EPT11 Grand Final: Forza Italia

Watch enough poker and you'll see this situation pop up. A player bets the river and his opponent can't call but really wants to see his opponent's cards. The opening gambit in the negotiation is 'will you show if I fold?' if this is declined then the ante might be upped to 'how much to show'? $20, $50, how high will they go?

Well, Italian's love coffee and coffee is expensive in Monte Carlo so for Mustapha Kanit his price was a cappuccino. Steve O'Dwyer had wandered over from a neighbouring table and Kanit was busy stirring his free cup of Joe. "Steve, Steve," Kanit said excitedly. "I get this cappuccino for free. He (Yury Gulyy) said he'd buy me a coffee if he fold and I show. Coffee for free!"


Free coffee makes this man happy

Just 10 players off the money Kanit finds himself at a very tough table, one that contains Gulyy, Fabrice Soulier, Quan Zhou, Noah Vaillancourt and fellow Italian Dario Sammartino. Both Sammartino (4th €100,000 Super High Roller, €709,500) and Kanit (1st, €50,000 Super High Roller, €936,500) have put up impressive results already in Monaco this week. Sammartino sits 8th on the all-time Italian money list, whilst Kanit's win took him to the top of the Italian money list. They're the two brightest lights in a burgeoning Italian renaissance of poker. As Kanit said to Soulier. "Italians sponsor the EPT for a long time, now we get a little back and everyone complains! 1,500 players in Sanremo, 700 of whom don't even know the rules! Now only a few remain."

Kanit and Sammartino are polar opposites at the table, the latter looks at his cards only when the action gets to him, whilst Kanit checks them long before. Sammartino expends as little energy as possible and is a quiet stoic presence. Kanit though can't sit still. Having folded a hand he bounded over to Jason Mercier's table and placed his hands on the American's shoulders and they had a little natter before he returned back to his table. Seeing action was still pending at his table Kanit stood back from his chair and bounced one of his feet - which were clad in brown sandals - on the floor in time to the music he was listening to.


Kanit is usually smiling at the table

When that hand finished he sat back down and got involved in the next pot, raising to 8,500 from under-the gun, a third Italian -Sergio Castelluccio - had joined the table and he three-bet to 17,000. Action was now on Noah Vaillancourt he looked very interested but ended up folding. Soulier was in the big blind and requested a count of the three-bet, he too folded as did Kanit. "You fold ace-jack?" asked Kanit to Vaillancourt. "No I had a pair," he replied. "Security. Get this man out of here," joked Kanit!

On the next hand it folded round to Soulier in the small blind and Soulier said. "You want to see a flop? To which Kanit replied. "You can give me a walk, next tournament I give you a walk, I promise. Although I'm a liar so don' trust me. You can call, calling is fun! You probably lose though!"

Whether it was down to this speech wizardry or Soulier's holding the Frenchman gave Kanit a walk and the Italian squeezed one card for the Italian to see. "You were ahead," said Soulier. That pot further increased Kanit's stack and with around 400,000 he's one of the tournament chip leaders.

In the orbit the PokerStars Blog observed it was Sammartino who was the more active of the two players. He was playing a stack of around 40 big blinds at the start of the orbit and on two occasions he opened pots and then folded to a three-bet from Vaillancourt, once he three-bet Soulier and folded to a four-bet and he also opened another pot which he took uncontested.


Dario Sammartino

Neither is in much trouble of busting before the bubble so both look set to add another Monaco flag to their list of results.

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