Live Tournament Updates
WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star, Day 1B Recap
Level 11: 600-1,200, 200 ante
By BJ Nemeth
Day 1B began with the traditional "Shuffle Up and Deal" announcement from Mike Sexton, who was also playing in the event. Sexton is flanked by Royal Flush Girls Ivy Teves, Tugba Ercan, Jeannie Duffy, and Angelique Velez.
The format for the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star tournament is different than most WPT events, as each starting table is guaranteed at least one "Shooting Star," a notable poker player with a bounty attached. Any player who eliminates a Shooting Star receives $5,000 and an autographed bounty t-shirt.
But wait, there's more.
There is also a $10,000 bonus for the Day 1A and Day 1B chipleaders, and an unusual blind structure that features 60-minute levels on Day 1, 90-minute levels on Day 2, and 120-minute levels on Day 3. When the field reaches the final 36 players, it switches to six-handed play, testing players in a faster, short-handed format.
There were 28 Shooting Stars on Day 1B, and all but two gathered together for a group photo during the first break. (Erick Lindgren and Marvin Rettenmaier missed the photo op.)
Seated in the front row, left to right: Scotty Nguyen, Nam Le, Chau Giang, Barry Greenstein, Mike Sexton, Antonio Esfandiari, Jennifer Harman, Jason Mercier, Ben Lamb, and Scott Seiver.
Standing in the back row, left to right: Men Nguyen, Elky Grospellier, Eugene Katchalov, J.C. Tran, Fabrice Soulier, Linda Johnson, Todd Brunson, Alan Sternberg, Freddy Deeb, Allen Cunningham, Michael Mizrachi, Chino Rheem, Matt Giannetti, David Williams, Chris Moorman, Allen Bari, and Tournament Director Matt Savage.
During the third level of play, the Shooting Stars were introduced to the crowd with a brief description of their poker accomplishments. Few players love the fans as much as Scotty Nguyen, and he really enjoyed the applause of the crowd.
Shooting Star Linda Johnson waves to the crowd after her introduction. Johnson was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame last year for her contributions to the game both on and off the felt. During her induction ceremony, fellow Hall of Famer Mike Sexton said, "There's not one person on the planet who has done more for the poker industry than Linda Johnson."
Shooting Star Mike Sexton (right) was seated next to Chris Trapani, and both players made deep runs in this event last year, with Sexton final tabling and finishing sixth, while Trapani made it to 12th place.
Trapani is the son of the late Marko Trapani Sr., who created the Shooting Star tournament here at Bay 101 nearly two decades ago. (Marko Trapani, beloved by many of the pros who played in this event, passed away in 2010.)
Defending WPT Bay 101 champion Alan Sternberg (left) busted out after the dinner break when he lost a preflop race with AQ against the 1010 of Max Silver (right). Sternberg's elimination paves the way for a new WPT Bay 101 champion.
Silver would put Sternberg's chips to good use, finishing the day third in chips.
Shooting Star Ben Lamb (center) exhibited some of the run-good he had during his domination of last summer's WSOP, cracking aces with pocket jacks to double up early. (All in preflop, Lamb flopped a set and rivered a full house.)
Unfortunately for Lamb, the run-good seemed tied more to the jacks than to him. A short while later, Lamb was in a preflop race with AQ to Michael Aron's JJ, and Aron flopped a set of jacks to collect the bounty on Ben Lamb.
Paul Klann (right) seemed genuinely excited after eliminating Shooting Star Mike Sexton. In the moment, he seemed to value the autographed bounty t-shirt more than the $5,000.
Tournament Director Matt Savage (right) counts out the $5,000 that Tyler Patterson (center) earned after eliminating Shooting Star Matt Giannetti. Savage presented the players with $5,000 in cash in front of the TV cameras, but it was merely for show -- when the cameras stopped rolling, Savage reclaimed the $5,000 in cash and the player's received a check for the same amount.
Joanne "J.J." Liu (seated, center), who finished second in this event back in 2007, poses for a photo with her mother in between hands on Day 1B.
Shooting Star Chau Giang (pictured above) doubles up after he was all in preflop with QQ against the 22 of Matt Keikoan. Giang flopped a set to double up, and went on to survive the day with his bounty unclaimed.
Shooting Star Jennifer Harman (pictured above) was all in preflop with QQ against Blake Kelso's AQ and Narendra Banwari's AJ. The worst hand would come out on top, as Banwari made a heart flush on a board of K96K10 to bust both Harman and Kelso, collecting Harman's $5,000 bounty and her autographed t-shirt.
Michal Wywrot (left) is the only player who has collected multiple bounties so far. Wywrot eliminated Shooting Star Todd Brunson (right) in the afternoon, and claimed the bounty on Shooting Star Eugene Katchalov in the evening. In addition to the two bounty t-shirts, Wywrot received a total of $10,000, meaning he is effectively free rolling into this $10,000 buy-in event.
Kara Scott was smiling and having fun early, but she wasn't smiling late in the day when she ran her ace-high flush into a straight flush, and she was eliminated.
Shooting Star Erick Lindgren (left) poses with the player who eliminated him, James Calderaro. Lindgren had been all in preflop with QQ, but couldn't catch up to Calderaro's AA.
Shooting Star Nam Le leans in as the river card is dealt, doubling up with QQ against A4, all in preflop on a board of 102242.
Taylor Von Kriegenbergh, who won the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown near the end of last season, was battling for the chip lead (and the $10,000 chipleader bonus) in the final minutes, but came up just a little bit short. Von Kriegenbergh finished with 181,300, second best of the day.
The big stack at the end of the day belonged to Christ Summers, with 188,200, enough to earn him the Day 1B chipleader bonus ($10,000). However, when the fields combine on Wednesday for Day 2, Summers will begin third in chips, behind Day 1A chipleader Bryce Yockey (245,300) and Brandon Wong (195,600).
Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi got off to a strong start, eliminating recent WPT final tablist Dan Kelly about an hour into the day to near the 100,000 mark. Mizrachi finished the day among the top 10 with 129,900, and he was named the ClubWPT.com Player of the Day.
Day 1B came to an end after ten levels with about 96 players remaining from a starting field of 222. (The combined total is 150 survivors from a total field of 364 players.)
Here is an unofficial look at the top of the leaderboard for Day 1B:
1. Christ Summers - 188,200
2. Taylor Von Kriegenbergh - 181,300
3. Max Silver - 155,200
4. Pete Nguyen - 148,800
5. Scott Baumstein - 133,600
Day 2 begins Wednesday at 10:45 am PT, when the schedule says that play will continue until there are 18 players left or they have played seven 90-minute levels. (Remember that there is also the money bubble to consider; the top 36 players will finish in the money.)
Either way, it looks to be a long day. Return to WPT.com for continuing live coverage throughout the day.
03:47 AM, 03/07/12