Ex-MTG Player Wins Sixth Italian WSOP Bracelet

Rocco Palumbo
Rocco Palumbo accepting his WSOP bracelet.

Rocco Palumbo never won a major Magic: The Gathering title while he competed in the game but he’s now one of only six Italians to own a WSOP bracelet.

Fortunately for Palumbo there’s significantly more money in poker and he took down $464,464 for winning Event 44 $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em.

“Winning a WSOP bracelet is like a dream to me,” said Palumbo. “It wasn’t just the cash but also the glory of winning a bracelet.”

The 23 year old followed big-name MTG players like David Williams and Dario Minieri to poker when he saw how much success they were having in the game.

“I wasn’t better than them at Magic but I was good,” he said. “It really made me think. I came from a poor family and making $4,000 or $5,000 a month would be huge.”

Palumbo found enough similarities between the collectible card game and poker to gain an immediate edge in poker.

“Both games have an element of luck but skill makes the difference in the long run,” he said.

First Bracelet Win Since Poker Legalized in Italy

Hailing from Genoa, Italy, Palumbo initially stuck primarily to poker tournaments in his home country.

He found success in various events on the Italian Poker Tour and even finished seventh at EPT San Remo in 2011 for $130,978.

With continued success early in 2012, Palumbo was picked as one of PokerListings' Best Bets for the 2012 WSOP.

Rocco Palumbo fans
Rocco Palumbo supporters at his WSOP bracelet ceremony.

Now, Palumbo is proud to join Max Pescatori, Dario Mineri, Jeffrey Lisandro, Dario Alioto and Valter Farina as the only Italian players to win a WSOP bracelet.

“This is the first bracelet since poker became legal in Italy,” he explained. “Before that, there weren’t that many people playing.

"Max Pescatori and Dario Minieri won their bracelets the year before poker really got started in Italy.”

In the last few years the Italian government officially legalized online poker and Italians were given access to .it versions of popular online poker sites like PokerStars and PartyPoker.

“Everyone in Italy is starting to understand it’s a game of skill,” he said. “People are starting to see it more like a sport.”

Palumbo is far from finished at the 2012 WSOP.

“I was going to play everything I can other than the $10k 6-Max, which is a very tough field but I’ll probably take a shot at it now,” he said.

For all the action from the WSOP in Las Vegas click through to our 2012 World Series of Poker Live Coverage section, brought to you by 888poker.com.

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