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🇮🇹 Antonio Fragale is the BPC Main Event winner!

Updated: 5 days ago

‘A triumph!’ to quote our colleague Jack Bonora, perfectly capturing the jubilation surrounding Antonio Fragale’s victory at the Balkan Poker Circuit Main Event. It was a hard-fought success, with Antonio battling it out in a three-hour heads-up despite having already secured a private ICM deal when three players were left.

Winning carries a special flavour, and while money might be akin to goals for a footballer, as Dario Sammartino would say, scoring without ever lifting a trophy is hardly the same as being able to proudly say, “I did it; I wanted it, I won.”

We all know poker isn’t like tennis or chess. In a tournament with over three thousand entries, expecting a flawless run without winning an underdog's hand, perfectly timing a bluff, or hitting an improbable draw after a disastrous flop is impossible. Perhaps that’s what makes it so thrilling.

“When I reach a final table, I feel a special thrill, like driving a Ferrari at 300 km/h, especially here. This is my first televised table, and it’s also the biggest one,” Antonio shared with me during a break before the final table began.

He also mentioned that winning would be particularly meaningful because, just days earlier, his mother narrowly survived a severe car accident. “This one is for you, Mom,” Antonio declared in the post-win interview, kicking off a long list of acknowledgements. With coaches, mental coaches, friends, and more, it’s easy to forget someone when adrenaline is still pumping.

Antonio wasn’t the favourite, but starting the final day as the chip leader in poker doesn’t guarantee victory. His final heads-up opponent, the German “Zappa,” dressed like a character from an arcade game (playing an entire final table fully masked under the bright lights must have been torture), started the day as the chip leader.

At the start of the final table, Zappa's chances were quite slim, and it took two lucky hands to get back into contention. Meanwhile, Antonio was leading his first televised final table. As the game went three-handed, common sense prevailed, and considering the nearly equal stack sizes, they reached an ICM deal with a handshake, leaving the trophy to play for. And play they did.

After “2 Grinder Og” finished in third place, “Zappa” and Antonio faced off in a fierce heads-up. Despite “Zappa” wanting to avoid the cameras, he was equally determined to win.

Thus began a no-holds-barred duel. “He was tough to face,” Antonio would later recall. “Not that he was extremely skilled, but he knew how to play and had the guts to put you under pressure.”

A quick flashback to the showdown against “2 Grinder Og”: Antonio stepped back to the edge of the camera’s view, savouring the spectacle on the screen with me. “How many times have you been on the losing end with A-8 against J-8?” I joked, knowing our history as former Sit&Go regulars, having played numerous heads-ups, even against each other.

“Come on, runner-runner,” Antonio called for the Clubs, like the one he would soon lift in victory. The cards favoured him: his J♣️ 8x outplayed the opponent’s 8♣️ Ax. He was playing for the victory, and that's what happened, eventually.

“How about the 10K ticket for the WSOPE Main Event… imagine how awesome it will be to play!” he said, or something to that effect, during our pre-final table chats. This feels like the first of many great results, and it wouldn’t be surprising if it becomes a reality.

Why? Partly because, about a month ago, he and his travel mate Cristian moved to Rozvadov to commit fully to live tournaments. But that story is for another time. Now, let’s celebrate Antonio Fragale and his success at the Balkan Poker Circuit Main Event.


1. 🇮🇹 Antonio Fragale - € 80,850* inc WSOPE ticket (*private ICM deal)

2. 🇩🇪 Zappa - € 49,250* inc WSOPE ticket  (*private ICM deal)

3. 🇩🇪 Grinder OG - € 37,050* inc WSOPE ticket  (*private ICM deal)

4. 🇫🇷 Mohamed Ouassini Aissaoui - € 29,650 inc WSOPE ticket

5. 🇩🇪 Natzke - € 25,950 inc WSOPE ticket

6. 🇮🇹 Alfonso Amendola - € 22,850 inc WSOPE ticket

7. 🇷🇴 MARIO - € 9,550

8. 🇮🇹 Domenico Guerrieri - € 6,775

9. 🇨🇿 Jiri Hodac - € 5,175


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