Las Vegas, NV
Congrats to Max Pescatori. The Italian Pirate took down Event #24 $2,500 PLH/PLO. He survived a difficult final table which included the veteran cash game player Minh Ly and multi-bracelet winner Allen Cunningham.
Pescatori won his first bracelet at the 2006 WSOP on the same day that his home country of Italy won the World Cup (of soccer). He had been shutout since then and won a bracelet just at the right time.
Photo courtesy of Flipchip
Pescatori had a tough 2007. He admitted to me that he was super busy focusing on the business side of poker and his Italian magazine. He began 2008 with a bang and 10th place finish at the Aussie Millions.
Pescatori showed up at the 2008 WSOP with a bum wing. For the first two weeks he wore his arm in a sling. He had 50+ stitches and has been vague about the origins of his injuries. Pescatori told Change100 that he got in a bar fight. He told Arthur that it was a cliff diving accident. The mysterious Italian Pirate strikes again.
Whether it was related to his physical injuries or not, over the last two weeks Pescatori had a not-so-impressive showing. He quickly became the target of Foiled Coup's wrath as he posted the Max Pescatori Watch on his website. At one point the adorable Amanda Leatherman (from PokerNews and PokerRoad) had just as much in 2008 WSOP winnings as Pescatori. Ah, he's the whipping boy no longer.
Pesactori is well on his way to becoming the greatest poker player from Italy. Ever. Valter Farina and John Spadavecchia are legends and a part of the old guard. Farina was the first Italian to ever win a bracelet and Spadavecchia is number one on the all-time money list. Both had been crushing games since Max was a little one playing football with his school mates in Milan. But with his second bracelet, Pescatori has the most bracelets out of the Italians. And by the end of the 2008 WSOP, Pescatori should take over #1 on the All Time money list for Italy.
(OK, I know about Jeff Lisandro. He lists Salerno, Italy as his hometown, but he's got an Aussie accent. There's much debate on whether or not Lisandro is Italian or Australia. Hendon Mob lists him as an Aussie. I'll abide by whatever Oliver Tse says. But for the purpose of this post, let's eliminate Lisandro from the discussion. After all, this is a Max Pescatori fluff piece. Let the Italian Pirate have his day!)
Pescatori is among the new wave of Italian pros including Luca Pagano and the Darios; WSOP-Europe bracelet winner Dario Alioto and everyone's scarf-wearing wunderkind Dario Minieri. Yeah, you don't want to mess with Luca, the Italian Pirate and the Amazing Darios.
The other big story was in the Brasilia Room where Day 2 of the Razz event played out. FTrain advanced to Day 2. In early action, he was seated with the likes of David Levi, Dario Alioto, and Sam Grizzle. His first table sucked due to a couple of annoying players. It drove both F Train and David Levi to put on their iPods.
I skipped out and headed to a concert before the money bubble broke. But I got wind that F Train had cashed, which was an amazing feat these days.
I first met FTrain in 2004 at the Blue Parrot in New York City. He was the replacement player in a home game that I frequented hosted by Ferrari. It was a lawyers game that centered around a bunch of folks that went to law school together or worked together including Ugarte and Coach.
One of the regulars, Rick Blaine, moved out to California just at the same time a good buddy of his from law school was moving from LA to Brooklyn. That guy was FTrain and he happened to play a little bit of poker. He took Rick's spot which was to my left and FTrain was a fixture in the game for as long as it ran. We almost always had a blast and had some wild late nights. We played dealer's choice with different rotation games including Anaconda which always juiced up the action.
Of course, the worst time I ever had at the Blue Parrot was Razz night. It would be the first and only time we played. I had a dreadful time and reminded FTrain about that night. He definitely remembered how angry and on tilt I was all night. Here's a Tao of Poker flashback... Monday Night Razz.
Wow... a lot has happened in almost four years. I went from writing up recaps of Blue Parrot games on my blog to covering the WSOP for various news outlets. And FTrain is covering the WSOP and going deep in the only event he played. Awesome job, bro.
Two regulars from my "NYC home game" have cashed in a WSOP event. Now, it's Coach's turn in Stud 8.
The Razz event also had a few interesting scenarios playing out. Barry Greenstein was the chipeader and trying to make another final table. At one point Tom "DonkeyBomber" Schneider had chips and was in the front of the pack.
Lacey Jones began the day as the shortstack and sitting across from a leering David Sklanasky. You gotta know that Davey Boy was super pumped when he saw his table draw. Both busted before the money.
While I could, I hovered around Archie Karas' table. He wore an old polo shirt and a very plain-looking watch. Humble attire from the man who once sat on a bankroll of $40 million. He was fighting and clawing to make his way into the money and cash in his first event in four years.
By the end of the night, the final table was set. Karas was short on chips but still had enough to be among the final eight which included Barry Greenstein and Mike Wattel. The Greek had cashed as he took a big step towards making his comeback. Now if he could only win the bracelet...?
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