straightforward yet difficult: can he change gears, can he keep his aggression ready yet adjust to the players, can the other players counterpunch with conviction, and can Dario get away from hands that he's collected mountains of chips with earlier in the Main Event?

He lost a big pre-flop hand when he mucked to David Tran in the 1s. He pushed Tran out of a pot with an all-in move into a 180k pot and a board of Jd-5s-6c-10c. His first hand of importance with Julian Gardner ended poorly. Dario raised to 20k, and Julian called in the big blind. The flop came 4d-10c-7c, and Gardner check/called Dario's 33k bet. Dario checked down the Jd-Qh turn and river, and Gardner showed Qc-8c for the flush draw that turned into top pair.

Dario was down to 1.55m from 1.98m at the first break when he got involved with ultra-tight Deb Blair. He raised to 28k on the button, and Blair called in the big blind. The flop came Qc-9h-Qs, and she bet 60k. He called, and 7d came on the turn. She bet 125k, and he moved all-in quickly. She instantly called. "When she called, stomach fell as she must have a queen," he said. She turned over Kh-9s for flopped second pair, and Dario's 8c-7c was way behind. Ah on the river sent the pot to Blair, and Dario had to count out 386k more. It was a very big hit, about 580k.

He won a couple of small pots to chip back up, but his crew of PokerStars players didn't feel good about his play. They chatted him up at the second break as he talked on his cell phone to other friends. Dario sits at 1.37m in chips, down from the 2.4m he started with. Yet he sits in the top fifteen in chips with the blinds very low.

No chipleader, no ESPN Feature Table. Gus Hansen took Scotty Nguyen and Jeff Banghart to the ESPN Feature Table, and Dario's table moved to a corner by the rail. Dario's continued to bleed chips, slipping below 700k as he continued to stumble. On a flop of Ad-10s-6s, Dario moved all-in for 561k, a giant overbet of the 150k pot. Philip Hilm thought for probably thirty seconds, then said, "I call." Dario knew he was in rough shape as he turned over Ks-Qh. As ESPN cameras sprinted over to the table, Hilm showed 9s-8s for the gutshot straight and straight flush draw. Hilm needed help but was actually ahead with two cards to come. 2d-10d brought fist pumps from Dario and head shaking throughout the room.

The roller coaster continued up for Dario in the sickest of fashions. Dario raised pre-flop, and Deb Blair called. The flop came 7h-5c-4s, and Blair bet out 110k. Dario called, and 3h came on the turn. She bet 200k, and Dario moved all-in. She told me at the break, "I knew I was going to call," in the earlier hand where she doubled up, and she must have known she was going to call again as she quickly called with her pocket tens. Dario turned over Jc-6d for the made straight, and no one saw the deuce of hearts hit the river. Deb Blair stood up stunned, much like Dario had a year ago. She left the Amazon Room smiling, and Dario Minieri was up to 2.6m.

He'd been to the felt, thinking he needed a jack for his gutshot straight against Hilm. In a blink of an eye, he doubled up then stole a million in chips from the one lady who took a sizable stack from him on Day 4. With Dario, at least it will always be an adventure.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in