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Dario Minieri

Points to Porsche, and beyond

Vanessa Rousso hot poker star When asked to name the defining, breakthrough youngster of the past few years, most poker aficionados would say Tom Dwan.

‘Durrrr’s’ impregnable style and acute taste for the nosebleed stakes have seen him amass a bankroll in the millions, and secure a lucrative Team Full Tilt sponsorship.

Back in 2006, however, there was a breakthrough of a faster nature.


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A hundred miles per hour plus nature. At the tender age of 21, Italian poker prodigy Dario Minieri became the first player on PokerStars to purchase a Porsche Cayman simply with FPP’s.

Minieri, who heralds from the eternal city of Rome, spent an eternity playing SnG’s to rack up over 3 million FPP’s. In early 2007 he gave an interview to Poker Verdict, in which he estimated that $150,000 of his $250k fortune had come from 9-man sit and go tourneys.

He dedicated his life to becoming the ultimate grinder, however the 12 hours a day spent online became detrimental to his university studies. Dario stated that completing a psychology degree was still a life-long ambition because he ‘liked to know what people are thinking’, a skill that comes all too handy at the poker table.

Three years on, Minieri has forged great success on the tournament circuit.

Dario Minieri PokerStars pro

He wrote himself into the WSOP history books by winning Event 31 in 2008, the $2,500 Six-Handed NLH, for a cool $528,418. He has racked up over $790k in EPT winnings, with highlights including a victory at the €12k highroller event at the EPT Warsaw.

Minieri gained more plaudits for his fearless approach on GSN’s High Stakes Poker, but was caught with his hand in the cookie jar when he tried to throw durrrr off top pair, holding a measly pair of threes. The extravagant play cost him a $344k pot, and a premature end to his High Stakes showing.

Dario’s story is interesting on several grounds. Despite his raw talent, tournament pedigree and PokerStars pro sponsorship, Minieri is rarely mentioned in the same breath as other young hotshots such as Dwan and Isildur1.

With dishevelled hair and a raggedy AS Roma scarf round his neck, he is somewhat the anti-thesis to the casually coifed, often shirted Dwan. Their differences stretch beyond stylistic preference.

Whereas Dwan has morphed from stereotypical online ‘nerd’ (as rival Luke ‘FullFlush’ Schwartz dubs him), and become a marketing dream with his clean-shaven image, Minieri retains his sense of identity. He maintains poker is no longer his main focus in life, preferring to spend time with his girlfriend and support his beloved Roma.

Whenever interviewed, Dario radiates youthful exuberance and vitality – he is clearly loving life. Young stardom has impacted in two different ways. Minieri remains part of the poker circuit, but Dwan is an action junkie, always seeking the highest limits and juiciest games.

Four years on, Minieri’s free Porsche still says a lot about what can be achieved in poker.

Nearly every young male dreams of a supercar and the thrills that come with it. Because it was obtained through FPP’s, it proves you don’t necessarily have to be a winning player to live life in the fast lane. You can be a break even player, or theoretically a losing player, and still generate enough points to fulfil a pipe dream.

The extensive PokerStars VIP program rewards any high volume player, although of course being a winning player helps. Dario’s Porsche breakthrough may well have set a precedent, with PokerStars continuing the supercar theme by offering a Lamborghini Freeroll series over the summer. So, you too could be driving along 4th street with Dario in a fancy car.

Only at the largest online poker rooms such as PokerStars can you ever win this kind of money.

If you sign up at pokerstars, you can observe and learn from Dario Minieri. His username is 'Dariominieri'. And you can play with him, if you like sit'n gos.


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