Day 31 of the 2012 World Series of Poker took place on Tuesday with six separate events going on around the Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino. Only one bracelet was awarded; it went to Italy’s Rocco Palumbo in Event #44: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em. Event #45: $50,000 Poker Players Championship saw its field pared to the final 26 players with online sensation Viktor "Isildur1" Blom in the lead. Event #46: $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em played down past the money bubble to the final 25 players. Finally, Event #47: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Low Split 8-or-Better and Event #48: $3,000 Limit Hold'em got under way.
On Tuesday, 16 players returned to battle for gold. The chip leader going into the final day, Thomas Conway, had 880,000 chips. He was followed closely by Nelson Robinson with 871,000. But in the end, Italian pro Rocco Palumbo defeated the largest WSOP open event field thus far to take home the top prize of $464,464 and his first gold bracelet.
The first elimination of the day occurred just a half hour into play. Keven Stammen was able to improve on his 28th place finish from Event #38: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em when he came into Day 3 of Event #44 as part of the final 16 players. He began the day in the top half of the leaderboard, but his run was cut short after one unfortunate hand.
In his second-to-last hand, with blinds at 8,000/16,000, Stammen was faced with a four-bet from Kevin Elia to 150,000. Stammen tanked and Elia called the clock on him. Stammen eventually moved all-in, only for Elia to insta-call all-in and flip over pocket aces. Stammen had pocket queens and found no help on the board, leaving him with 90,000 in chips. These went in on the next hand and David Forster called. Stammen was behind, and stayed behind, ace-four suited to pocket sixes, and his tournament was over.
The last 10 players were moved to the ESPN feature table, but the seats weren’t even warm before there was an all-in and a call. Darren Rabinowitz was looking for a double up with pocket kings and was all in against Kevin Elia's ace-king. Rabinowitz was still ahead on the flop, but he saw an ace fall on the turn giving Elia a huge pot and Rabinowitz was the final table bubble boy.
David Forster had 870,000 when the final table began. With blinds at 10,000/20,000, action folded around to Palumbo in the cutoff. He opened it up to 48,000. Forster was directly on his left on the button and three-bet to 105,000. It folded back to Palumbo, who hesitated before announcing he was all-in. Forster called and then saw the bad news — Palumbo had pocket aces. Forster turned over Big Slick and looked for help. The board ran out giving Forster a gut-shot Broadway draw, but the river blanked, putting him out in ninth place.
Anke Berner was one of the shorter stacks when Day 2 began but finished the day with 655,000, and began Tuesday sixth in chips out of the remaining 16. Her amazing run fell short of the top spot, though. She lost over 200,000 to pressure from Niel Mittelman on one hand, then later took him on heads-up with negative results. In middle position, she moved all-in for her last 384,000. Mittelman called from the cutoff and the two turned up their cards. Bender was way behind, against Mittelman’s , and no help from the board gave her a seventh-place finish.
Down to six-handed, Palumbo took down a huge pot against Mittelman, giving him more than one-third of the chips in play. In that hand, there had already been three bets when the flop came . Mittelman check-raised Palumbo’s 76,000 bet, making it 210,000 to go. Palumbo called, then called Mittelman’s 250,000 bet on the turn. When the fell on the river, Mittelman fired out again, this time for 800,000. Palumbo called once more and Mittelman said, "You're good," as he turned over . Palumbo held and raked in the giant pot with his trip kings.
Mittelman got a double-up courtesy of Kevin Elia when his pocket fours turned a set and then rivered quads, dropping Elia down to 600,000. He got all his chips in against Palumbo with a board reading , and Palumbo quickly called. When the cards were revealed, Elia had top pair and a flush draw with , but Palumbo had a better kicker and a better flush draw with . When the board ran out , Elia got a sixth-place finish.
Robinson was all-in and on his way out next with against the of Mittelman. The flop gave Mittelman even more of a lead, but a moved Robinson out in front where he stayed, earning a much needed double-up, after the fell on the river. Instead of Robinson, Jason Everett ended up the next player sent to the rail, in fifth place, when he went all-in against Robinson ace-seven versus ace-ten and the board improved neither player.
Robinson was responsible for the next elimination, as well. In a raising war with Mittelman, Robinson five-bet all-in and Mittelman called. Mittelman was slightly behind — ace-queen off suit versus pocket eights — and when the board ran out , he was still behind and on his way to pick up his fourth-place prize money.
Three-handed, Thomas Conway was shortstacked with 547,000, less than 20 big blinds, and he got it all-in from the small blind with . Palumbo called him with and when the board ran out , Conway was the third-place finisher.
Going into heads-up play, Palumbo had a slight chip advantage over Robinson. Palumbo started to pull away and had Robinson down to just over 1 million in chips, but Robinson managed to double up twice, first with king-jack against Palumbo’s pocket fives when he turned a pair of jacks. The second time was when both hit a pair of kings on the flop, but Robinson’s superior kicker played.
But Robinson could not find another double-up. Shortly after they returned from dinner, Robinson and Palumbo got into a preflop raising war. Robinson four-bet pushed all-in with for his remaining stack and Palumbo called with . The board ran out and Robinson was eliminated in second place.
The 23-year-old poker pro from Genoa, Italy, became the sixth Italian to win a WSOP gold bracelet and the first this year.
Event #44 Results
To follow all the action as the final 16 played down to crown a winner, make sure you check out the live reporting blog.
After another five levels of play, only 26 players remain to vie for the trophy, the bracelet and the $1,451,527 prize money. The chip leader heading into Day 4 will be Viktor “Isildur” Blom, courtesy of a one-outer that propelled him into the lead with 1,262,000. David Oppenheim has the next biggest stack and joining him in the over 1-million-chip club are Daniel Alaei and David “ODB” Baker. Also coming back are Michael Mizrachi and his brother Robert Mizrachi, looking for a return trip to the PPC final table they both shared in 2010.
Phil Ivey is still alive and moving on to Day 4, as is Phil Hellmuth who is just barely hanging on with just over two big bets. Hellmuth had over a half million in chips with just one level to go and looked poised to end the day in the middle of the pack, but he started steaming after losing a hand to Lyle Berman in stud eight when the straight he made on fifth street lost to Berman’s seventh-street full house. That hand seemed to spell the beginning of the end for Hellmuth. In a later hand, he called the floor on Luke Schwartz after the latter showed his cards to his rail. Then Schwartz moved all-in on Hellmuth and the two verbally bantered before Hellmuth mucked. Hellmuth was down to one bet and doubled up just before the day ended, but he has a long way to go if he hopes to win his 13th bracelet in this event.
At the start of the third day of this five-day event, 63 players remained. Andy Bloch was the chip leader 687,000 chips. He managed to survive the day, but failed to improve on his chip stack, finishing the day slightly down with 667,000 in chips. Last year’s winner, Brian Rast, was unable to move on. He was knocked out in a hand of Omaha 8 against Ben Yu. Rast put his chips at risk preflop having looked at just three of his hole cards, . Yu turned over all of his, showing . The board ran out and Yu had a pair of kings with an ace kicker for high with the nut low. Rast turned over his fourth card after the river, but it changed nothing and his elimination meant there would be no repeat champion this year.
Other notables who hit the rail on Day 3 included Matt Hawrilenko, Brian Hastings, Scott Clements, David Benyamine, Jason Mercier, Matt Glantz, Patrik Antonius and Huck Seed.
Day 4 looks to be a supercharged day as the field is getting close to the final table and so many top pros with a shot to take down the top prize. John Hennigan, Bill Chen, Stephen Chidwick, Mike Wattel, Bruno Fitoussi, and Chris Klodnicki will be returning with above-average chip stacks. But don’t count anyone out. Berman, Yu, Schwartz and the Mizrachis will be back along with John Monnette, Roland Israelashvili, Anthony Lellouche, Brett Richey, Jeff Lisandro, David Chiu, Joe Cassidy, and Michael Glick.
Play will resume at 1400 PDT (2200 BST) on Wednesday and the remaining 26 players will play past the money bubble at 16 and on toward the final table. The first 10 players eliminated will be out of the money, but those who make it past the money bubble are guaranteed at least $91,549.
Don’t miss out on any of the action from this stacked field, check out the live reporting blog.
When Day 2 began, 233 players were left in the field, 62 shy of the money bubble. Ryan D'Angelo was chip leader with 190,300, and there were many notables still in the field including Shankar Pillai, Celine Dion’s husband Rene Angelil, Fabrizio Gonzalez, Jean Gaspard, Marvin Rettenmaier, John Phan, Jason Wheeler, and reigning Main Event champ Pius Heinz. Of this group, only Gonzalez survived.
Heinz was knocked out by Larry Duplantis. Heinz three-bet all-in pre-flop and Duplantis tanked before calling, stating that he was there to gamble. He turned over and Heinz had a slight lead with king-queen off suit until Duplantis rivered a pair of fives and knocked Heinz out.
Wheeler was one of the last eliminated, having the bad timing of moving all-in from the small blind with ace-seven to see the big blind, Robert Castoire wake up with pocket kings. Castoire improved to a set on the board and Wheeler was sent to the rail with only 15 minutes of play remaining.
At the end of the day, Joey Weissman bagaged up the most chips — 1,239,000 to be exact. Joining him in the million-plus chip club are Michael Gagliano and William Reynolds. Close on their heels is Vanessa Selbt, looking to become the first woman since — herself in 2008 — to win an bracelet in an open event.
