WSOP Main Event: The new Colosseum
by Howard Swains
It's unlikely that Dario Minieri has spent much of his life as a bully. A quick glance at our PokerStars Supernova from Rome, Italy, reveals a wee slip of a lad - glinting gold jewellery notwithstanding, he's unlikely to have been striding out Russell Crowe-style to Gladiator-whip a bunch of lions for the baying Colosseum crowds.
Poker, however, does not require chains, pikes nor even pecks. Brawn is measured in chips and Dario has a bundle. I stood with him for an orbit and hour or so ago and, from the ten hands on offer, Dario won three, including a walk in the big blind when no one dared tangle.
It's the usual big stack's fun-day. Those with meagre overnight holdings have shoved in already, doubling up or heading home double quick. Those with medium stacks have what they consider to be a sniff of the money, so are making the prudent lay-downs and protecting what they have.
Ha! Some chance, spit the chip leaders. Dario and his cohorts with column beside column of multi-coloured discs are the puppet masters, teasing and tempting with tickler bets, over-raises, flat-calling then baffling and bullying on a nine-high flop.
The Rio is the new Colosseum - and Dario may be Maximus yet.