Five Italian Poker Players to Watch in 2022
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With a return of live poker hopefully on the cards, PokerNews wants to make sure that you are up to date on what players could be making a splash in events and tours during 2022. Over the next couple of months, we'll be taking a close look at which poker players we should be looking out for!
Italian poker fans have been spoilt for choice over the years, with the likes of Dario Sammartino, Mustapha Kanit and Max Pescatori all flying the Tricolore. All of won prestigious international tournaments, made deep runs in major festivals or crushed the High Roller scene.
This year promises to bring similar, not just from these stalwarts, but from the talent of various young guns making their way into the poker scene. We spoke with Assopoker's Luciano Del Frate to find out his best bets for top Italian poker players of 2022.
"He is the present and future of Italian poker"
An emerging star of Italian live poker, Andrea Ricci certainly had a 2021 to remember. After winning the WSOP Circuit Main Event in Rozvadov for €246,839, he also added four cashes at the 2021 World Series of Poker. With the Italian Poker Open the most important national circuit for Italians, he naturally triumphed there also, winning the San Marino IPO for €125,535.
His first major victory came back in 2018, winning the Premiere Million in Nova Gorica, Slovenia for €230,000. These results all show the talent of this young grinder. According to Del Frate, he is the "present and future" of Italian poker.
Matteo “sgrillex” Sarais
Moving from the live felt to the online streets, Matteo "sgrillex" Sarais is among the top Italian online MTT players. Having won over €100,000 in 2021, Sarais is as much a tournament grinder as a cash game crusher.
The 27-year-old, originally from Milan, is Del Frate's biggest bet for 2022. Although he hasn't played much live poker, like Ricci he also bagged an Italian Poker Open title, winning a 1,100-entry festival in Liechtenstein for $124,023.
Another Italian online player tipped for more success is Enrico Camosci. Having excelled on PokerStars and GGPoker in 2021, he is a highly respected regular on the online felt. Having already won a bracelet during the 2020 WSOP Online, and coming close to winning another in the same year, Camosci already has a lot of experience despite his young age, and is ready for another shot at a major title.
Already an Italian poker veteran, Gianluca Speranza sits fourth in the country's All-Time Money List with over $3.5 million in career earnings. Unsurprisingly, Del Frate tipped him for more success in 2022 having cashed in five events at the 2021 WSOP and finished the year with a flourish, witha third place in the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio.
In 2022, Speranza could be one of the main Italian players at the WSOP again. Could a first bracelet be on the horizon at the 2022 World Series of Poker?
Luigi Andrea Shehadeh
Don't take our word for it when it comes to Luigi Andrea Shehadeh, listen to Dario Sammartino who believes in the talent displayed by Shehadeh. Last year he grabbed 11 WSOP cashes, three of which were live, and is ready to return to the levels of 2017-18 when he was especially dominant.
During that period he won the Italian Poker Open, the 888poker LIVE Barcelona Main Event and a side event at EPT Barcelona for combined cashes of over $800,000.
Del Frate says that Shehadeh appears ready to take a massive leap back into the international field.