2008 World Series: Dario Minieri snags first bracelet

ESPN 360 commentator Nick Geber called him the "baby-faced assassin." PokerStars blogger Howard Swains dubbed him "Super Dario." Noted poker writer Paul McGuire called him "Scarf Boy." Now, Dario Minieri has a new title: World Series bracelet winner.

Tonight, Team PokerStars Pro Dario Minieri won the $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Handed event, pocketing $528,418.

Minieri entered the final table with a substantial chip lead, and with four players remaining, he eliminated Kevin Song with A8 vs. KJ. When the hand was over, Minieri couldn't stack his chips fast enough for the floor to count.

"How much I got now? I don't know!" Minieri asked with a smile, his Italian accent coming out a little more than usual.

"I don't know," the TD responded, his eye on Minieri's pile of chips. "I haven't gotten that far yet."

The eventual answer: more than 3.5 million...more than twice what his opponents had...combined.


Three-handed play was a grind, and one that wasn't kind to Minieri. He lost a race with AK vs Seth Fischer's JJ. Then Justin Filtz got all-in with a wheel draw and a diamond flush draw to Minieri's higher flush draw and Broadway draw. Minieri was a big favorite, but Filtz made his wheel on the turn and Minieri couldn't catch up.

"I didn't want to come in third, because I came in third on two European Poker Tours. It was a nightmare," Minieri said.

He wasn't kidding. Minieri has two final table appearances on the EPT. His first came in Baden during Season 3. He finished third. A year later, he made the final table in San Remo, Italy. Again, it was a third place finish.

All was not lost, however, and Minieri kept the pressure on. After the dinner break, Fischer dealt Filtz a soul-crushing defeat--AK vs AA where the big slick came out the winner. That gave Fischer the advantage going into heads-up play with Minieri. The early going was not what Minieri wanted to see. Before long, he was down nearly 3-1 in chips. His aggression nearly got the best of him. He bluffed all-in with 3s4s and got snap-called. He looked up see he was up against two kings. At first it appeared Minieri might draw out with a spade flush. Instead, the turn and river went runner-runner fours, giving Minieri trips and the game-saving double-up.

From there, Minieri didn't look back. Over the next few hands, he ate into Fischer's stack. When Fischer finally pushed with KdTd, it was Minieri's turn to snap call. Pocket queens held up and the young Italian won his first bracelet.

"I have never seen so many bad beats in one day. I feel very lucky," he said.


Before tonight, Minieri had not recorded a major live poker win. He now has his first victory, first World Series bracelet, and first opportunity to say he has more than $1 million in career winnings.

Congratulations, Dario, on your first bracelet.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker