Dario Minieri brought his ultra-aggressive game to the WSOP last year, only to crash and burn as he ran into Dmitri Nobles. He's back from Rome and surged to the chip lead with a refined aggression.
Dario sat at 1.0m in the 6s, with only Kevin Kim in the 1s threatening his stack. When Dario has chips, he rivals the most aggressive players in poker for the will he shows at any time. Blinds were at 2.5k/5.0k with a 500 ante, and he called a 10k bet by Jose "hedd2782" Severino on the button from the big blind. With a flop of , he bet 24k and took down the pot. He folded the small blind, then folded the button and cutoff of early raises. The 5s raised to 16k, and Dario made it 35k more. He called, and they checked the flop and turn of . came on the river, and the 5s bet 35k. Dario raised another 85k, and the 5s reluctantly folded. No showdown, and a big pot for Dario.
He folded the next hand, then went to his friend complaining about his throat and throwing away his hot tea. I ran to get him throat lozenges and Day-Quil (all the WSOP store had), and he was UTG+1 when I returned. The pot had 85k in it, and the 9s had moved all-in for another 160k more. He mucked to drop his first pot in a while.
He folded the big blind and the small blind then called a raise from the 5s. The flop came , and they both checked. brought a bet of 20k from the 5s, and Dario called. came on the river, the raiser checked, and Dario pushed him out for another 20k.
He raised in the cutoff to 20k, and the button called. came on the flop, and Dario led out 35k. The 7s called, and brought a 80k bet from Dario. Another fold, another pot.
He folded the next three hands, and his friend said "You know, I think he's the only person to buy a Porsche with his FPP points on PokerStars." I nodded as I thought of what my wife would say if I had enough FPP points to buy a Porsche. I think that would be my ex-wife, as playing enough online poker to earn a car isn't part of a balanced marriage.
In the next hand, he raised in middle position to 18k, the small blind called, then the big blind made it 75k straight. Dario folded to the squeeze play, and the bb showed . He limped UTG with four other players, fired one 13k shell at a turn. He checked down the river, and Severino in the 4s showed for his two pair to take the pot.
Dario checked his option with the small blind, the 5s. brought a check/10k/call bet from Dario. brought another check/call of 18k, and brought a third check/call for 20k from the 5s. He didn't want to be pushed around, but Dario showed for his good pair. He mucked after his small blind flop of brought an early position bet, then he went about buying up the 500 blue chips.
His seat was empty as the dealer shuffled the deck. Dario ran and ducked under the ropes. "Raise!" he yelled as he pulled his chair out, and the players around him let out a nervous laugh. Blinds were 3k/6k with a 500 ante. He folded his button but made it 20k in the cutoff and showed . He folded the next two hands then bet 19k in middle position. The flop came , check, Dario fired 60k, and he picked up the pot.
With the button in the 2s, he raised UTG+1 to 20k. The 9s, 3s sb, and 4s bb called. The flop came , and the 3s moved all-in for 160k more. The big blind folded, and the 9s waited for Dario to act. "I call," he said, and the 9s folded before he touched his chips. He showed black jacks, and the 3s turned over for middle pair. brought a flush draw, and Dario huddled with his friend Tony Nikaj from New York. on the river brought 240k new chips to his stack and left a hole in the 3s.
He limped UTG with the dead button, then the 9s made it 30k. Dario looked at his cards and folded to the raise. He mucked to a raiser in the big blind, then Severino in the 4s made it 18k to go with Dario in the small blind. Dario made it 65k to go, and the raiser folded. Severino again made it 18k, and this time Dario called on the button. The flop came , and Severino check/called 20k from Dario. brought a check/call of 45k from Severino. He again checked the river , and this time Dario immediately put out six of the new 25k peach chips, 150k. Severino immediately called, and Dario said stunning words: "Flush." He turned over , pulled in the 475k pot, and left Severino shaking his head in disbelief.
Kevin Kim made it 18k from the 1s UTG. It was the first hand Kim had played, and the table folded to the strength of the early, tight raiser. Dario made it 20k, and Kim called from the big blind. The flop came , and Kim checked. Dario bet 32k, and Kim raised to 85k. Dario then said, "Raise," and bet an additional 150k. "I stayed out of his way," Kim told me after bagging his chips. "This was the one time I played back at him, and I knew he knew that I knew he knew what I was doing. He knew I could only come back at him with a set, and I didn't want to go bust so late in the night. I would have been doing the same thing if I had the chips." Kim laid down to the three-bet, and Dario showed for a sick, sick bluff.
Kim was shell-shocked as the ESPN handheld cameras filmed Dario stacking chips. They'd missed the hand but rushed over in the aftermath. Dario raised it to 19k, and the players fired the cards into the muck like they were on fire. He folded the next to hands then raised to 20k UTG. The 5s moved all-in for another 100k, and Dario called and showed . The 5s showed , and the board of put another 120k into his mountain of chips. Each stack was built with forty chips, and there were stacks upon stacks in front of him.
He folded the big blind then raised to 21k from the small blind to take the blinds and antes. Severino raised again to 22k from the 4s, and Dario called on the button. The flop came , and Severino moved all-in for 220k more. "You said all-in?" asked Dario. He sat and thought for a bit, then he started chatting with Severino. Dario smiled, looked ready to lay down the hand, then Severino said, "I know I'm a short stack." Dario grabbed orange chips and counted out the 220k to his right. He called and showed . Severino showed , and the sent him to the cashier and brought an additional 250k to Dario. He was now up to 2.4m.
He raised to 19k and the 8s called in the cutoff. They both checked flop of , then Dario fired 25k when came on the turn. The 8s folded, and Dario raked in the pot. He folded the next hand then raised to 20k on the next hand. The 9s moved all-in and Dario's friend Simone Rossi called all-in from the 3s. Dario got out of the way, and it was aces vs. Rossi's queens. sent Rossi to the cashier while the rest of the table received bags for their chips.
Frank Schram sat in the 7s to his left much of the afternoon and evening. "I doubled through him early once I moved here, but it was a tough time playing there with him," he said. "He was in every hand, and he systematically took people apart. His timing was impeccable. Every time someone played back at him, he had a hand."
Dario had asked the floor for racks to get rid of some of his chips, and eight racks of yellows and oranges sat in front of him. In these thirty-eight hands, he raised eleven times and called four raises. He called two all-in's, busting both players. He moved from 1.0m to 2.4m by evening, with Jeff Weiss in second at 1.55m.
Chipleaders that matter emerge after the Main Event is in the money; since we're down to 337 players, it really matters. He's hardly untouchable, but his new table will need to be ready Dario Minieri. In a few more days, he may be ready to trade in his Porsche for a Ferrari.