Event 35 Over! Michael Rocco Wins!

Yo! I Won!
Yo! I Won!

We have a brand new bracelet winner and it's Michael Rocco. He came back from the last break with a significant edge chip-wise and finished off his heads-up opponent with a crippling blow and one final knock-out punch!

When the two sat back down at the table our runner-up, Al Barbieri, made an announcement. "I'm making a statement right now. If you don't end it in 15 hands or less we're going to be here for a long time!"

In the end it would only take half that number for every last chip in play to end up in front of our champion. Michael Rocco takes his first bracelet and $135,753 while Al Barbieri takes second and the $83,210 that goes with it.

When the final hand had been completed and Rocco knew the title was his he leaped from the table, pumping his fist and letting out a cry of victory. These days it's rare to see such a display of emotion but when it occurs it's great to see. One thing is for sure, Michael Rocco is squeezing every last drop of enjoyment out of his win.

Details on those last two key hands will be up in a moment. Ditto for winner photos and the interview, although those will take a bit longer.

The Crippler

On the sixth or seventh hand since returning from break Rocco brought it in with the #Q4c and Barbieri popped it with the 9. Barbieri stayed in the driver's seat until all the up-cards were on the felt, leaving the boards as so.

Barbieri: (X-X)9dA 7 9

Rocco: (X-X)4 7 J 2

Barbieri bet and Rocco raised. Barbieri called and tossed in a blind bet on seventh street. Rocco raised and Barbieri made a crying call. Rocco tabled 5 3 for the straight and Barbieri mucked in disgust.

The Death Blow

Left with only $40,000 or so Barbieri was all-in on the next hand with 3 to Rocco's 7. The dealer ran it and after all the cards were out we saw Rocco had done it. Long story short Rocco made a pair of kings on seventh street which was good against Barbieri's pair of treys.

Congratulations Michael Rocco!

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Event 34 - Final Table - Advantage Rocco

Mike Rocco has taken control of this match, playing a more passive style than his opponent which is working well considering he’s been picking up a few big hands. Rocco has extended his lead so read for a look at the action and the updated counts.

Rocco Catches Case

Mike Rocco just took down a big pot courtesy of runner-runnering trip threes with his last three up-cards. The hand started with Rocco bringing it in with the 3 and Barbieri completing with his Q. Rocco made the call and received the 2. Rocco bet the next three streets and Barbieri called the first two. Here are the boards at the that point.

Rocco: (X-X)3 2 2 2

Barbieri : (X-X)Q 4 5 J

Once Rocco had bet Barbieri picked up one of his hole cards and turned it over, the 2, and mucked the rest of his hand. “The case deuce?” griped Barbieri as the pot was pushed to his opponent.

Barbieri Stays Active

Despite taking the worst of it on most of the big pots we’ve seen, Barbieri is doing a good job picking up the dead money without a showdown. When we were last table-side he picked up three quick pots in a row by putting pressure on Rocco’s bring-in and meeting no resistance.

This seems to play right into Rocco’s style. He’s getting involved with the best of it and with the extra money in the pot as the hand begins he’s managed to get paid off when he makes a hand.

Heads-Up Counts

Here are the new counts for our final two, courtesy of www.worldseriesofpoker,com.

Michael Rocco $890,000
Al Barbieri


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Event 35 - Can't Get Enough of that Sugar Bear

This heads-up battle continues and with the levels rising each pot played to the river is growing big enough to make a difference. Rocco's in the lead at the moment but that can change over the course of just one hand.

Barbieri seems to be the aggressor, playing a much more proactive style than his opponent. Rocco is content to keep pots small and try to outplay Barbieri over the long run. Only one will emerge victorious so stick with us for the conclusion.

Rocco Rockin’

Mike Rocco just netted a nice pot, picking up a ton of chips given the size of the betting limits. It began with Al Barbieri bringing it in with the 8 and Rocco making the call with the A. Rocco called a bet on the next street when he got the Q and Barbieri received the K.

The next street saw the 6 for Rocco and the Q for Barbieri. Sugar Bear bet it and Rocco raised. Barbieri called and took the 8. Rocco bet his Q and Barbieri made the call. By this time the boards showed:

Barbieri: (X-X)8 K Q 8(X)

Rocco: (X-X)A Q 6 Q(X)

Barbieri bet the final street blind and Rocco made the call, turning over an ace in the hole for two pair, aces and queens which are good.

