EPT Prague: Va benne for El Diablo

7.15pm -- Kristian Kjondal may have something of the wolf, but Gino Alacqua has something far more sinister to him. With four players left Gino sits on one side opposite the dealer, Arnaud, Juha and Kristian sit on the other side, together, led by the dealer. The way they’re positioned it looks like it’s Gino against the others, or perhaps Gino, in neat suit and tie, is here for an interview, as the leader of a youth group or something.

But that analogy would suggest weakness. And a hand involving Gino involves theatre and style, passion and strength. He may be the new master.

After a Juha bet and a Kristian raise, Gino has the decision. He leans back and his face begins to grow red. His nickname is El Diablo – ‘the devil’, and it suddenly becomes clear why.

His white shirt covers a big belly which he proudly shoves forward. Then with maximum drama he flings his blood red tie over his left shoulder. Was that a gasp form he crowd? Hands clasped, had he long yellow finger nails it would be like watching Satan himself play cards. He looks over at Kristian, or is it into the soul of Kristian? Unless Kristian has no fear he should fold.

Gino 'El Diablo' Alacqua

Suddenly he sits back upright, shakes the shoulders of his jacket and loosens his collar slightly, dabbing away some sweat from his forehead. He either wants everyone to know that he’s warm, or doesn’t care that everyone will see that he’s warm. But by the way he acts all this is under his control, every move pre-ordained, Gino can take whatever time he needs.

Someone Italian says something and Gino looks over. The thought “don’t annoy him” entered my mind but close up he seems friendly. Or is that his first trick?

He mucks. Kristian wins the hand. Gino stands up, friendly now. “Va benne?” someone asks. He makes faces of pain and irritation. Players take a break.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in