Italy’s Raffaele Bertolucci made a late run to top Day 1b of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Venice, although he only managed to finish second overall from the two opening flights of the €3,000+€300 buy-in main event at Casino Di Venezia in Ca’Noghera.
Bertolucci sits on 169,400 chips, well behind Day 1a star and another Italian in Andrea Dato, who tops the Day 2 starters on 217,300.
The top five is completed by American Steve O’Dwyer (159,000) and Italian duo Wanny Piazza (154,000) and Nicola Ricciardelli (140,600).
The 78 entrants for Day 1a left organisers slightly disappointed with the turnout, but Day 1b attracted a much healthier 135 players to take the total starters to 213, including 18 re-entries from the first day’s flight.
With 66 players surviving Day 1b, as well as 29 from Day 1a, we shall see 95 players return today, including this year’s WPT Bratislava winner Roberto Romanello (133,200 chips), of Wales, and the current WPT Venice champion Alessio Isaia (68,700), from Italy, who sits just above the average chip count of 67,263.
Hovering around the middle of the field late in Day 1b, Bertolucci – who is something of an unknown on the live poker scene with only $9,787 winnings – made his move during level nine when involved in a three-player all-in pot.
Bertolucci showed Q♥ J♥ on a 9♥ 8♠ 4♥ flop, while Paolo Ruscalla revealed A♥ 10♥ and the third player held 9♦ 8♦.
With the blinds now at 400 and 800, with a 100 ante, the pot had grown to a huge 150,000, before the 10♠ arrived on the turn to put Bertolucci well in front with a queen-high straight.
The A♠ on the river ensured that Bertolucci would enter Day 2 in second place on the chip leaderboard behind Dato.
However, eighth-placed Welshman Romanello seems to feel this tournament is his for the taking, if his comments are anything to go by.
The Swansea player said: “I am the table captain – there is only room for one boss on this table.”
Other notable players to survive Day 1b were Fernando Cimaglia (135,600), Luca Fiorini (105,400), Ronnie Bardah (103,200), Riccardo Marchini (103,200), Arnaud Mattern (92,900) – who finished third at the WPT Marrakech – Getano Di Franco (88,400), Salvatore Bonavena (83,600), Giuseppe Broccia (81,100), Marvin Rettenmaier (76,700), Dominik Nitsche (42,800), PartyPoker pro Giovanni Rizzo (33,800), and Zimnan Ziyard (19,200), although the European Poker Tour (EPT) Loutraki champion will have his work cut out to make it into Day 3.
Among the big-name pros who failed to negotiate their way through Day 1b were Cecilia Pescaglini, the WPT Malta runner-up, John Eames, Oleksii Kovalchuk and Max Pescatori.
Top 10 overall placings chip counts after Day 1b of the WPT Venice main event:
1. Andrea Dato (Italy) – 217,300
2. Raffaele Bertolucci (Italy) – 169,400
3. Steve O’Dwyer (USA) – 159,000
4. Wanny Piazza (Italy) – 154,000
5. Nicola Ricciardelli (Italy) – 140,600
6. Fernando Cimaglia (Italy) – 135,600
7. Johan Guilbert (Italy) – 133,800
8. Roberto Romanello (UK) – 133,200
9. Michele Caroli (Italy) – 132,300
10. Umberto Calabro (Italy) – 124,000