Count It!

Here's a look at the new counts, courtesy of www.worldseriesofpoker.com.

Mike Rocco $695,000
Al Barbieri


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Event 35 - There's No Place Like Home!

We’re looking at a war of attrition over on the $1,500 Stud final table right now, as the remaining three competitors battle it out for the bracelet. Al Barbieri has a significant chip lead, but with the limits so high anything can happen on any given hand.

Rocco’s Good Luck Charm

Mike Rocco was beginning to slip away, watching his stack grind down through antes, bring-ins, and fourth- and fifth-street folds. He wore his frustration on his sleeve, mucking cards with more force than usual, until his good luck charm showed up.

Cyndy Violette appeared on the rail and waved hello to Rocco, who returned her greeting. On the next hand that was dealt, Rocco ended up picking off a big pot for almost all the rest of his chips when he began with buried deuces and picked up another deuce on sixth street. Al Barbieri found himself on the losing end, flashing his buried aces after seventh street before mucking. That drew a quick celebration from Rocco, complete with a slap of the table and a “YES!”

Rocco was up to $250,000 with that pot.

Torosyan Tanked! (3rd)

Just as Rocco was climbing up the leaderboard, Levon Torosyan was falling off.

After dropping a big pot to Al Barbieri, Torosyan found himself on the short stack - and also on the bring-in with the 2. Rocco raised with the A and Torosyan made the call. The boards ran out through seventh street:

Torosyan: x-x/A 4 2 2/x
Rocco: x-x/2 5 7 3/x

On seventh, Torosyan made a bet that put Rocco in the tank. He eventually called, and all Torosyan could show was his pair of deuces. Rocco turned up a pair of jacks, crippling Torosyan to just $6,000 in chips. He was eliminated two hands later in third place, earning $50,186.


Following that last hand, the players went on a scheduled 30-minute dinner break. When they come back we’ll have all the details for you.

Can't Stand Losing Chip Counts

Here are your heads-up chip counts, courtesy of WorldSeriesOfPoker.com:

Al Barbieri $800,000
Mike Rocco


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Event 35 - Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

We’re down to just three players in the $1,500 Stud event, and still there’s not a big crowd around this final table. Hold’em isn’t really that much sexier than Stud, is it?

Giacomo Jacked! (5th)

After hanging on as long as he could, Giacomo D’Agostino found a spot where he commit his chips, holding split tens. Half his stack went in when he completed the bet on third street, and the rest went in when Mike Rocco found buried aces and raised it up. The tens never caught up and D’Agostino was eliminated in fifth place, earning $28,083.

Max Minned! (4th)

Max Troy came in as one of the shortest stacks, and even though he managed to knock a player out earlier in the final table he never was really able to get anything going. He got into a battle with Levon Torosyan, and their boards ended up reading:

Torosyan: 4 4/K 4 10 9/Ks
Troy: K 10/A A Q 2/x

The pair of aces couldn’t catch up and Troy is eliminated in fourth place for $37,184 - not a bad score for a first WSOP cash.

Full Speed Ahead

Levon Torosyan has put the pedal to the metal since getting three-handed, and the cards have been cooperating with him. He has tangled with Al Barbieri on multiple occasions, twice taking four out of five hands and generally playing an aggressive game. He's even held the chip lead once or twice, though Barbieri has come back to claim the lead since. If Torosyan loses today it won’t be for lack of effort.

Chip Counts and Dip

Here are the current chip counts according to WorldSeriesOfPoker.com:

Al Barbieri $485,000
Levon Torosyan
Michael Rocco



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Event 35 - We're Off to See the River

What a difference an hour can make - especially when the average stack coming into the final table was 14 big bets. We're down to five players and the action shouldn't stop anytime soon.

Siegal Smashed! (8th)

Professional player Max Troy was looking for a shot to pick up some chips after coming in with a short stack. He got those chips at the expense of Jeffrey Siegal, who's now sitting on the sidelines as a result. The boards read:

Siegal: A A#/3cK 2 2/9

Troy: 7 7/7 6 8 Q/9

Rolled up sevens were good for Troy, and buried aces left Siegal six feet under. He leaves in 8th place with $14,041.

