CardsChat Podcast: Robbie Drops a Line In the Water with Max Pescatori

Robbie Strazynski welcomed “The Italian Pirate” to the “friendliest poker podcast in town.” Although he left his bandana in a drawer, Max Pescatori brought a bounty of poker treasure to share with fans of the CardsChat podcast.


Max Pescatori is the latest guest on the “friendliest” poker podcast in town. (Image:

Pescatori entered the poker and pop-culture consciousness around 2003 as a larger-than-life, boisterous, cheerful and colorful player who wore an Italian flag as a bandana and wasn’t afraid to show the newly-prevalent TV cameras that he was having good time.

He notes in the interview that his poker fame came before any real titles thanks to the image he created on a whim during a televised event in Las Vegas. He made a small Italian flag into a bandana, made the final table while wearing it, and “The Italian Pirate” was born. He ran with it.

“It was actually a very good marketing move. Because of that — I didn’t even win anything yet — and yet I was in the first Activision WSOP video game,” he told Strazynski. “And if you look on the back, in 2005, I didn’t even win a bracelet yet, there was picture with my bandanna because it was a character that was cool to have in a video game. So for me to be in a video game, it was the perfect marketing move.”

It’s also a bit serendipitous: Pescatori used to write about videos games and computers in Italy.

WSOP video game

Image is everything: Max Pescatori on the back of the WSOP video game because people started calling him “The Italian Pirate.” (Image: Activision)

Having a gregarious and entertaining personality during the “poker boom” certainly helped take Pescatori around the globe several times over as a poker character, even before he won any of his WSOP bracelets or rings.

It’s been eight years since Pescatori won his last WSOP bracelet. He talked to Strazynski about how the game has changed over the last 20 years, and also about his “crazy” move to Las Vegas — he loved gambling so much he decided to become a dealer to learn the games inside out.

He even worked as a casino floor dealer, but would usually get off work as soon as possible and go play poker.

“And I soon saw that I was making more money playing poker than working, so I said ‘let’s just do that,'” he says.

It led to poker fame, four WSOP bracelets, two Circuit rings, and more than $4.8 million in tournament poker cashes.

The episode is now live.

Also on Spotify:

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Written by
Bob Pajich
Bob Pajich is a poker news reporter, creative writer, and poker player who never met suited connectors he didn't like. Tips, corrections, complaints and kudos should go to

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