Bay 101 Shooting Star
|Dates||Mar 7 - 11, 2005|
|Final Table Date||Mar 11, 2005|
|Buy-In||$10,000 + $250|
|Number of Entrants||440|
The WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Tournament has become the most recognizable annual poker landmark in the Pacific Northwest in 3 short years. With a field of 438 players and a prize pool that has more than tripled since last year to an impressive $4,000,000, this popular stop on the WPT paid a cool million to the winner and an amazing $600,000 to 2nd place. The Bay 101 features one of the most unique twists in professional poker – the $5,000 "bounty" which is paid on the spot, at the table, to any player who knocks out one of the tournament's "shooting stars" – all top pros. When we got to the final table, there were only two bounties left and four tough competitors gunning for them.
In Seat 1, Danny Nguyen, the local favorite, a San Jose poker dealer, with 881,000. In Seat 2, Corey Cheresnick, a 22 year old accounting student from Coral Springs, FLA, with 769,000. In Seat 3, Shandor Szentkuti, a 36 year old amateur, a contractor from Pacifica, CA, on the short stack with 250,000. In Seat 4, Gus Hansen, the popular and feared "Great Dane," 3 time WPT champion, with 1,007,000. In Seat 5, Men "the Master" Nguyen, well-respected 3 time Tournament Player of the Year, with 310,000. In Seat 6, Dr. Jay Martens, an $8 online qualifier in his first live tournament ever, the chip leader with 1,666,000. Antes and blinds started at 1,000, 3,000, and 5,000.
Things started tough for chip leader Martens, being forced to fold ace-rag offsuit to Hansen's raise with pocket Q's on the first hand, and then making trips with his own pocket Q's on the second hand, but giving Cheresnick a free card on the river to make his flush. Martens crawled back in the spider hole and remained there for a while.
Men "the Master" Nguyen was the next to get pocket Q's, and after Danny Nguyen (no relation) brought it in for a raise of $40,000, he announced "all you can eat, baby," and pushed in his whole $445,000 stack. Danny never even hesitated, calling with his own pair, a dominated Jh-Jc, and his disappointment was equal only to Men's ecstatic fist pump on seeing the contest. But in what was to become a theme for the night, after a do-nothing flop of 6-3-2 rainbow, Danny spiked a Js on the turn, devastating the Master's plans. Then to add ignominy to insult, he drew the case J on the river to make unnecessary quads. Men the Master walked off, clearly stunned and dismayed, in 6th place with $200,000, while Danny collected his $5,000 bounty right then and there at the table. In case you're wondering, no, Men didn't come back over and sign the traditional bust-out t-shirt.
With blinds and antes now up to 5,000, 20,000, and 40,000, Danny continued to play just about every flop, but it was his table-mates that started making noise, first Shandor doubling up on Corey, then Corey doubling up on Danny himself. With the ever aggressive Gus Hansen playing unusually conservative poker, Danny took over the maniac role, raising 120,000 on the button with 7d-4d. He found a taker in Corey, the big blind, who called the extra 80,000 with Js-8d. When the flop came Jd-7h-2d, giving Corey top pair, and Danny middle pair with the diamond flush draw, Danny quickly waved all-in. After a moment or two of twitchy consideration, Corey made the call with his remaining 790,000. He was happy to see a black 6 come off on the turn, but a 7s on the river made Danny trips, and Corey was sent to the rail to commiserate with his boisterous fan club, in 5th place, with $240,000 for his pains.
The real pain medication, however, should've been reserved for one of the worst beats in WPT history. Shandor, with As-Kc, and tired of Danny running over the table, called his all-in, 545,000 bet with Ad-7d. Danny had bluffed off a bunch of chips, then got snapped off by Hansen a couple hands earlier, and was now in bad shape. After a flop of K-5-5 rainbow, with one diamond, he was even worse than that, needing running diamonds or an even wilder miracle. Down came 7c on the turn, and Danny, a 330-to-1 shot, now dead to running 7's, did just that, spiking the 7s on the river. This also made him quads for the second time in an hour, and turned him into the monster at the table while crippling Shandor. In the very next hand, Danny, with 6d-5d, went all-in against Shandor's 9c-8s and his last 135,000, and befitting a night of uncanny luck, Danny again drew out, making two pairs when the board ran out As-Jd-6c, 5s, 2s. Shandor, the next in shell-shocked victim of the Bay Area Bombardier, went out in 4th place, with $280,000.
With the table down to three, Gus came out of seclusion and tangled with the loose-playing Danny, doubling up on him with an uncanny T-high call, to beat Danny's 9-high. Then on the next hand, Gus brought it in for 120,000 with Kd-Tc, only to have Danny come right back over the top all-in. Gus considered, and called, and was shocked to find that this time Danny actually had a hand, 9h-9c. The flop came Qc-8s-4c, helping neither, then, to no one's surprise, Danny hit trips with 9s on the turn, and when the river didn't deliver the necessary J to make Gus's straight, it was "good-night, sweet prince" to the Great Dane, ending his chances for a record 4th WPT title. Danny Nguyen happily collected the final $5,000 bounty bonus and Gus was gracious enough to give his t-shirt a signature before heading off into the night to the appreciative cheers of the crowd, in 3rd place with $320,000 to add to his Stockholm stockpile.
Now down to two players, with blinds and antes up to 10,000, 30,000, and 60,000, Dr. Jay Martens, with 2,370,000 and Danny Nguyen, with 2,010,000, found themselves evenly matched. That was short-lived, however, when the Doctor made a disastrous call on the first hand, thinking his middle pair was good, only to lose a 4 million–plus pot to Danny, who had limped in with an ace and trapped the unsuspecting rookie when he caught one on the flop. The second hand was anti-climactic. Danny, with 4h-3d, and perhaps feeling justifiably invincible, called Martens's all-in, 360,000 bet, with Ks-4d. Totally dominated yet again, Danny waited as the flop came Th-9h-2h, picking up the heart flush draw for him, then after a 7c on the turn, he was rewarded a final time with a tournament winning 3c paired him on the river. A sensational, and sensationally lucky win belonged to the local hero, a poker dealer by the name of Danny Nguyen, who knocked out every player at the final table, en route to becoming the latest WPT millionaire, and recipient of a guaranteed $25,000 seat at the WPT Championship. Dr. Jay Martens, in his first live tournament, went out a highly respectable 2nd place and an amazing runner-up check for $600,000.
This tournament is included in the World Poker Tour Best of Season Three DVD Collection. Special features include deleted hands – never-before-seen exclusive hands that didn't air on TV!