Max Pescatori
by Jason Kirk  

Max Pescatori - Source

Max Pescatori may not be a familiar name to you yet, but if the man known as "the Italian Pirate" keeps up his winning ways he'll be as recognizable a pro as there is on the tournament circuit today. 2005 has been a good year for the 34-year-old in the Italian tricolor bandana- he's played at 7 major final tables, and already has 2 WSOP Circuit rings. Max may seem like an overnight story to anyone who's not familiar with him, but his recent success is the result of a lot of hard work.

Max came to Las Vegas in 1994 from his native Milan, Italy. He found the Luxor's poker room shortly after arriving and fell in love with the game. He played seven-card stud at first but quickly switched to hold'em when he saw how much more money there was to be made. After about two years of playing he met Valter Farina, a fifteen-year pro player who is the only Italian ever to win a WSOP bracelet. Farina became a mentor to him and helped his game progress. In 1999 Max turned pro, playing 8-16 to 15-30 limit hold'em and putting in long hours. He won easily as he continued to gain experience in the middle levels.

Around 2001 Max became friends with two other poker players, Evelyn Ng and Alan Young. They shared their viewpoints on poker with Max and encouraged him when he was enduring bad streaks. Having a few friends was a big help. That year, Max won a satellite on UltimateBet to play at the first WPT Aruba Classic. Just before the trip he met Marco Traniello, a fellow Italian like Farina. Traniello soon introduced Max to his wife to his wife Jennifer Harman, who would become a huge influence on Max. She let him watch her playing 1,500-3,000 limit at the Bellagio and showed him her cards before every hand. Max gained a lot of confidence thanks to Harman's support, and resolved to move up in limits and begin mastering different games like Omaha hi-lo, Stud hi-lo, and triple draw.

Early 2003 saw Max win his first big tournament, the $300 Limit Hold'em event at the World Poker Challenge in Reno. Three days later he added to his winnings when won the $300 Omaha Hi-Lo event. Those were his only wins in 2003, but he made ten final tables that year and proved that he was a force to be reckoned with. In 2004 he began playing a busier schedule. He claimed the $200 No-Limit Hold'em title at the Legends of Poker in Los Angeles, and cashed in Limit Hold'em and Omaha Hi-Lo events at the WSOP. Beginning in September of that year, Max made 8 final tables in the Ultimate Poker Challenge at the Plaza in Las Vegas, more than any other player. He finished out the year with 24 cashes and 16 final tables, and in October was invited by tournament director Matt Savage to play in the Monte Carlo Millions.

2005 has been the best year yet for Max. He won the $1,500 Limit Hold'em tournament at the year's first WSOP Circuit event in Atlantic City, cashed in 3 LA Poker Classic events, cashed in 2 events at the Mirage Poker Showdown, cashed in two WPT Main Events, and cashed in 6 WSOP events, including the final table of the $2,000 Pot Limit Omaha event. Then in September, he won a second WSOP Circuit ring, this time in the $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em. He has focused exclusively on tournaments this year after being mostly a cash game player early in his career, and the hard work he's put in on his tournament game is paying big dividends. The The Italian Pirate may not be a household name yet, but he's played consistently solid poker for the last three years against the best in the world. With that kind of track record, chances are that more people will soon know who Max Pescatori is.

Max Pescatori's Official Site

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