World Series of Poker Europe

World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star Day 3: Matusow, Sexton and Rajkumar Headline Final Table

Mike Matusow

The official televised final table has been set at the 2011 World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star Championship Event after Thursday’s action. During the day, the field of 24 was whittled down to six. Leading them all is Steven Kelly with 4.169 million in chips.

When the day began, Joris Springael lead the pack. He was eliminated from play by Kelly. Alan Sternberg raised to 26,000 from under the gun with the blinds at 6,000/12,000 with a 2,000 ante, according to the World Poker Tour Live Update Team. Springael reraised to 280,000 on the button and had 23,000 behind. Kelly was in the big blind and called. Sternberg folded.

The flop came down {10-Hearts}{7-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds} after Kelly and Springael got the last of the money in dark. Kelly tabled {9-Clubs}{9-Diamonds} and Springael {A-Diamonds}{K-Spades}. The turn brought the {7-Spades} and the river the {5-Hearts}, both of which were no help to Springael and was eliminated in 10th place for $48,100.

Although Kelly is topping the field going into the final table, there are a few other names topping the headlines. Mike Matusow ,Vivek Rajkumar and Mike Sexton have all made it to the final table and are in contention for the $1,039,000 first-place prize. What’s so important about these three?

Matusow had a big dry spell on the felt in terms of tournament poker. Minus a win at the 2010 Florida State Poker Championships $1,000 Championship for $103,820, Matusow hasn’t done much for a while. Back in 2008, Matusow earned $1,334,275 in tournaments, but has barely broken six figures since then. Since the calendar rolled over into 2009, Matusow has only cashed for $137,344 total.

Matusow was the man who set the final table after he eliminated Ty Reiman in seventh place. On the 98th hand of seven-handed play, Matusow raised to 46,000 from under the gun with the blinds at 10,000/20,000 with a 3,000 ante. Rajkumar made the call and then Reiman moved all in for about 775,000 from the big blind. Matusow called and Rajkumar folded.

Reiman: {10-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}
Matusow: {Q-Spades}{Q-Diamonds}

After a paired flop came down {7-Clubs}{7-Diamonds}{3-Hearts}, the {Q-Hearts} on the turn crushed Reiman’s chances in the hand and left him drawing stone dead. Jumping from his chair and raising his arms in the air, Matusow cried out, “It’s my time boy and girls! It’s my time!”

The other player headlining the final table is Rajkumar, who is making a back-to-back appearance at WPT final tables after placing second in the L.A. Poker Classic Championship Event last month for $908,730. Not only that, but this is the second time in just a couple of weeks that Rajkumar is in line to score his second WPT title. In September of 2008, Rajkumar won the Borgata Poker Open for $1,424,500.

And finally, WPT co-host Mike Sexton has made it to the final table, albeit on the short stack with just 363,000 in chips. Still, anything can happen in this game when you have some chips, especially when you have the experience Sexton has on the felt. The only question now is, who’s going to call the final table alongside Vince Van Patten? Looks like Tony Dunst may get his call to the batter’s box.

Some of the other notables that were eliminated on the day’s play included Zach Clark (19th - $25,800), Galen Hall (18th - $29,500), Kathy Liebert (15th - $29,500) and Kevin MacPhee (13th - $29,500).

Final Table Seating Assignments and Chip Counts

1Mike Matusow2,173,000
2Mike Sexton363,000
3Alan Sternberg3,701,000
4Vivek Rajkumar1,616,000
5Steven Kelly4,169,000
6Casey McCarrel430,000

The final table is set for Friday at 4 p.m. PST. Will Kelly ride his big stack to victory? Will Rajkumar better his second-place performance from last month to earn his second WPT title? Will the WPT’s co-host Sexton be toasting to himself at the end of the night? Is it Matusow’s time again? You’ll have to stay tuned to PokerNews to check the recap!

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