Every summer, a few new players emerge onto the scene thanks to a breakout performance or two. Think about Brandon Shack-Harris last year or Loni Harwood the year before. In 2012, Greg Merson truly solidified his name amongst poker fans after winning two gold bracelets and World Series of Poker Player of the Year. The 2015 WSOP is still in its early stages and it'll likely take the entire summer until we realize who this year's breakout player is, but when it's all said and done it could very well be Italian Dario Sammartino.
Sammartino has been around the poker scene for quite some time, but he's not a name that rolls off the tongue of common poker fans. To those that follow the poker scene closely, Sammartino will likely already be a known player, mainly because of the European Poker Tour Grand Final results he just put up. In Monaco, Sammartino won a satellite into the €100,000 Super High Roller and then went on to place fourth for €709,500. After that, Sammartino took 17th in the €10,600 Main Event for €51,350, and then he finished sixth in the €25,500 High Roller for €257,400.
With just over $2.4 million in career live tournament earnings, the money Sammartino won at the EPT Grand Final accounts for nearly half of that. He also had 10 WSOP cashes on his résumé prior to the 2015 WSOP, but it's nothing we would consider a breakout that gets him into the spotlight.
Now, Sammartino is in action at the WSOP and he's already off to a big start. He placed the $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em Championship and made the final table. There, Sammartino fought his way to a sixth-place finish worth $60,545, and it could've been something much more had one hand gone that way it was supposed to.
Not everything works out in poker, and Sammartino experienced the luck portion of the game when his went down to Shaun Deeb's thanks to a runout of . With that, the Italian was eliminated, but it could likely be just a jumping off point for Sammartino. With the wave of momentum he's been riding coming into the summer and now a big final table to kick things off, this could be his big, WSOP-breakout year.