The WSOP delivered another bracelet yesterday as Rocco Palumbo scooped Event 44 ($1K NLHE) although the big news from the Rio is that in an unbelievable hand of PLO right at the end of Day 3 in the coveted $50k Poker Players Championship sent Viktor "Isildur1" Blom straight to the top of the leader board and he ends the day as chip leader with 1.262 million, 100k ahead of David Oppenheim.
With proceedings about to end for the evening Blom sat square in the middle of the pack with an average chip stack just over 600k when this PLO hand against 2012 Bracelet winner Joe Cassidy played out. Cassidy & Blom got involved in some serious action after the flop of fell with Cassidy check-rasing Blom's flop bet to 138k. After Blom called the hit the turn, leading to Cassidy throwing out a 485k pot sized bet which would put Blom at risk for all his chips. As Blom called the hands were revealed only for Blom to find he was practically drawing dead as Cassidy had flopped top set with to Blom's flopped middle set with . This was pretty much the only hand which could realistically have Blom beaten given the pre-flop action and the fact that the A on the turn pairing Blom's own Ace meant that Cassidy holding AA was very unlikely. Blom was left praying for a miracle one outer when the case 9 fell on the river, sending Cassidy into shock and Blom into delirium - scooting across to the next table to high five his friend Luke "__FullFlush1__" Schwartz, exclaiming "One-Outer Baby!" as he did so. A crushed Cassidy was left with just 50k in chips, although he did stage a minor comeback in the couple of hands remaining to leave him with 141k, although he is still 24th from 26 at the end of the day.
Plenty of big names fell today as 36 more players went to the rail yesterday including reigning champ Brian Rast, Brian Hastings, Patrik Antonius, Jason Mercier, Doyle Brunson and Abe Mosseri, who had started the day in second place but couldn't maintain his form today. Both Phil's will return tomorrow as Phil Ivey chipped up again from his starting 166k to end the day with just under 400k (still below the 623k average but with the blinds creeping ever skywards just one big hand could see him reach the top half of the count) although Phil Hellmuth is unlikely to make much more of an impact on proceedings as he Haemorrahaged chips during the last few hours of play and is left with less than a big blind on 28,000 chips and will need a miracle bigger than Isildur1's to turn this one around!. Also with over a million chips we see Daniel Alaei and a player who's already tasted WSOP glory this week, David ODB Baker. The bubble will burst tomorrow with 16 from the remaining 26 to get paid. Currently in the bubble position is the ever entertaining and ever controversial figure of Luke "__FullFlush1__" Schwartz who had a few verbal spats with the first real poker brat Phil Hellmuth today. No doubt Schwartz's detractors would love to see him end up in the 17th spot he currently occupies although Schwartz is proving a hardy competitor having come back from big beats on several occasions in this event already to end on a respectable 500k.
The one event decided yesterday was event 44 ($1k NLHE) and it was Italy's Roccu Palumbo who struck gold after 16 players came back to contest for the spoils on day three. This event drew the largest field for an open event this year with 2,949 players registering on day 1.
When Day 3 started Palumbo was the short stack at his table and placed 13th overall with just 382k chips (552k average) but by the time the final nine were decided he had crept up into fifth place, although was still well behind the chip lead, his 85k stack dwarfed by that of final table chip leader Niel Mittleman who held 1.8 million with Kevin Elia just behind on 1.6 million. The final table actually arrived fairly quickly as the first seven players fell in under two hours of play. The only WSOP bracelet holder left in the tournament, Keven Stammen was one of those failing to make the final table.
Palumbo asserted himself fairly quickly at the final table taking down a +1.2 million pot early on to eliminate 9th place finisher David Forster in an AA vs AK all in pre-flop encounter and also took down sixth place finisher Kevin Elia in another c1.2m pot (both players flopping top pair with Palumbo out kicking his opponent) to pick up the chip lead with 3.6 million. After eliminating Thomas Conway in third, Palumbo went into heads up play against Nelson Robinson with a slight chip lead (4.6m to 4.2m).
Heads up play ended up being a pretty one sided affair as Palumbo muscled his way towards victory and soon had more than a 7-1 chip advantage. Despite a couple of mini comebacks from Robinson the result didn't really ever look in doubt and after Robinson got his last chips in with K6 and was looked up by Palumbo's A9 the writing was on the wall. Especially as Palumbo flopped an Ace to seal the deal and capture his first WSOP bracelet and the $464k payday.
With just 25 players left in event 46 ($2.5k NLHE) the bracelet will be decided tomorrow as Joey Weismann leads the field with 1.24m . There are a couple of notables high on the leader board as 2010 PCA $25k High Roller Champ William Reynolds is currently third in chips with 1.066m and PokerStars Team Pro and former WSOP bracelet winner Vanessa Selbst in 4th with 786k.
Yesterday saw day one of event 47 ($1.5k PLO8) get underway with the 978 entrants becoming 149 by the end of play. Currently leading is WSOP and WPT winner, Brazilian Alex Gomes who has a pretty substantial chip lead with 143k (second placed Roch Cousineau has 95.5k). In fact, perhaps a little surprisingly for such a low buy-in event with a lot of entrants the top of the leader board is littered with big names with WPT and WSOP winner James Dempsey in 3rd, multiple WSOP bracelet winner Andy Frankerberger in 4th and NAPT and WPT winner Joe Tehan in 6th. Of course a fair few big names fell yesterday including; Jonathan Duhamel, Scott Clements, Steve Sung, Todd Brunson, Erik Seidel and Freddy Deeb.
Finally we saw Day 1 of event 48 ($3k LHE) completed with 247 entrants become 126. Current chip leader is Sam Barnhart who has a couple of WSOP-C titles to his name as well as a deep run in last years Main Event when he places 17th for $378k with 58.9k chips, followed by David Forster, fresh from the final table in Event 44 with 52k. Chad Brown is also among the current leaders with 41.1k chips with likes of Jonathan Duhamel and Daniel "KidPoker" Negreanu also still in contention - unlike Isaac "philivey2694" Haxton, Phil Ivey, and Scott Seiver who all busted the event early doors.