Friday, 2nd December 2022 20:55
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It was a bad day yesterday for Luca Pagano. Despite the deepest of stacks and all the experience in the world, Pagano departed in something like level five, consigning him to a round of media interviews today and a stroll around Kyiv. But one thing we have learned over the past couple of years on the EPT is that poker-playing Italians are like gremlins dropped in water: there are always many, many more of them than you first thought.

Here in Kyiv is no exception. Far from it, in fact. They have had to travel at least as far as most of the players here, but the redoubtable Italian contingent has arrived, meaning the level of vocal support has pretty-much doubled and the action has loosened to a frightening degree.

Leading all this chaos, of course, is Pagano’s friend and Team PokerStars Pro colleague Dario Minieri. Level one wasn’t quite finished before Minieri was all in for the first time (he won; all the details are on our level-by-level updates post), and as usual, Minieri is the railbirds’ principal prey. They’ve found a way to flock around him despite the most efficient security services we’ve seen on the EPT.

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Dario Minieri

This morning, Minieri was spotted hanging around the hotel with another friend of his, and another notable poker talent, Andrea Benelli. Benelli had a storming season five on the EPT, cashing in London, Warsaw, Deauville and Copenhagen, and making the final table of two of those. He was seemingly always with a huge stack of chips, or heading out the door having lost them in a boom or bust moment. It’s no wonder Benelli and Minieri are friends.

It doesn’t stop there. Kyiv marks the debut in the Team PokerStars Italy colours of Pierpaolo Fabretti, a 24-year-old pro from Rome. Fabretti followed the Magic: The Gathering path into poker (as trodden by Minieri and Noah Boeken) and began playing high stakes sit and gos and multi-table tournaments online.

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Pierpaolo Fabretti

Fabretti also qualified for EPT San Remo and EPT Warsaw on PokerStars and joined the national team soon after.

And there’s more: sliding into the seat next to Leo Fernadez this afternoon in Ukraine was the inimitable figure of Alfonso Amendola. “What’s the name of that Italian guy who dresses like a Texan?” asked a member of the press pack today, and everyone instantly knew who he meant. Amendola is a popular figure on the EPT and is, simply, an Italian who dresses like a Texan. He’s here today, replete in stetson and button-down shirt.

Francesco Ciriani, who made a final table in Prague is also in the building. And even our PokerStars blog feature seat is occupied by an Italian: Michele Limongi. What chance another Italian-dominated final table?

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ITALIAN CHIP COUNT UPDATE SPECIAL

Dario Minieri — 55,800
Andrea Benelli — 23,100
Pierpaolo Fabreitti — 39,200
Francesco Ciriani — 62,000

Don’t forget you can get the latest chip counts on the chip counts page. You can also click the red blinking link. Go on, click it.

CLICK HERE FOR CHIP COUNTS

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STATISTIC OF THE LEVEL

Number of players from Finland at EPT Kyiv: 0
Number of journalists from Finland at EPT Kyiv: 2

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MAKING THE BEST OF IT OF THE LEVEL

Finnish poker journalist 1: “But we have three dealers here.”
Finnish poker journalist 2: “And they have a good chance of making the final table.”

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CHIP LEADER OF THE LEVEL

It’s still our Russian chess grandmaster, Alexander Grischuk, who now has about 73,000

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RED BLINKING LINK OF THE LEVEL

CLICK HERE FOR CHIP COUNTS

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NEIL STODDART’S PHOTO MASTERCLASS

This one is called: “Chips”. (Not CHiPs, although that would be good.)

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VIDEO BLOG OF THE HOUR


Watch EPT Kyiv S6: Day 1b Introduction on PokerStars.tv

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