Entering 2013, Paul Volpe had never made a final table on the World Poker Tour. On Thursday, he could make his second within one week.
Volpe is chip leader, with 44 players remaining in the 2013 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event. He'll enter Day 3 with 1,394,000 in chips, 30% more than his next closest competitor, Brendon Rubie (988,000). Volpe is coming off a runner-up finish at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic last week and is looking to one-up that performance this week in San Jose.
WPT Bay 101 Day 2 Top 10 Chip Counts
Day 2 began with 255 players hoping to secure a minimum cash of $15,110 that went to the top 63 finishers. Among the early exits on Wednesday were Jason Mercier, Greg Mueller, John Juanda, Jonathan Duhamel, Jen Harman and former WPT champs Dominik Nitsche, Eugene Katchalov, JC Tran, Jonathan Little, Andy Frankenberger and Barry Greenstein.
More WPT Champions Club members hit the rail as the money bubble approached, including Nam Le, Nick Schulman and David Chiu, who got his last chips in preflop with the against WeiKai Chang's . The board brought no help to Chiu, and Chang received a $2,500 prize and an autographed T-shirt from Chiu, who was one of the many Shooting Star bounties in the unique event.
Bertrand "Elky" Grospellier, Scott Seiver, Chris Brammer and former Facebook exec Chamath Palihapitiya were among the short stacks on the money bubble, but it was Jeremy Druckman who exited in 64th place. According to the WPT Live Updates Team, Druckman moved all in preflop for 39,000 (blinds 3,000/6,000), and three-time WPT champ Carlos Mortensen called. Druckman's needed to improve against Mortensen's , but the board burst the money bubble and sent Druckman home empty-handed.
Seiver was the next to go when his failed to hold up against Brendon Rubie's . Among the notables who followed Seiver to the payout cage late Wednesday night were Brammer, Ben Palmer, Michael Benvenuti, Andy Hwang, Steve Gross and Chris DeMaci.
The story on Day 2, though, was Volpe. The Philadelphia-based poker pro quietly amassed a big stack during the day before winning a massive pot against Matt Affleck in the final level. Volpe opened with a raise from middle position, and Affleck called from the cutoff to see a flop of . Volpe fired a continuation bet, and Affleck called. The turn was the , and Volpe checked. Affleck bet 41,000, and Volpe responded with a check-raise worth 135,000. Affleck called, and the fell on the river. Volpe moved all in, having Affleck covered, and Affleck called off his remaining 375,000. Affleck revealed for a turned set, but Volpe had him trumped with for a straight. That eliminated Affleck and vaulted Volpe into the chip lead with more than 1.1 million in chips. He eliminated a player moments later to increase his stack to 1.3 million.
When Volpe returns on Thursday, he'll be seated at the same table with superstars Antonio Esfandiari and Maria Ho, both of whom landed among the top 10 chip stacks on Day 2. Other notables returning for Day 3 are Grospellier, Mortensen, John Racener, Jason Somerville, Erik Seidel, Andrew Lichtenberger, Jeff Madsen, Kyle Julius and Kathy Liebert.
Day 3 of the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event begins Thursday at 12 p.m. PT. The plan is to play down to the televised six-handed final table. Stay tuned to PokerNews.com for a full recap of the day’s action upon completion of play.
Photo courtesy of WorldPokerTour.com.