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SCOOP Champion Mustapha Kanit Discusses WSOP Plans, Buying and Selling Action, and More

Mustapha Kanit

Things are going pretty well for Italy's Mustapha Kanit this year. In January, he started a remarkable series of positive results by scoring a fourth place at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $25,000 high roller in Paradise Island.

Then he travelled from the Bahamas to Australia to take down the A$1,100 No-Limit Hold'em and A$1,100 No-Limit Hold'em Six Max events in Melbourne during the 2014 Aussie Millions.

As if this wasn't enough, he also managed to snatch some very good results in Europe, with an eighth place finish at the EPT Sanremo high roller event and a third place result at the French Poker Series high roller event organized in Monte Carlo during the European Poker Tour Grand Final. He accumulated winnings of $190,000 in less than 10 days.

And that's not all. The Malta-based Kanit also took down the $2,100 No-Limit Hold'em event during the latest PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker, bringing home a tasty $377,000 top prize.

PokerNews Italy's Federico Colelli recently met with Kanit, who currently sits on top of Italy's Global Poker Index Player of the Year rankings, to discuss his recent performance in SCOOP and learn more about his plans for the World Series of Poker.

After few other good results already this year, you took home the SCOOP $2,100 NL Hold'em event, surviving a field of 664 players. How did that make you feel?

Extremely happy. To win against such a tough field is always great and I really hoped to do well during the SCOOP. Poker-wise, both the SCOOP and the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) are my favorite time of the year. I like having the chance to play so much and in so many challenging tournaments.

Did you know who your heads up opponent "Geo Manousos" was? You tried to discuss a deal right before the heads up started but you weren't able to come to an agreement. Is that because you felt you had an edge on him?

I only discovered who he was later. The way he was playing the tournament, yes, I thought I had a good edge on him. And I also felt very confident.

What about the SCOOP overall? How did the championship go for you?

Not very well to be honest as I almost never made the money. But there were a group of us playing from the same place and almost every one of us managed to win something, I would say that overall things went pretty well.

Did you keep playing a lot after your victory, or did the fact that the WSOP was about to start slow you down?

Once the SCOOP was over I took some rest. I played the last SCOOP event and then I decided to take a break. After EPT Sanremo, EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo and the SCOOP, I needed a small break.

Is it true that you had shares of "Ben "NeverScaredB" Wilinofsky" during the SCOOP Main Event?

Yes, I had 10 percent of his action. My friend David Yan had 30 percent and I have managed to get 10 percent from him for a share of my action and some other shares I had.

Do you often buy or trade shares with other players in live or online events?

Yes, I do that a lot. I like to buy shares of good players. It’s something I do to earn money, therefore I only invest in a few, very selected players.

Generally speaking, we are talking about players that are already at my own level or that I believe to have great potential. Or, of course, players that are already better than me.

Who are your best poker buddies - the ones you spend your time with during live events? Is there anyone specific you think you have learned from them?

I usually spend a lot of time with Bryn Kenney, Thomas Mühlöcker, Ole (Schemion) and Benny (Spindler). Among the Italians, I have a very good relationship with Dario Sammartino and Raffaele Sorrentino

I think I have learned something from each one of them. They are all very different people both in the game and in life, and every one of them thought me something.

In your opinion who are the top three online multi-table tournament and live tournament players?

"WushuTM" [Thomas Mühlöcker], "wizowizo" [Ole Schemion], "cal42688" [Calvin Anderson], Bryn Kenney and "stevie444" [Stephen Chidwick]. I would say that these are my favorite players, even if there are a lot of other great players around.

Talking about live players, I would probably give you the same names. But then I would also add some 'usual' names like Phil Ivey, Antonio Esfandiari and so on.

How many WSOP events are you planning to play in Vegas this year?

I think I will jump on all no-limit hold’em events, but I won’t play any other variant.

Did you sell shares for your events already?

I will sell some for the three $25,000 satellites to the Big One for One Drop and for the High Roller Series at the Bellagio. I am not sure I will try to sell much else.

Can you give us three names of players you believe will do well during the 2014 World Series?

Sure. I would say Isaac Baron, Thomas Mühlöcker and Dario Sammartino. I am pretty confident that this is going to be Sammartino's year.

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