Max Pescatori won his third World Series of Poker bracelet Wednesday night, taking down the 2015 WSOP's Event #9: $1,500 Razz and returning to WSOP glory after seven years out of the winner's circle.
"It's very sweet," he told PokerNews. "Especially because I love competition, and in recent years at the World Series, I've done OK, but not really good. So many times I felt like I could grab it and I just couldn't. Last year, I had a final table in H.O.R.S.E. and I got punished in Razz twice. I was the bubble in the $50k and I lost a gigantic pot to be chip leader when there was five left. It's really sweet, just because I knew Razz was a very strong game for me and I felt so good at the final table even more than before."
Nicknamed 'The Italian Pirate', Pescatori outlasted a field of 462 and earned $155,947 for the win, crediting a new approach to the rest of his year outside of the WSOP for his return to success.
"I used to play here and then I would spend a lot of time in Europe," he said. "So I kind of abandoned the mixed games the rest of the year and would only go back to mixed games when I came here. Last year I prepared in a different way - just playing a lot online two months before. This year I started playing in February, just to get my game going, and it worked.
"I saw it right away when I came here the other day playing Omaha Hi-Lo. It was just a different feel than the other years. Sometimes you've got to find what you're doing wrong to have missed so many years, and it's awesome to do it in a game like this with such a big field too - for a $1,500 Razz tournament."
A proud Italian, Pescatori's victory secured his spot on the top of the Italian WSOP bracelet count.
"There isn't any with two either. They have to catch up," he joked. "Of course it's fantastic, especially because Italy has been unlucky with bracelets. We had five seconds in a row, then won one and had another second. We've had a lot of people that lost heads-up. I'm happy to be 3-0 heads-up. I haven't lost yet heads-up and I know how disappointing that can be."
Pescatori last won a bracelet in 2008 when he took down a $2,500 Pot-Limit Holdem/Omaha event. Feeling better prepared than ever, he's now considering jumping into a few more Championship level events as the 2015 WSOP rolls on.
"I did make a mistake here one other time when I won a bracelet," he explained. "I was so enthusiastic that I played all the other events at the World Series gambling all the way. It's not going to be that way this year. I already had that experience.
"This is a good start and of course now maybe I will play a few more events. I didn't plan to play the $10K's this year, I wanted to focus on (lower buy-in events) this year, because when you get to these ones late, it's easier to win for someone who has an edge. Instead in the $10K's you always have good players, you have much smaller fields, but you always have good players. There were good players here, too, but I may have to step it up and play some more $10K's now."
As confident as he's ever been coming in, and even more so with the win Wednesday, Pescatori admonished those who failed to pick him in the annual 25k Fantasy Draft at the series.
"I was upset that they didn't draft me," he said. "I even tweeted 'You donkeys, you didn't draft me,' So, take that."
However pleased he was with the result and finally snatching up his third WSOP bracelet after six years without a win, there was little time for celebration as Pescatori immediately late-registered the $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better and hopped back on the felt.
"That one, it's one of my favorite tournaments," he said. "We can go drink another day."