Andre Boyer
Former bracelet winner Boyer out in 7th.

Boyer Bounced! (7th)

Andre Boyer was the only bracelet winner at the table, but he couldn't add to his collection today. Al "Sugar Bear" Barbieri hit trip fours on fourth street, good enough to sink the Quebecer in 7th place with $16,642.

Kalpakis Krushed! (6th)

Danny Kalpakis continued the hit parade on the last hand before the first break of the day. He started off ahead of Al Barbieri with buried sixes against Sugar Bear's split deuces, but a deuce on fifth street gave Barbieri trips. His hand held up and Kalpakis was shown the door in 6th place, earning $21,842.

Bad Bad Leroy Chip Counts

Here are your break-time chip leaders, courtesy of WorldSeriesOfPoker.com:

Michael Rocco $310,000
Al Barbieri
Levon Torosyan
Max Troy
Giacomo D'Agostino


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Event 35 - Antes and Bring-ins and Completions, Oh My!

Our thrilling Stud final table is underway, and surprisingly enough none of our competitors are using walkers or breathing apparatuses. There are a few solid resumes around the table, however. Here's a look at the starting lineup for the day:

Seat 1 - Leo Torosyan - $114,500

Torosyan originally hails from Armenia but now lives in Los Angeles, where he works as a banker and loan officer. He is making his first final table appearance at the WSOP today.

Seat 2 - Al "Sugar Bear" Barbieri - $252,500

A protege of three-time bracelet winner John Bonetti, this Philadelphia-based baseball instructor is making his second final table appearance of this WSOP.

Seat 3 - Maxwell Troy - $88,500

Troy has been playing Stud professionally for 13 years, starting off in New Jersey but eventually moving to Los Angeles, where he plays high-level cash games where he describes the edges as "very marginal." This event marks his first WSOP cash.

Seat 4 - Mike Rocco - $255,000

Rocco, a Las Vegas-based professional player, is making his first final table appearance at the WSOP. This also happens to be his first cash.

Seat 5 - Giacomo D'Agostino - $123,000

This final table marks the second career cash for D'Agostino, who is based out of Providence, Rhode Island.

Seat 6 - Andre Boyer - $106,000

Boyer, of Montreal, Canada, is arguably the most accomplished player at the table. He won the 2005 $3,000 NLHE event here at the WSOP and already has 18 cashes to his credit.

Seat 7 - Jeffrey Siegal - $150,000

Siegal originally hails from New York, but the 41-year-old software engineer now calls Daly City, Calif. home. This is his third career WSOP cash and his first final table.

Seat 8 - Danny Kalpakis - $55,000

Kalpakis originally came from Toronto, but he now lives in Ajax, Ontario, Canada. This is his first career WSOP cash.

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Event Name Event 35, Seven-Card Stud
Venue Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas
Date 18 June 2008
Final Day 20 June 2008
Buy In $1,500
Entrants 381
Prize Pool $2,490,390
First Prize $135,753
Level Ante Blinds
Level 1 10 0/0
Level 2 15 0/0
Level 3 25 0/0
Level 4 25 0/0
Level 5 50 0/0
Level 6 75 0/0
Level 7 100 0/0
Level 8 100 0/0
Level 9 100 0/0
Level 10 200 0/0
Level 11 200 0/0
Level 12 300 0/0
Level 13 300 0/0
Level 14 500 0/0
Level 15 700 0/0
Level 16 1000 0/0
Level 17 1000 0/0
Level 18 1500 0/0
Level 19 2000 0/0
Level 20 2000 0/0
Level 21 3000 0/0
Level 22 3000 0/0
Level 23 5000 0/0
Level 24 7000 0/0
Level 25 10000 0/0
Level 26 10000 0/0
Level 27 15000 0/0
Level 28 20000 0/0

Michael Rocco

Event 35, Seven-Card Stud

Top Money Finishers Prize
1. Michael Rocco $135,753
2. Al Barbieri $83,210
3. Levon Torosyan $50,186
4. Max Troy $37,184
5. Giacomo D'Agostino $28,083
6. Danny Kalpakis $21,842
7. Andre Boyer $16,642
8. Jeffrey Siegal $14,041
9. Charles Moore $11,441
10. Roy Rose $11,441