Sunday night on Fox Sports Network is World Poker Tour night as each week a new episode from Season X is aired to the public. This week, Part I of the Bay 101 Shooting Star from the Bay 101 Casino in San Jose, California, aired. The $10,000 tournament, which drew 364 players and created a prize pool of $3,458,000, originally took place from March 5 through 9, 2012, and offered a $5,000 bounty on the “Shooting Star” participants.
This week’s broadcast began the same way as all other part ones do — by highlighting the early stages of the tournament. The first thing viewers might have noticed was the extraordinary number of pros in the Day 1a field, most of whom were bounties. They included Kathy Liebert, David “The Dragon” Pham, Vanessa Rousso, Joe Hachem, Faraz Jaka and Phil Hellmuth.
One of the early bounties claimed was Dwyte Pilgrim, who held and hit a set when the flop came down . His opponent, Dung Nguyen, bet 3,200, Pilgrim called, and it was off to the turn, which both players checked. Pilgrim then moved all in on the river, and was shocked when Nguyen called and turned over for a superior full house, the win, and a $5,000 bounty.
A number of other Shooting Stars followed Pilgrim out the door including McLean Karr, Barry Greenstein, Daniel Negreanu, Sam Stein and Joe Tehan, with Club WPT qualifier John Davies collecting the bounty on the latter. Another prized bounty was awarded to Mark Violetti, who eliminated the one and only Poker Brat. “He got me fair and square,” Hellmuth said as he signed the trademark T-shirt awarded to those who knock out a Shooting Star.
At the end of Day 1a, Bryce Yockey bagged up 245,300 and finished as chip leader with a nice $10,000 cash bonus. Day 1b saw a whole new set of bounties take their seats, but many would not make it through the night. Mike Sexton, who finished sixth in the Shooting Star the year before, was one casualty, and Todd Brunson, Chris Moorman, Matt Giannetti and the defending champion, Alan Sternberg, all followed him out the door. When players bagged and tagged at the end of Day 1b, Christ Summers finished with the chip lead — 188,200 — and received the $10,000 bonus.
On Day 2, the remaining 149 players took to the felt, and it didn’t take long for the Shooting Stars to fall. Christian Harder, Antonio Esfandiari, Marvin Rettenmaier, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier and Nam Le were a few of the stars who burned out.
On the money bubble, Liebert was all-in preflop with and at risk against the of Men “The Master” Nguyen. The flop was gin for Nguyen, and after the and completed the board, he collected Liebert’s bounty and sent her home as the bubble woman. Only 20 players survived Day 2, and Scott Baumstein and his stack of 1.301 million led the way.
After Taylor Von Kriegenbergh (19th - $22,420) and JC Tran (16th - $25,620) busted early on Day 3, 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event winner Jonathan Duhamel became the last Shooting Star left in the field. He was looking to keep the tradition of a bounty making the final table alive, but it was not meant to be as he ran into the of Ubaid Habib. The board ran out and Duhamel was eliminated in 13th place for $25,620.
After the end-of-Day-2 chip leader, Baumstein, hit the rail in eighth place, the televised bubble was in effect. It took 100 hands for it to burst, but it finally did when Amir Khaziri got all in preflop with against the of Moon Kim. Khaziri couldn’t improve as the board ran out and he exited in seventh place for $64,000.
Here’s how things stacked up at the start of the final table:
2012 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Final Table
|1||Joseph Elpayaa||908,000 (95 BBs)|
|2||Joe Serock||952,000 (98 BBs)|
|3||Moon Kim||2,098,000 (105 BBs)|
|4||Ubaid Habib||2,274,000 (114 BBs)|
|5||Erik Cajelais||3,648,000 (182 BBs)|
|6||Andrew Badecker||1,040,000 (52 BBs)|
First Hand: With the blinds at 10,000/20,000 and a 3,000 ante, chip leader Erik Cajelais opened for 40,000 with only to have Joseph Elpayaa three-bet to 105,000 with from the button. The blinds both folded and Cajelais responded by four-betting to 800,000. It proved too much for Elpayaa as he released his hand.
Moon Rises: After winning a decent pot off Cajelais, Kim raised to 58,000 with and was called by the Canadian holding . The flop saw Cajelais call a bet of 80,000, and then he fired out 165,000 when Kim checked the turn. Kim made the call and checked the , opening the door for Cajelais to put out a hefty bet of 325,000. Kim thought for a few moments before making the call and by doing so he took down the 1,316,000 pot and moved into the chip lead.
Learn to Trust Your Instincts: Kim looked down at and made it 75,000 to go. Habib then picked up and called, prompting Joe Serock to call in the big blind with . The flop gave everyone a little something, but all three still checked. The turn saw Serock check, Kim bet 150,000, and Habib make the call. Serock got out of the way and action was heads-up to the river.
Amazingly both players rivered trips, but Habib’s ace kicker had him out in front. Kim took his time before betting 200,000, and seemed shocked when Habib min-raised him to 400,000. “Oh wow,” Kim said, “All that act and you raise me? Wow, that’s sick. I don’t think I can lay this down. I’m not raising for sure.”
Kim took his time, even informing Habib he had a king, and eventually Elpayaa called for a clock. Habib then urged Kim to get a move on, and then said, “I’m bluffing you.”
“You are? Alright, I believe you,” Kim said before paying off his opponent.
Tune in Next Week: Part II of the Bay 101 Shooting Star is set to air on Sunday, July 22, on FSN, so be sure to check your local listings. If by chance you miss it, check back next week for the latest recap of all the action right here on PokerNews.
Past WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Champions
*Picture courtesy of World Poker Tour.