On Tuesday morning, another 196 players bought into the World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star, creating a field 332 players strong. Among the Day 1b starters were 25 namesake “Shooting Star” bounty players whose knockouts were worth $5,000 apiece. When the day was done, it was Eugene Katchalov who earned the day 1b chip lead.
As was the case yesterday, a number of the Stars were swept away in the early frenzy of action. David Williams got off on the wrong foot and couldn’t escape the second level despite getting his money in good. His was outflopped by Eli Elezra’s though, and the first $5,000 reward of the day was in Elezra’s pocket.
The third level further hastened the pace of the knockout parade with Erik Seidel, Erick Lindgren, and Annie Duke all being sent off in short order. Duke is still glowing from her big victory in the NBCHU last weekend, but she was unhappy with her play at this follow-up tournament. Her final hand saw her run into , and Duke handed over her bounty and an autographed tee shirt to Yukinori Yamazaki.
After being eliminated, Duke was looking for some consolation from Joe Sebok, but Seebs was having some problems of his own. After having his stack worked down under 7,000, Sebok once again had to face the all-in curse that has been haunting him. The bad run dates back to Joe’s elimination deep in the 2009 WSOP Main Event last July. Since that moment of pain, Sebok has yet to survive a single all-in showdown in a major tournament.
That streak was finally broken on Tuesday when Sebok’s held up against the bounty-seeking Soheil Shamseddin and his gambling . Sebok made two pair to earn that elusive double-up, but Shamseddin would have his revenge. A few hands later, he and his outraced Sebok’s when the dealer rolled out two more queens on board. That crushed Sebok back down under 4,000, and his stack was finished off by Bobby Suer just a few minutes later. It was the all-in curse again for Sebok as his dominating was pierced by on a board that ran out .
Mohsin Charania picked up a bounty by knocking out John Phan right around that time, and Sorel Mizzi got one by making Antonio Esfandiari disappear. Steve “gboro780” Gross claimed Joe Hachem's prize, and NAPT Venetian champion Tom Marchese picked up $5,000 for taking care of Men Nguyen. It's chump change for Marchese at this point, though he's won over $1 million already this year, and he's in the hunt for his third six-figure cash in as many months.
Marchese was hovering near the top of the leader board as the night wound down, chasing Mizzi, David Sands and Tim McDermott for the $10,000 bonus. Right at the finish line, Eugene Katchalov appeared as the front runner, bagging up 131,500 chips to freeroll himself into Day 2. Katchalov cashed at the last WPT event in Los Angeles, and he’s on a good course to improve on the 67th-place finish he posted there.
Katchalov will start Day 2 in third place overall, just behind Day 1a leaders Vanna Tea and Greg Mueller. They’re among the 126 players who made it through their opening flights, and they’ll be back in the Bay 101 Casino on Wednesday to continue the game. Phil Hellmuth, Scotty Nguyen, J.C. Tran, and former World Series of Poker Champion Jerry Yang are all still in the mix.
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