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The Italian Pirate may be the best known Italian professional poker player in the world. Max Pescatori is a Milan native but has spent nearly as much time living in the United States as in Italy, though his love of poker, football, and betting have no boundaries.

Pescatori took his love for cards from grinding in Las Vegas in the 1990s to tournament successes that date back to 2002. He has been the winner of WSOP Circuit and EPT side events, World Series of Poker bracelets in 2006 and 2008 and 2015, an Italian Poker Championship title, and numerous other events around the world. They total more than $4.1 million in live tournaments alone.

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When the Global Poker League was formed, there was no better choice to represent the Italian team than Pescatori. He took on the role of managing the Rome Emperors seriously, with the goal of showing off the Italian style of poker while building more excitement for the game in his home country.

On GPL Draft Day, Pescatori was in Los Angeles to choose his four draft picks, and he was the first manager to make a choice from all of the draft-eligible players. The first choice for him, then, was a natural one, as Mustapha Kanit had long been hailed as the top draft pick for any team. Pescatori grabbed Kanit, chose Italians Dario Sammartino and Walter Treccarichi, and rounded out the team with Timothy Adams.

Pescatori is famous for his Italian pride, but his passion for poker is just as exciting for his fans. Poker Update asked him about his team and how he is preparing for the first season of the GPL.

PokerUpdate: What was your plan going into GPL Draft Day?

Max: I was lucky enough to know my number one pick, so I knew and spoke to him to have a plan for our numbers two and three picks. I think, in a situation like mine, it was cool to discuss picks because a team needs to have chemistry.

PokerUpdate: Did your selection process go smoothly or did you hit a stumbling block along the way?

Max: It did not go smoothly. Right before our turn, our possible guy was taken and, since we found out only three minutes before our pick, we had to scramble with other possible choices. But I’m very happy that we picked Timothy Adams.

PokerUpdate: What are your team’s greatest strengths?

Max: Chemistry. We have four Italians that know each other (including myself), one Canadian who is a heads-up expert, and a wild card that should scare some opponents (not Hulk Hogan).

PokerUpdate: Have you already chosen your wild cards? Or are you still considering options? (Any hints about your choices are welcome. Ha.)

Max: I sent a video with the wild cards, and it will be released soon. No hints! *wink*

PokerUpdate: How do you feel about being a team manager?

Max: Great because I can and know how to be fair. Calling the best guys and deserving ones who have been poker players, I can direct them to the felt. Without it, they get lost and don’t show up to the games. *smile*

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PokerUpdate: What are your goals as the team’s manager?

Max: The best thing I can do is promote the league. It’s been a long time since someone gave a big freeroll, a true freeroll to the poker community, not because they got rake or took away status, but an upfront opportunity and real possibility to create something new and exciting in the poker world.

PokerUpdate: Do you feel prepared for the GPL to begin? What are you looking forward to the most?

Max: I cannot wait to start. It’s new, exciting, and cool to see the top players in the world compete LIVE on Twitch. I think I will even improve my game by watching.

PokerUpdate: What are your hopes for the GPL?

Max: My best hope is not even to win but to be able to have huge ratings while playing, especially from the Italian community. We can do it, we have the best players, and it’s up to us to get as many fans as possible to follow. Of course if we win, it will be even better.

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Jennifer Newell

Jennifer has been a freelance writer in the poker industry for a decade. She left a full-time job with the World Poker Tour to tell the stories of poker. She now lives in St. Louis, writes about poker while pursuing other varied interests, and speaks her mind on Twitter… a lot.