EPT10 GrandFinal: Fundaro, now the orange wedge question

Here's a question from the soon to be released edition of Trivial Pursuit (worth an orange wedge).

Q. Who was Victoria Coren Mitchell's heads-up opponent when she made poker history by winning a second EPT title?

I'll give you a few seconds to have a guess. Got it? Right.

It's a cliché even to suggest that the runner-up is always forgotten. But these days, with so many titles up for grabs, it's pretty much mandatory. In fact, to the seasoned professional it's the best position to finish, particularly after an equitable chop, as it means you can skip the bulk of the media attention that comes with the large non-hand-luggage silverware, and slip away quietly, and rich.

For the railbird, or the fan watching at home, second place is not a position that often sticks in the mind, but for another type of player it's not at all rosy. Like for the player who will for ever be the answer to the question posed above: Italian pro Giacomo Fundaro.


Giacomo Fundaro_ept10monaco_d1b.jpg

Giacomo Fundaro

Fundaro, who is himself a WPT winner, just happened to be on the receiving end of EPT history last week in Sanremo, and the unstoppable performance of Coren Mitchell.

But while he might not be remembered, he played a small part in making Coren Mitchell's moment even more memorable. For behind every great winner is, for lack of a better expression, a great loser. Few people noticed Fundaro in those moments in which he stood defeated. But Fundaro excelled.

For her part Coren Mitchell could hardly speak, but managed to say "unlucky" to Fundaro. But he was having none of it. "You played very well," he said warmly. "Congratulations."

With that, he left Coren Mitchell to take the applause on stage as he made his way off it. He had been all smiles on stage but no camera watched the Italian leave. Had they done so they would have seen that he looked like he was walking away from a car crash. But, he bottled it up, and kept it private, allowing Coren Mitchell her well-deserved moment. Having seen this it was hard to feel anything but admiration.

A week later and you wonder if all of that is already forgotten. While Coren Mitchell has undergone a week of interviews and appearance, Fundaro has returned to the life of the jobbing pro, back at work here in Monte Carlo, starting afresh on a campaign for EPT silverware.

His table is hardly the place to start such a campaign, featuring as it does Barry Greenstein, Benny Spindler and Antoine Saout. But Fundaro will hopefully be empowered to put in an equally good display this time around. For he does good "final table", as the EPT likes a good winner.

All the hand-by-hand action, including chip counts, will be in the panel at the top of the main event page. We will have feature pieces below that.

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.