The business of poker, beyond the felt

November 02, 2012


Ciao from Italy.

I’m writing after another successful tournament series in San Remo. This was the sixth time the EPT has come to San Remo, and almost 800 players participated in the main event won by Ludovic Lacay.

One reason why I’m always keen to see things go well in San Remo is because it was my company that actually helped start the Italian Poker Tour and began attracting pros from all around the world to Italy to play poker. Let me explain.

I’ve always had a business-like approach to poker. As a player I like to calculate everything at the table — the risk, the investment, the reward, everything. I’ve also always had a very entrepreneurial attitude, from even before I started playing poker. In fact, when I was just 19 I started an information technology company and was teaching people how to use computers.


It was after that I got into poker as a player. I started out playing for play money on PokerStars, in fact, and eventually moved over to the cash games and became a winning player. And it didn’t take that long before I started thinking about combining my interests and creating a business in the poker industry. That’s when my father and I decided to start a company that organized poker events.

We began by running poker cruises about ten years ago. Then we decided to have the very first poker event in Italy at the Casino San Remo in 2006. At the time, PokerStars was not in the Italian market yet, so we were just running the Italian Championship. Then after a couple of years of these Italian championships, my company together with PokerStars created the Italian Poker Tour (IPT).

It has been great to see the tournaments grow over the years and turn into something important for the community of Italian poker players. It has also been good for me personally, being able to combine these interests of mine while also giving something back to the poker community. Poker is my life, but I don’t want to reach the age of fifty and be saying to my children that their father only played poker! Not that that wouldn’t be okay for some people, but maybe because of my entrepreneurial mindset I’ve always thought I could do more.

I really do think that businesses are very important and can improve society by bringing in new services and products and in other ways. And as I was saying before, I still adopt a business-like approach at the tables, too. Poker can sometimes present extreme situations that require logic and clear thinking and making tough decisions. I think it definitely helps me that I get to do the same thing quite often while running a business.

So let me suggest to poker players who have these same business-like interests, definitely try to explore ways to combine your passions. Doing so can be fun and profitable, and you can help both yourself and the poker community, too.


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