WSOP TODAY: June 25; Channing pipped at the post for first bracelet

Highlights from day 30 of the 2012 WSOP (June 25)

The 2012 WSOP is has passed the halfway point with the energy and excitement of the grandest gaming spectacle showing no signs of slowing down as shown by another huge turnout for the $1500 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament, classified as Event #43.

Tournament newcomer Henry Lu added his name to this year’s list of gold bracelet champions after winning his first WSOP title at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. He received the game’s most coveted prize – the gold bracelet – and a whopping USD $654,380 in prize money as well. Lu was down to just two big blinds with 11 players remaining.

The runner up was the popular, but long-suffering British poker veteran Neil Channing, who led Lu on two occasions by a margin of 9:2, missed the chance at what would have been a richly deserved first WSOP victory.

• Konstantin Puchkov is determined to keep one of the most prestigious WSOP records in Russia. In the midst of a chase with Terrence Chan for most cashes at this year’s WSOP, both players currently have eight in-the-money finishes, following in Puchkov’s min-cash in Event #43. About 15 gold bracelet events remain (in Las Vegas – not including WSOP Europe, with seven added).

The all-time record for most cashes at a WSOP belongs to Nikolay Evdakov, who set the mark with 10, back in 2008.  Sadly, Evdakov passed away earlier this year. Several players are actually within striking distance. However, Puchkov and Chan remain the clear favourites to match, if not break the record, entering the final stretch of the series.

Meanwhile in the race for the WSOP Player of the Year award, there are also some clear frontrunners. Through the completion of Event #43, Phil Ivey holds a slim points lead over John Monnette. Andy Frankenberger and Phil Hellmuth are in third and fourth respectively.

• There’s another packed schedule in store for the Rio today, starting with the final 16 players who’ll return to decide the Event #44 ($1000 No Limit Hold’em) title. Thomas Conway is the current chip leader on 880,000 but the chips are evenly spread among the remaining contenders.

The prestigious Poker Players Championship also enters day three with 63 of the 108 starters returning. Andy Bloch, who finished runner-up in the inaugural edition of this event back in 2006, is the chip leader but a star-studded line-up (including Aussie Jeff Lisandro) are still in the hunt for this title.

Event #46, the $2500 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament, continues with 233 players back for day two after 1607 entered. Ryan D’Angelo is the current chip leader with 190,300. Event #47 (the $1500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split) and Event #48 ($3000 Limit Hold’em) are scheduled to start today.

• Additional reporting, Nolan Dalla,

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