WSOP Main Event Day 1C: "Ciao" for hello, "Ciao" for goodbye
Scattered through the Amazon and Pavilion Rooms today are countless red shirts of the Spanish national football team. They won their World Cup semi-final in South Africa this afternoon and they're happy. (The pain is reserved for any German face in the room; their white shirts are stained with the tears of the defeated.)
Pretty much all European countries have soccer ingrained in their culture - Spain and Germany very much included - but you would struggle to find a country more football-obsessed than Italy. The Italian league winners, Internazionale, are the current holders of the European Cup and until a few weeks ago, the Italian national team were the reigning champions of the world.
And then it all went wrong. After two desperately disappointing matches against New Zealand and then Paraguay, Italy lost against Slovakia and were dumped out of the competition at the first hurdle. The country went into national mourning. It was as though the Prime Minister and the Pope clubbed together and decreed that all Italians must sit indoors in the dark for a period of three weeks and, if outside, faces must look sullen.
The good news for poker fans is that the period of mourning ended yesterday. And that's why there's been a sudden rush to the Rio of Italians - chief among them the Team PokerStars Pro trio of Dario Minieri, Luca Pagano and Pierpaolo Fabretti. They all opted to play on day 1C and have taken their seats in the massive field.
It's been a case of so far, so typical for all of them. For Pagano, that means a solid start, tucked in the middle of the red section in the Amazon Room. For Minieri, that means a fleeting appearance in the Pavilion Room, a boom and then a bust. For Fabretti, it means getting a bunch of chips in the middle with 6♣8♣ and rivering a flush.
More details: As Pagano returned from the first break of the day and peered down at about 29,000 in chips, Minieri was already back in his room. No one saw his elimination, but thankfully our photographer Joe Giron snapped him while he was still here. Had Minieri hung around long enough, he would have been joined at table 56 by Patrik Antonius. That would have been quite a contest.
Fabretti, meanwhile, has a touch of the Minieris about his game. I passed by his table to see a long splash of chips in front of him - one orange chip (5,000), three yellow (1,000 each), one blue (500), six black chips (100 each) and two green (25 each). That made 9,150.
The board was dealt all the way to the river: Q♠9♣4♦7♣A♣ and Fabretti's opponent called the bet after a moment's thought. Fabretti showed that flush, his opponent tabled A♥Q♦ and shot some daggered glances at Fabretti.
PROBABLE CHIP-LEADER OF THE HOUR
Newly-minted Team PokerStars Pro David Williams, sitting on 126,000
PHIL HELLMUTH ARRIVAL QUOTE OF THE HOUR
"There's usually some pretty good girls though."
KINDLE READ OF THE HOUR
Terrence Chan reading Michael Lewis' "Moneyball"
STATISTIC OF THE HOUR
Number of people watching Joe Cada play at feature table: 68
PROPOSITION BET OF THE HOUR
PokerStars Blogger Brad Willis is offered $200 to eat bowl of jalapeno relish. He declined.
TWEET OF THE HOUR
RaSZI (Lex Veldhuis): "Have little under 30k, had 77 vs AA on 789A5 and 77 v KJcc on T76ccc so that kunda sucked."
SAD POKERSTARS BLOGGER OF THE HOUR
Robin of the German PokerStars Blog, for reasons that should be apparent to anyone who watched the World Cup this morning. Robin took this photo of German Team Pro Jan Heitmann watching the match.
REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE YEAR
"I'm hoping I'm not still here at the weekend. You know, I've got stuff to do." - overheard conversation between players.