Rocco Palumbo Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet

23-Year-Old Poker Pro from Genoa Collects $464,464

Palumbo Becomes Sixth Italian Gold Bracelet Winner in History

2012 World Series of Poker is nearly two-thirds of the way complete.  The energy and excitement of the globe’s grandest gaming spectacle shows no signs of slowing down as yet another massive crowd turned out for the $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament, classified as Event #44.
Rocco Palumbo added his name to this year’s extraordinary list of gold bracelet champions, by winning his first WSOP title tonight at the Rio, in Las Vegas.  He not only received the game’s most coveted prize – the gold bracelet – but a whopping $464,464 in prize money, as well.
Palumbo, a 23-year-old professional poker player from the Mediterranean seaport city of Genoa, became only the sixth Italian person in history to win a WSOP gold bracelet.  He joins fellow countrymen Jeffrey 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.
The three-day competition drew another monster-sized field.  The tournament began with 2,949 entrants on Sunday, and concluded on Tuesday night on the ESPN Main Stage, in front of a large crowd and a worldwide viewing audience following final table action the live stream broadcast.
The runner-up was American poker player Nelson Robinson from Charlotte, NC.
Note:  Jeffrey Lisandro enjoys duel citizenship in both Italy and Australia and refers to both nations as his home.


Name:  Rocco Palumbo

Birthplace:  Genoa, Italy  

Age:  23

Current Residence:  Genoa, Italy

Marital Status:  Married

Children:  One

Profession:  Professional Poker Player

Previous Occupation:  Accountant

Number of Years Attending WSOP:  2  

Number of WSOP Cashes:  2

Number of WSOP gold bracelet victories (with this tournament):  1

Best Previous WSOP finish:  81st (2012)
First-Place Prize Money:  $464,464

Note:  Palumbo will be classified as a professional poker player in WSOP records, since he does play full-time exclusively and has no other occupation.


Question:  This was great moment for you and a great moment for poker in Italy.  Agree?
Palumbo:   Surely, it was really a good moment for me, but surely a very good moment for Italy.  It’s two or three of us and we didn’t win a bracelet but the last one was Max Pescatori in 2008, so it’s huge.  I’m happy for me, but I’m very happy for Italy.  It’s going to be a very good thing for poker in Italy.  I’m very happy about that and the future of poker in Italy.  

Question:  How many years have you come to the World Series of Poker now?
Palumbo:  This is my second year.  

Question:  How does this tournament feel differently than making other final tables, such as at the European Poker Tour?
Palumbo:  You have to trust me that I did feel a lot more pressure on this final table.  I guess I played more relaxed here, but it was very tough to play.  I mean, it’s probably more stressful to play the latest stage of the WSOP, but I was more relaxed when I got to the last twelve players and last few players.  

Question:  What do you think is more difficult – the 3,000-player field or playing against 400 or 500 much tougher players?
Palumbo:  It’s probably harder to play with tough people, even if you get lucky they are not amateurs.  Here, there are a lot more amateurs, so if you are lucky enough to get the right cards you are probably going very deep in a short amount of time.  Instead you are playing much deeper in tournaments like EPT.

Question:  You decided to quit your job and play poker for a living.  But your parents didn’t like this, so talk about your family and what they think now?
Palumbo:   They weren’t so happy.  They were a little stressed about that.  But they always trusted me, and they always supported me.   It’s been two or three years now.  

Question:  What are your plans for the rest of the WSOP?
Palumbo:  I was planning on playing almost everything.  Well, I mean the No-Limit Hold’em tournaments.  I’m surely not playing the $1 million buy-in One Drop!   


This is the 1,002nd gold bracelet to be awarded in WSOP history.  It is also the 996th WSOP event in history.

This was classified as WSOP schedule Event #44, since it’s the 44th gold bracelet of 61 to be awarded this summer in Las Vegas.  The tournament was played over three consecutive days and nights, starting on Sunday at noon and concluding on Tuesday night.

The total duration of the final table was about four hours.  Play began at 4 p.m. and ended at 9 p.m. (there was a one-hour dinner break).

The final table included no former gold bracelet winners.

The top 297 finishers collected prize money.