By his own admission, Michel Dattani perhaps hasn’t had the impact in major live tournaments that his immense talents would suggest. But he says he has been winning every year since he took up the game aged 18, and has been “building something slowly”.
Dattani was a computer engineering student at a university in his native Porto when he first discovered poker, and continued his studies for three years. But he never worked in the industry in which he had trained; his poker career was already blossoming.
Originally an online cash game player, he latterly transitioned to tournaments and, as “FreeLancerZZ” on PokerStars, is much respected in every environment. He won a WCOOP title in 2016, and has numerous live tournament scores on the EPT and beyond.
He keeps himself occupied with multiple other business endeavors away from the tables too: he owns two restaurants, a gym, an events and a jewelry company.
An enormous cooler at the end of Day 4 catapulted him to the top of the overnight chip counts: he had aces and knocked out both Ramon Colillas and Elias Gutierrez, who had ace-king and pocket queens respectively.
He was then able to navigate through the penultimate day and arrives at the final table with 4 million chips, good for fourth place.