2010 PCA High Roller: Dario Minieri leads star-studded field

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpgWhat can we say about Dario Minieri that has not been said before? Well, we could say he is six foot tall, but no-one would ever believe that. Instead, we'll have to make do with a bit of an old chestnut: the diminutive Team PokerStars Pro is a fearlessly aggressive and accomplished poker player.

Anyone who has paid even only the slightest attention to poker over the past few years will know what Minieri is about. His reputation means he has nothing to prove; his game does all the talking. And so it did today. A field of 84 players in this high-profile $25,000 high roller event was treated like a plaything by the Italian today, as he raised and pushed his way to a 218,600 stack that would top an impressive array of talent by the end of the night.

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Dario Minieri

He did that after spending all seven one-hour levels on the designated table of death (and you can imagine a table of death in a high roller event is quite a terrifying prospect). Sharing the felt with Minieri today were the likes of fellow Team PokerStars Pros ElkY, Alex Gomes, and William Thorson, as well as Bennie Spindler, Kevin Saul and Hafiz Khan. Of that lot, Gomes, Spindler and Khan bust out, while ElkY, who won this event last year, was left to bag up just 7,200 chips at the end of the night. That puts him bottom of the chip counts, a place in which he is unaccustomed to be. Credit to Thorson, then, who finished with 70,400.

But today was not all about the Minieri table. Just behind him at the close of play was Team PokerStars Pro Lex Veldhuis from Holland on 214,500 and the current WSOP world champion Joe Cada on 164,000. While we lost a fair few from the Team Pro stable, including John Duthhie, Humberto Brenes, Leo Fernandez, Barry Greenstein and Jason Mercier, others survived. Greg Raymer, Daniel Negreanu, Sandra Naujoks (who moved to Minieri's table near the close of play), Chad Brown and Andre Akkari all bagged up chips and will return at noon later today (Tuesday) for day 2.

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Lex Veldhuis

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Joe Cada

There will be 52 coming back, and after a quick nap we'll be here to do this all over again. You can review the day's coverage at your leisure right here...

ElkY returns to defend his crown
Levels 1 & 2
Levels 3 & 4
Levels 5 & 6
Level 7

Thanks to Joe Giron for the photography. We always applaud someone who carries a mountain of expensive-looking equipment around while we just make do with a pen and a scrap of paper.

See you tomorrow, and we'll leave you with a photo of Sandra Naujoks, which was a snap we picked completely at random from today's file. Honest.

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Sandra Naujoks