WSOP TODAY: June 26; Blom stuns field to lead Poker Players Championship

Highlights from day 31 of the 2012 WSOP (June 26)

Rocco Palumbo has joined a select list of WSOP bracelet winners from Italy after conquering a massive field of 2949 players to win Event #44, a $1000 No Limit Hold’em tournament. Palumbo is a 23-year-old professional poker player from the Mediterranean seaport city of Genoa.

He joins fellow countrymen Jeff Lisandro (Salerno), Max Pescatori (Milan), Dario Alioto (Palermo), Dario Minieri (Rome) and Valter Farina (Genoa). Farina was the first Italian champion, who won his breakthrough victory back in 1995 while Lisandro enjoys duel citizenship in Italy and Australia.

Four Aussies cashed in this event – Sydney duo Chris Moutzouris (38th, $8812) and Sheldon Mayer (140th, $2601) along with Melbourne pair John Lane (110th, $2920) and Sarah Beard (209th, $2123).

• The Rio was abuzz at the end of day three in the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship after Swedish wunderkind Viktor Blom (pictured, with thanks to topped the chip count with 26 of the 108 starters remaining. Amazingly, the online poker superstar better known as Isildur1 had only a week of practice in six of the eight variants played in this event!

When play began on day three, there were 62 contenders. Five levels later, just 26 remained with Greg Mueller, Scott Clements, Brian Hastings, Barry Greenstein, David Benyamine, Jason Mercier, last year’s winner Brian Rast, and Doyle Brunson falling by the wayside.

The top 10 stacks belong to Blom (1,262,000), David Oppenheim (1,165,000), Daniel Alaei (1,058,000), David Baker (1,025,000), John Hennigan (992,000), Bill Chen (984,000), Stephen Chidwick (874,000), Bruno Fitoussi (861,000), Chris Klodnicki (859,000) and Andy Bloch (667,000), while Phil Ivey (397,000), Jeff Lisandro (204,000) and Phil Hellmuth (28,000) are also still in contention.

• Event #46, the $2500 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament, continues today with day three including the final table. There are 25 players remaining from the starting field of 1607. Joey Weissman is the current chip leader while William Reynolds, gold bracelet winner Vanessa Selbst, and Konstanstin Puchkov remain in the hunt. Puchkov’s deep run in this event has assured him a ninth cash for the 2012 WSOP, one more than his closest rival Terrence Chan.

Brazilian Alex Gomes leads the 117 players (of 978 starters) who’ll return for day two of Event #47, the $1500 Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split tournament. Meanwhile in Event #48, the $1500 buy-in Limit Hold’em tournament, there are 116 players remaining from the starting field of 247. Reigning WSOP National Champion Sam Barnhart is the current leader while David Steicke sits 18th in chips. Event #49, the $1500 buy-in Ante-Only No Limit Hold’em tournament, starts today.

• Additional reporting, Nolan Dalla,

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