It only took an epic eight-hour heads-up battle for Italian Alessio Isaia to become the first Italian to win a World Poker Tour Championship title. A field of 523 runners entered the €3,300 buy-in event which started on February 3rd and ran through February 8th. The WPT Venice event was hosted at Casino di Venezia in Venice and Alessio led the tournament after day 1A and had the second largest chips stack when the final table was reached.
When Szablocs Mayer and Alessio reached heads-up play, Alessio had just 2,800,000 of the 15,665,000 chips in play. The hours rolled on as Alessio wrestled for the WPT Venice title against his Hungarian opponent. The final hand came down with Mayer shoving all-n with and Alessio called with . The board completely missed Mayer with the . Alessio only needed to stay ahead of a 6 or Clubs to take down the championship and the board played out in his favor, giving him the victory and a prize purse of €380,000.
The WPT Venice is Alessio's biggest career win to date, surpassing his victory in the IPT San Remo Main Event in 2009 where he earned €140,000. His victory takes his career tournament earnings beyond the €1 million mark.
Alessio started playing poker in 2005. He was drawn to the game after watching poker on TV and became an online player. He has since moved on to live ring games and local tournaments and steadily applied good money management in building his bankroll. He played the live European circuit in 2006 and 2007 but 2008 appears to be the year that started Alessio on his break-through year. The Bellagio Cup IV found him in 2nd place in the $3,000 NLH event where he took home more than $130K. He also won the €3,000 No Limit Holdem Royal Poker Tour in Sharm el Sheikh, which awarded over $44K in prize money. He made two final tables at the 2008 World Series of Poker - finishing 4th in the $1,500 Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo event for over $50K, and 6th in the $5,000 World Championship Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo event, winning more than $58K. His first major poker tournament win was at the 2009 IPT San Remo Main Event in December 2009 where he took down the first prize in the €2K buy-in event for €140,000.
You can play with Alessio online at Full Tilt Poker if you miss him in a live event; if you have any intention of winning the live event you better hope to miss him.