It’s Saturday afternoon in San Remo and for an update on the weather check back to any of the introductions from this week. But as for the atmosphere inside Casino San Remo there’s been a subtle change overnight. Today the last remaining eight players of the EPT San Remo will play down to a winner and many people are already speculating that it could be the best final yet.

Yesterday we started at 3pm with 31 remaining. Just a seagull’s squawk after the stroke of midnight PokerStars Sponsored player Johannes Strassmann busted on the TV bubble, a three-way pot that threw together A-K against A-Q against jacks.

Today there were none of the long queues to enter the casino, no crowds at the registration desk, no busy activity by tournament officials dealing with dozens of tables, no crowds in the lobby. But we built it and they will come – the queues to enter the casino will be long and will be at the registration desk too, and the same crowds will gather in the lobby. The day is primed for a long day of world class poker. Some people will end it happy, some sad, and the bar staff will work overtime until their fingers can no longer pour coffee or open the champagne.

There’s just one table today, the one under lights, banked by bleachers and likely to go down as one of the most partisan the EPT has ever seen. The structural integrity of the TV set will be pushed to the edge by the Italian crowds and press who, realism aside, have taken it upon themselves to demand nothing less than a win.

The man they’ve put that faith in is a young AS Roma fan and Team PokerStars Pro Dario Minieri. The 23-year-old has a bankroll of talent, topped only by his frequent player points and has made this final with a performance that rocked the room like only the Rolling Stones could have done before. Casino San Remo shook this week, and it will shake again today.

As insurance the locals have another man to cheer for, Gregory Genovese. Not quite as chipped up as his countryman Gregory will step into the breach as far as fans are concerned should disaster strike for Dario, but he’ll need to work fast, starting as he does some way behind Dario the chip leader. But until then it’s Minieri all the way.

There are others of course, fully capable of winning and fully aware of the bias against them. PokerStars qualifier Jason Mercier is just a short distance behind Minieri, second in chips, whilst Frenchman Antony Lellouche is in third place, one of three players with over a million, and will want to finish better than London last year. And Sweden’s William Thorson, who has EPT and WSOP main event final tables to his name, will always pose a big threat to everyone.

After all this is poker and crowd bias can only mean so much. As much as it’s nice to have friends on your side this is no team game; no amount of support can change the cards, the opposition or your own ability. Once Thomas Kremser gives the order to shuffle up and deal it’s each to his own for as long as it takes.

A reminder of the chip counts and seating positions…

Seat 1: Gregory Genovese – Italy — 694k
Seat 2: William Thorson – Sweden — 418k
Seat 3: Eric Koskas – France – PokerStars qualifier –449k
Seat 4: Jason Mercier – United States – PokerStars qualifier — 1,591k

Seat 5: Anthony Lellouche – France — 1,192k
Seat 6: Dario Minieri – Italy – Team PokerStars Pro — 1,832k
Seat 7: Dag Palovic – Slovakia — 585k
Seat 8: Marcus Bower – United States – PokerStars qualifier — 278k

You can keep up to date on the day’s events on the PokerStars blog throughout the day and you can also watch the final table live via EPT Live coverage which will have every card covered from start to finish.

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