Home away from home

August 25, 2014

Poker has always given me the opportunity of travelling a lot, and often I found my home on a plane, in a hotel, or on a train. Up to now I had never been so far from Italy for so long as I have been in recent months.

Most part of this latest period I was heart-and-soul-devoted to an ambitious project that, from the first moment PokerStars proposed it, had me excited.


The project is “La Casa Degli Assi,” the first Italian Talent Show dealing with poker and every aspect of it. The show broadcast was on the national channel “Italia 1” up to Monday August 4, and comments on and analysis of the show in general and its winner (Daniele Palini) still continue on forums and social networks. On the whole, the show was a success in terms of audience and television critics.

Everything started in the first months of the year with the casting in Milan and Rome. At the time, I was aware that I would be present at most of them. People literally flooded to the selection. It was clear, this was going to be a hit.

I met and talked with hundreds of people and learned that to hold a casting interview you need to act as a psychologist, something that happens in poker more frequently than you might guess. It tookme back to the time when I shared the same dreams and started to realize the beauty of spending my life at the poker table.

The show was mainly aimed at creating an immense poker school where everyone, both the competitors and people following the show from home, could learn by testing their own ability and collecting advice and suggestions from the excellent Alberto Russo, the whole team of experts, and me.

The team included the fitness coach Mariella Pellegrino, who won more than one heart inside the house, the mental coach Silvia Pasqualetti, the head-hunter Daniela Gelmi, the expert in nonverbal communication Francesco Di Fant, and obviously the whole Team Pro and Team Online of PokerStars.it.

At the end of the selection, we all travelled to Morocco to start the shooting. I fell in love with the country at first sight.

We had to cope with all the scary chatter and fables we heard and read about Morocco before leaving, but we forgot all of that as soon as we reached the North African country.
We found acceptant people, an astonishing location, and a great climate )which was not so burning hot as you might think).

While we were there, we all got along very well. We made some strong friendships and got to know each other as real people.

Back from Morocco, I left for a long journey in the United States where I played some tournaments in the World Series Of Poker and visited some relatives in Los Angeles before going back to Las Vegas to play the Main Event.

Now, we are already working with PokerStars to organize IPT Sanremo which will take place from September 4th to 8th. I hope to see you all there.


Luca Pagano is a member of Team PokerStars Pro


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