Filippo Candio is a 26-year old poker player hailing from Cagliari, Italy and the only European on the WSOP Main Event final table. And if he can transform his 16,400,000-chip stack into first place, then he will become the first Italian to win the big dance.
Many poker players nowadays have turned away lucrative professions, and ended their studies early in preference of the game we love, and Candio is one of these. Studying languages in school such as Greek and Latin, Candio had planned to study law like his father, but instead decided to take up the game that is still in its infancy back in his homeland. Beginning his career as primarily a cash game player, it was a dream of his to make the WSOP Main Event final table, and now thanks to a hot run over eight days of poker – mixed with an incredible lucky catch on the final day – Candio has now satisfied that goal.
The hand that catapulted Candio up the leaderboard with only twenty people remaining will go down as one of the sickest ever to influence the November Nine. Calling off the remainder of his chips with just bottom pair against Joseph Cheong’s aces, Candio managed to spike a backdoor straight to soar to the chip lead; which he eventually rode through to the final table.
Even through all the attention he received during the Main Event, Candio will be seen as the darkhorse of the November Nine, despite a fairly extensive record. Securing a WSOP cash earlier in the series, Candio’s biggest result came when he won the ¢2,000 Campionato Italiano San Remo Main Event last year for ¢140,000. Combined with eleven small cashes in Italy, along with a few more in the European region, he is more experienced then even he believes.
"I want to study a lot for this final table. I'm going to find a coach. I worked hard to get here." Candio said following the WSOP wrapping up in July. If the Italian is able to join his fellow countrymen such as Dario Minieri and Max Pescatori of winning a WSOP bracelet, then he may ignite an Italian poker boom. “I believe it’s important for my nation, because now other people, young guys, that try and become a professional poker player, they say that all is possible, if I can do it, you can do it!” stated Candio in an interview with PokerNews.
Talking about winning the WSOP Main Event is obviously easier said than done! Arriving on that day in November, Candio will be seated sixth in chips and have short stacks Soi Nguyen and Jason Senti on his direct left, while he’ll have three fellow mid-stacked players on his right. Although some may see Candio’s seating position as a favourable one, he will have to remain focused throughout the final table as his section of the table will most likely be picked on the most.
For the softly spoken, but highly aggressive Italian, Candio will be looking to be the European Chris Moneymaker and kick-start a poker boom back in his homeland. With his regular cash games now a distant memory as he focuses on the final table, Candio will be representing Europe with pride as he looks to become the first Italian to capture the prized gold bracelet and title of World Champion!
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