EPT8 Monaco: Surging to the top, Castelluccio nears chip lead

ept-thumb-promo.jpgIt's been a while since an Italian won an EPT. You have to go back to December 2008 and a wintery EPT Prague to find Italy's solitary piece of silverware lodged in Salvatore Bonavena's hands. There was chatter that Bonavena's win would be the first of many, but that's all it was, harmless tittle-tattle. Italians continued to swarm EPT main events but none could follow in Bonavena's footsteps. That could all change now.

Sergio Castelluccio is currently second in chips with just 11 players left at the €10,000 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final. The Italian has been a regular on tour for the last couple of seasons scoring some decent runs in main events in Campione, Deauville, Barcelona and here in Monaco. Three years ago, the final which was won by Pieter De-Korver, Castelluccio finished 16th for €64,000. It was a good cash and his second recorded live result which kickstarted two years of annual live tournaments winnings in excess of $250,000, partly thanks to winning an IPT main event. Last year, however, was somewhat barren with just $25,625. That trend is about to reverse.

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Sergio Castelluccio at the TV feature table

Eleven players remain... Scratch that, nine players remain and each player has €95,000 locked up but Castelluccio's stack all but guarantees him a solid six-figure score (apparently it's more than three million large now) with the possibility of following Bonavena up the podium, so to speak. I caught up with the Italian at the last break. His English was certainly better than my Italian but yet another Pidgin English interview began:

How is your day going?

"I'm going fine by now. Last level I increase my stack very much," said Castelluccio.

It's now about two million? Maybe more?

"I don't count it myself but I think more than two millions. Yes, more than two millions now. Two millions and a half maybe."

Of the people on your table, who are you worried about? Who do you think is scary? (inward cringe as I splutter that one out)

"I'm scary of nobody but there are good players, all good players I think."

And with that a universal handshake was offered and accepted leaving Castelluccio to catch up with his Italian rail. Since then we've lost two more players and a final table seat draw should be with us soon.

Tournament snapshot
Level 27: blinds 25,000-50,000, ante 5,000
Players: 11 of 665
Average stack: 1,813,500
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Rick Dacey
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour