Dario Minieri has achieved huge amounts in his short career to date. He is a World Series bracelet winner, he's been on three EPT Main Event final tables, he is widely loved by the poker press and feared by his opponents, and he wins crazy amounts both online and off.
After a double quick day two at the PCA High Roller event in the Bahamas, Minieri is closing in on another feat. He could become a back-to-back High Roller champion on the European Poker Tour.
Having bested a field of nine in Warsaw to pick up a $115,000 payday, Minieiri is now a runaway chip leader going into the penultimate day here. This tournament, costing $25,000 a head, attracted 84 runners and Minieri is top of the pops with 24 left. He plays every single tournament as though it costs him a dollar: relentless raise, raise, raise until all the damage is done.
Minieiri's Team PokerStars Pro colleague Lex Veldhuis paid the Italian high compliments during the last break of today, admitting that he was really unhappy with the table draw that put Minieri two seats to his left. A couple of orbits later, Veldhuis' worst fears came true. He got all his chips in pre-flop with ace-king, but Minieri had woken up with cowboys. Veldhuis, with a stack of similar size to Minieri's at the start of the day, was gone. The Italian was up to a chip-leading 430,700, which he'll bring back tomorrow at noon and we'll play down to a final table.
The pack chasing him includes the EPT stalwarts Michiel Brummelhuis (403,800), Tobias Reinkemeier (279,900) and Dmitry Stelmak (264,000), as well as the online shark (and former WPT champion) Vivek Rajkumar (301,700).
You don't have to look much further down the official chip counts to notice some other class acts. There are two World Champions, in Greg Raymer (206,600) and Joe Cada (135,700). And the EPT Dortmund champion Sandra Naujoks completes a fine showing from Team PokerStars Pro.
Carter Phillips, the EPT Barcelona champion, is also lurking with intent. He was responsible for the final elimination of the day, sending Mike "The Mouth" Matusow packing in 25th, and start us packing up before 6pm. Phew.
We'll burst the money bubble tomorrow and then plough on towards a final table. The winner of this thing is due a payout of more than $500,000. To be more precise, take a look at the prizewinners page.
That's that for this evening then. Players and media are scattering across Atlantis. I've no idea where Minieri is going, nor what he's going to be eating or drinking when he gets there. But I want some of it, whatever it is.
Take a look back at the blow by blow action with the links below.
There's a whole lot more for speakers of foreign at any of these places:
Photos come (c) Joe Giron and Neil Stoddart. They can fight among themselves for your money if you dare take their snaps without asking.
G'night, and here's some words from Minieri himeself. He spoke to the video team a little earlier....
Watch PCA 2010: Dario Minieri on PokerStars.tv