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Italian players wins Pot-Limit Omaha Championship

10 September 2007

LONDON, England -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- European players continued their dominance at the first annual World Series of Poker Europe Presented by, as 23-year-old Dario Alioto of Palermo, Italy, won the Pot-Limit Omaha Championship, 234,390 pounds Sterling in cash and the second WSOP gold bracelet ever awarded outside the United States.

Although an all-star contingent of poker professionals from the United States entered the 5,000 pounds buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha event, only two -- Andy Bloch and Ted Forrest -- made the final two tables. The remaining players, all of whom cashed, continued the strong showing by Europe's young lions that began with the first WSOP Europe event, a HORSE tournament won by Thomas Bihl of Germany just 24 hours earlier.

"It's as though we've picked up where we left off at the Final Table of the 2007 Main Event in Las Vegas," said WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack. "That was the most international of tables and affirmed the global appeal of poker. Results here in London further suggest that the rest of the world has caught up to American poker professionals. This bodes well for the continued international growth of the game."

Alioto won the final hand of the Pot-Limit Omaha championship at 4:50 a.m. GMT today at The Casino at The Empire in London from second-place finisher Istvan Novak of Hungary, who took home the consolation prize of 137,280 pounds, or about $280,000.

Lithuanian native and current Australian resident Tony G finished third, winning 94,380 pounds, following a seesaw battle for the chip lead with Alioto, losing a couple of critical hands to the Italian player and to Novak.

Ireland's David Callaghan finished fourth with 65,520 pounds, Antoine Arnault of Paris wound up in fifth place with 49,530 pounds, Afghani Sherkhan Farnood finished sixth for 38,220 pounds, Helsinki's Sampo Lopponen ended in seventh for 30,420 pounds, multiple WSOP final-table player Andy Bloch of Las Vegas finished eighth for 22,620 pounds and Joseph Aval won 16,380 pounds for ninth place.

Roland de Wolfe, Jan Persson and Ted Lawson collected 11,700 pounds apiece for finishing 10th through 12, respectively; John Duthie, Andrew Hagen and Rupert Housden won 10,140 pounds each for finishing 13th through 15th, and Dan Bitsch Pedersen, Rafi Amit and Ted Forrest got 8,580 pounds each for their 16th to 18th place finishes.

A total of 156 of the world's top poker players anted up 5,000 pounds each to play in the second WSOP Europe event, building a prize pool of 780,000 pounds. Both the WSOP Europe HORSE and Pot-Limit Omaha tournaments established record prize purses.

Later today, the first round of the 10,000 pounds buy-in No-Limit Hold'Em Main Event will get under way at three casinos operated by London Clubs International -- Fifty on St. James Street, The Casino at the Empire on Leicester Square and The Sportsman at Marble Arch.

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