There are several happy souls in northern California as the sun breaks on Thursday morning, some because they received a cash in the 2016 World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star tournament in San Jose. The others are among the survivors who are sleeping peacefully as they know they will come back later in the day to play down to the final table, which will be held on Friday afternoon.
280 players came back from the record-breaking 753 player field, ready for a long slog towards the money bubble. The bounty tournament – the traditional format of the event since its inclusion on the WPT circuit in 2004 – still had 33 of the original “Shooting Star” bounties still in the fight (from the original 50 that started), each with $2500 on their heads (and a nice tee-shirt) for whomever eliminated them. Some were in great shape – such as overall Day 1 chip leader Ari Engel with his 294,100 in chips, Connor Drinan (222,000) or Mike Matusow (and we must say here at Poker News Daily…WELCOME BACK, MIKE…with 187,400 in chips) – but others weren’t as replete with chips, including defending World Series of Poker National Champion Loni Harwood (37,200), former World Champion Ryan Riess (26,400) and former European Poker Tour Grand Final champion Mohsin Charania (17,400).
Because some of those short stacks were Shooting Stars, the early eliminations brought a little more attention than normal. Harwood fought hard, doubling up in an early hand to bring her stack over the 70K mark, while Charania fell to Alex Rocha and David Fong took down defending WSOP Europe champion Kevin MacPhee to trim the Shooting Star ranks. Riess would drop at the hands of Tyler Jackson (Riess cruelly running his pocket sevens into Jackson’s pocket Aces), while Fedor Holz had to give up his Shooting Star medallion (and his chips) to Hank Sitton after Sitton flopped a set of nines and Holz was dragged into the hand when he turned a set of sixes.
A new chip leader would take over the helm only a couple of hours into the day and he would take a bounty to boot. After a J? 9? 5? flop, Shooting Star Tyler Patterson would get his final chips in the center against Dylan Linde, with Patterson holding an A? 6? for the nut flush draw against Linde’s pocket fives for a set. The turn was red for Patterson, but it was a 4? and, after a 7? didn’t complete his flush, Patterson turned over his medal, tee-shirt and $2500 to Linde as Linde moved close to the 300K mark with his chip lead.
The Stars continued to fall as the tournament worked through the afternoon. Jason Mercier, Daniel Negreanu, Andy Frankenberger, Will Failla, Mukul Pahuja, Aaron Massey, Marvin Rettenmaier and Todd Brunson were all eliminated within hours of the opening bell, soon to be followed by Greg Merson, Faraz Jaka, Joe Kuether and Lee Markholt as the tournament broke for dinner. Even with all the action, there were still 98 players remaining and the money bubble (72 players) was still in the distance.
Following the dinner break, one of the players who is in contention for the WPT Player of the Year crown would meet her demise and in a vicious fashion. Cate Hall, who was also a Shooting Star bounty, called an all-in from the button after Alexander Lakhov pushed in enough chips to commit her to action. Hall had the goods, however, her pocket Aces running roughshod pre-flop over Lakhov’s K-J off suit, but the K-K-4 immediately changed the situation. Lakhov was able to fade the Queen on the turn and the insult-to-injury Jack on the river sealed Hall’s fate, sending her out of the tournament short of the money for only the second time this season in her WPT events.
After Shooting Stars Phil Hellmuth (also in ugly Aces versus Seth Davies’ Jacks fashion when Davies flopped a Jack), Barry Hutter and Matusow were eliminated prior to the close of Level 17, only 74 players remained. With two eliminations to the money, the tension was beginning to show, but it fortunately (unfortunately for a couple of people) didn’t take long to break. After Shooting Star Liv Boeree departed in 74th place and Stuart Marshak was knocked off in 73nd place (both for $0), the final 72 finishers – each earning at least the minimum $14,900 payday.
With the bubble popped, the floodgates opened to the cash out cage. Harwood, Amir Lehavot, Jake Bazeley, Adam Levy, Kevin Eyster, Jake Schindler, Engel, Garrett Greer, Davies, former NFL football player Richard Seymour and Mike Leah were among those who departed as the field halved itself before stopping for the night. When the smoke had cleared, Linde had emerged as the chip leader for the day of the final 36, but there are plenty of challengers awaiting him on Thursday.
1. Dylan Linde, 1.523 million
2. Noah Schwartz, 1.32 million
3. Ben Dobson, 1.15 million
4. Chang Luo, 1.143 million
5. Stefan Schillhabel, 1.124 million
6. Kyle Julius, 1.074 million
7. Andjelko Andrejevic, 1.062 million
8. Dominik Nitsche, 1.043 million
9. Griffin Paul, 929,000
10. Alexander Lakhov, 888,000
Play will resume at noon (Pacific Time) at Bay 101 in San Jose and the final six will be determined today. All the survivors will be assured of a $25,690 payday, but the top prize of $1,298,000 that will be awarded on Friday night is what everyone is reaching for.
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