The unfortunate bubble boy was Gordon Vayo who lost a three way all-in versus Hunter Frey and Angelil to be eliminated in 172nd place. Also cashing, but not returning to battle for the bracelet, were Mike Lean, Peter Traply, Leo Wolpert, Mike Keikoan, Steven Kelly, Ludovic Lacay, Randy Lew, John Phan, Chris Moorman, Mike McDonald, and James Akenhead.
At the end of the day, only 25 players remain, spread out over the final three tables. They will attempt to play down to a winner on Wednesday.
To follow all the action as the money bubble bursts and play heads to the final 25, check out the live reporting blog.
Last year, this event was won by David Singontiko, who won his first bracelet in the first event he ever entered by defeating a field of 946. This year boasted an even bigger field — 978 players — creating a first place prize of $267,345. The Brasilia room at the Rio was packed with notable players. Barry Greenstein, Mike "The Mouth" Matusow, Freddy Deeb, Steve Billirakis, Sorel Mizzi, and ”Miami" John Cernuto were spotted in the field — all sitting at the same stacked table.
The bust-out list grew quickly and filled with notables right from the start. Day 1 casualties included David Williams, Brandon Cantu, Jason Mercier, Bryan Devonshire, Kathy Liebert, Gavin Smith, Jennifer Harman, Scotty Nguyen, Erik Seidel, Allen Cunningham, Men Nguyen, Dwyte Pilgrim and David “Bakes” Baker.
Daniel Negreanu had a rough go early on and was knocked out before the dinner break. With the board reading . Negreanu potted and his opponent went all-in. Negreanu had him covered and called. Negreanu tabled but his opponent had a better full house with . The river changed nothing, and as he shipped most of his chips off, Negreanu quipped, "You take that money son and do good with it."
At the end of 10 levels of play, 149 players remained. Leading the field is Alex Gomes with 143,300 in chips, the only player in six figures. In second place is Roch Cousineau with 95,500. Also bagging up above-average chip stacks are James Dempsey, Andy Frankenberger, Joe Tehan, Barry Greenstein, Kevin Iacofano, and Dario Alioto, They will all return on Wednesday to play down to the money and then as close to a final table as they can get.
To make sure you don’t miss any of the action, follow our live reporting blog throughout the day.
Last year Tyler Bonkowski defeated a field of 337 to win the $220,817 and the bracelet in this event. This year’s field was down — just 247 players entered — creating a top prize of $165,205. After eight levels of play, Sam Barnhart is the Day 1 chip leader with 58,900 chips. Following closely behind him are Michael Parizon (46,800), Micah Raskin (44,000), and Chad Brown (41,100).
Plenty of notable players were in the starting field but failed to survive, including Mike Sowers, Shawn Buchanan, Isaac Haxton, Scott Seiver, Don Zewin, Richard Brodie, and, blinded off while he continued his run in the $50K PPC, Phil Ivey.
Former WSOP Main Event champ Jonathan Duhamel busted last year’s winner, Bonkowski, late in the evening. Bonkowski was all-in preflop, and both Duhamel and fellow Canadian Daniel Negreanu had him at risk. Duhamel check-called Negreanu’s bet on the flop them both players checked the turn. Duhamel bet after the hit the river, Negreanu mucked, and Duhamel turned over for a pair of kings which was good enough to send Bonkowski to the rail.
Just under half the starting field, 126 players, will be back for Day 2 action. Among those returning are Duhamel, Maria Ho, Jimmy Fricke, Justin Bonomo, Jeff Shulman, Dutch Boyd, Jerrod Ankenman, Humberto Brenes, Dan Kelly, and a severely short-stacked, but still alive, Negreanu.
Play will resume at 1300 PDT (2100 BST) in the Amazon room as we play down to the money bubble and close to the final table.
To follow all the chip-ups and bust-outs from Day 1, check out the PokerNews live reporting blog.
On Wednesday, Day 4 of the five-day Event #45: $50,000 Poker Players Championship will get us closer to the final table, starting at 1300 PDT (2100 BST). Event #46: $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em will play down to a winner, commencing at 1300 PDT (2100 BST). Day 2 action will take place at 1300 PDT (2100 BST) in Event #47: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Low Split 8-or-Better and in Event #48: $3,000 Limit Hold'em as both events play down past the money bubble and toward a final table. Finally, one more event will get started at 1200 PDT (2000 BST), Event 49: $1,500 Ante-Only No-Limit Hold'em.
To make sure you don't miss any of the action on Wednesday, check out the live reporting blog throughout the day.
Video of the Day
Kristy Arnett had a chance to talk to Daniel Negreanu during a break in Event #48 about his rough road this WSOP, his controversial tweets, his training session with Viktor Blom, and his real feelings about Annie Duke.
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