There’s a fast growing fascination with the game of poker in Italy, harder to explain than to simply point at the 701 who played this event last year and the 1,178 who turned up to play in season five. It’s more than that and the game is burning into the soul of Italy’s railbirds, so much so that no angle can be left uncovered.

Italian camera men are happy to cover these angles, showing almost intrusive determination to get their shot. A player could be leaning over his chips, getting a birds-eye view of the board, totally unaware that a small pocket camera has emerged from between his elbows to capture the “chip-eye view” image of the whole scene.

Another just popped by Joao Barbosa’s table, actually occupying the vacant seat two for some total immersion footage. When the replacement player arrived there was reluctance on the part of the camera man to concede.

The hand he was trying to capture involved an Italian player and a certain Joao Barbosa.
Barbosa has flown under the radar this season, despite his EPT Warsaw win, accumulated a record six cashes in season five alone. The man doesn’t understand the meaning of elimination. So when he got involved in a pot against a young local player in seat three you could sense it might not be the Italian’s day.

Barbosa made it 1,900 pre-flop from the button which was called. A flop of 5♠6♣9♣. Seat three checked before Barbosa bet 3,000, waiting for his opponent to act with an expression suggesting he was counting in his head really fast. The answer came “all-in” which Barbosa called, easily covering the Italian. K♣K♦ for Barbosa, 9♦7♣ for the soon to be departed.

The turn and river, A♣A♠ ended this one. Barbosa got up to shake hands, and then counted out his 52,000.

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