Five of the Best Italian Poker Players

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Saturday, June 2 is the Festa della Repubblica, the Italian Republic Day. The day commemorates the people voting for a republic over a monarchy following the fall of fascism and the end of World War II in 1946. So what better way to pay homage to this historic day than by looking at five of Italy's elite poker players?


1) Mustapha "lasagnaaammm" Kanit

Mustapha Kanit


Mustapha Kanit, also known as "lasagnaaammm" online, was an easy choice for the most elite poker player from Italy. At just 27 years of age, Kanit is on top of The Hendon Mob Italy All Time Money List with $10.9 million in earnings.

His first big live poker tournament cash came in February 2010 when he took second place in the Malta Poker Dream €1,100 Main Event for €53,500 ($74,676). The following year, Kanit snagged his first of many six-figure cashes after winning the IPT Nova Gorica €2,200 Main Event for €200,000 ($276,400).

Kanit has also managed two seven-figure scores. In May 2015, he won the EPT Monte Carlo Grand Final €50,000 Super High Roller for €936,500 ($1,048,243). A year later, he finished runner-up in the EPT Monte Carlo Grand Final €100,000 Super High Roller for $1,653,491.

The Italian is also off to a hot start this year with about $1.5 million in cashes in tournaments in five different countries. His biggest cash of the year came when he took second place in the partypoker MILLIONS Germany €51,000 Super High Roller for €500,000 ($612,422).

Kanit is also a beat online with $4.9 million in cashes as tracked by PocketFives. His biggest online win came when he shipped the SCOOP-45-H: $10,300 NL Hold'em Main Event at PokerStars in May 2015 for $1,304,720.

Kanit has not shown up at the World Series of Poker yet, will he make an appearance later on?

Mustapha Kanit Poker Stats (June, 2018)

Italian All Time Money List1st
All Time Money List58th
Global Poker Index88th
Best Live Cash$1,653,491
Total Live Earnings$10,911,866

Twitter: @mustacchione

Mustapha Kanit
Mustapha "lasagnaaammm" Kanit

2) Dario Sammartino

Dario Sammartino


Dario Sammartino is one of Italy's most successful players and just behind Kanit for the most live tournament earnings from Italian players with almost $7.3 million in career cashes.

A decade ago, Sammartino appeared at a final table in his very first major tournament when he took eighth place in the Royal Poker Tour Red Sea €1,100 Main Event in May 2008 for €3,800 ($4,781).

For years, Sammartino grinded out a plethora of four and five-figure cashes. The Italian notched his first six-figure score in a big way when he finished in fourth place in the EPT Monte Carlo Grand Final €100,000 Super High Roller for €709,500 ($782,465). A few days later, he followed it up with another six-figure cash when he took sixth place in the EPT Monte Carlo Grand Final €25,500 High Roller for €257,400 ($286,902).

Sammartino has impressively cashed in 26 different World Series of Poker (WSOP) Events. While he is yet to claim a WSOP gold bracelet, he did nail down his biggest cash during the WSOP last summer when he took third place in the WSOP $111,111 High Roller for One Drop for $1,608,295.

Sammartino entered the $100,000 High Roller at the 2018 WSOP, but did not cash.

Dario Sammartino Poker Stats (June, 2018)

Italian All Time Money List2nd
All Time Money List108th
Global Poker Index65th
Best Live Cash$1,608,295
Total Live Earnings$7,253,336
Dario Sammartino
Dario Sammartino

3) Max Pescatori

Max Pescatori

Max Pescatori, also known as "The Italian Pirate," is one of Italy's biggest tournament beasts with more than $4.5 million in live tournament cashes, placing him in third place among Italians.

With four WSOP gold bracelets in four different poker variants, Pescatori has proven to be a force to be reckoned with. In total, Pescatori has amassed an amazing 73 WSOP cashes and two WSOP circuit gold rings.

Max Pescatori Poker Stats (June, 2018)

Italian All Time Money List3rd
All Time Money List232th
Global Poker Index893rd
Best Live Cash$682,389
Total Live Earnings$4,505,046

Max Pescatori WSOP Victories

YearWSOP TournamentPrize
2006$2,500 No Limit Hold'em$682,389
2008$2,500 Pot Limit Hold'em/Omaha$246,509
2015$1,500 Razz$155,947
2015$10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship$292,158

Twitter: @maxpescatori

Max Pescatori
Max Pescatori

4) Rocco Palumbo

Rocco Palumbo


Rocco Palumbo made the list due to his success in both live and online poker. On the live felt, Palumbo has amassed nearly $2.2 million in cashes.

He is one victory away from a live triple crown with a victory in a WSOP $1,000 No Limit Hold'em gold bracelet event in 2012 for $464,464. The following year, Palumbo won the WPT Venice €3,300 Grand Prix for €140,000 ($180,692).

Palumbo has also won big in online poker tournaments. According to his PocketFives "RoccoGe" profile, Palumbo has amassed more than $4.8 million in online tournament cashes and was ranked as high as sixth in the world in 2016.

Rocco Palumbo Poker Stats (June, 2018)

Italian All Time Money List10th
All Time Money List668th
Global Poker Index613th
Best Live Cash$464,464
Total Live Earnings$2,191,340

Twitter: @roccoge

Rocco Palumbo
Rocco Palumbo

5) Filippo Candio

Filippo Candio

It was a tough choice between Filippo Candio and former PokerStars Team Pro Luca Pagano. Ow, and players like EPT champions Salvatore Bonavena, and Antonio Buonanno, and grinders like Alessio Isaia and Sergio Castelluccio.

However, Candio got the nod with $3.5 million in cashes because he won the most money among Italians in a WSOP event after taking fourth place in the 2010 WSOP Main Event for $3.1 million. We never want to forget this guy, right?

Candio announced his retirement from poker in 2014. His last cash came in 2015 when he finished 5th in a small Italian Poker Open side event.

Filippo Candio Poker Stats (June, 2018)

Italian All Time Money List4th
All Time Money List341st
Best Live Cash$3,092,545
Total Live Earnings$3,491,895

Twitter: @filippocandio

Filippo Candio
Filippo Candio

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