SCOOP 2013: The Italian in the kilt with the SCOOP title

So, imagine it as a murder mystery.

It's an apartment in London where ElkY, Nicolas Levi, Anthony Roux, Arnaud Mattern and some other guy live. They sleep through the day. They rage at night. They talk about poker in between. One day, everybody wakes up, and more than 26,000 people have been eliminated.

Now, find your killer. That is, find the newest Spring Championship of Online Poker champion.

If you had ElkY in the conservatory with the candlestick, think again, and cast your eyes on this character.


To get a grasp on one of 2013's first SCOOP winners is a bit like the board game "Cluedo" (known as Clue in other parts of the world). There's scads of money, locations galore, and characters aplenty. When you find the right combination, you have your champ. To wit:

Gabriele Santoro wore a kilt to his wedding. He's not Scottish.

Gabriele Santoro has lived in the UK for the past 13 years. He's not British.

Gabriele Santoro has lived with ElkY, Levi, Roux, and Mattern, but he's not a fulltime pro. He's the other guy.

Gabriele Santoro's family is part owner of a huge Italian shirt company called NaraCamicee. His job has nothing to do with clothing. He's a content manager for a gaming company's website.

Put another way, Santoro makes his way through life--or many lives, it seems--taking a path not laid out for him. At 31 years old, he is just a few years removed from once playing 2.5 million poker hands in one month while 24-tabling cash games. Still, today he says he plays poker on the side.

That side job just brought in $48,000 in two days.

Santoro (known as Gowardo on PokerStars) won SCOOP-02-L yesterday, eliminating a field of 26,678 for the title, and cutting a five-way deal that answered a question he had for a long time.

"I have played poker tournaments for fun for a while and have always wondered what it may feel like to finally win a big one and be involved in the deal process on a reasonably big poker table," he said.

There will be a reader or two who might wonder how a man who once put in ten hours a day online and partied with the greats of the game could give it all up. Older readers will understand.

"After my wedding, I decided to quit official full-time poker and get a job because of mortgages and all that," he said.


And, so, he went to work and tried to fit in poker on the side.

Meanwhile, he's adjusting to married life, a new house, and the many differences that go along with those monumental life shifts.

He's adjusted well, it seems. While he may not be as well known as his old roommates, he is no longer above suspicion when it comes time to ID a suspect in mass-termination of a massive poker field.

"I absolutely loved the experience, and I will make sure I play at least one or two SCOOPs every year at least," he said.

Respected members of the jury, I submit to you that those are the words of a potential serial killer.

Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in SCOOP