Day 2 of the World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star in San Jose, CA, is in the books and it is shaping up to be an outstanding stretch run. Atop the final 44 players remaining is poker professional Paul Volpe, but there are plenty of challenges facing him. Not only are there five Shooting Stars left in the tournament, one of them is WPT announcer and Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton, who is looking to take over the lead in the WPT Player of the Year race should he make the final table.
264 players came back for Day 2 play, greeted with the news that they wanted: the prize pool information. The massive 806 entries for the tournament – a record for the tournament – built a prize pool of $5,722,600 (part of this prize pool was the bonuses paid out to the Day 1 chip leaders and the player bounties), with WPT and Bay 101 officials deciding that 81 players would receive a minimum piece of $13,660. The eyes of all those left in the tournament were easily focused atop the pay scale, with a whopping $1,373,000 reserved for the eventual champion.
Now knowing how many players would be paid, the audacious task was set for Day 2. First, the field needed to work down to the money – meaning slightly more than two-thirds (70%) of the field would be disappointed on Wednesday – then take on getting down as close to 36 players to keep Thursday’s action (to the official WPT final table of six) as short as possible. While one of those endeavors would be completed, the other came up a bit short.
There were plenty of Shooting Stars left at the start of the day and, if they were on the short stack, it seems they quickly found the exit. Shooting Star bounty Chris Moorman was the first to go at the hands of Stuart Tuvey, netting Tuvey a $2500 bonus for knocking out the British pro along with his Shooting Star medallion and a commemorative t-shirt. Former NFL star Richard Seymour soon followed Moorman (Seymour’s pocket eights couldn’t catch Tuan Mai’s pocket Kings), along with Jason Koon, Anthony Zinno, Cliff Josephy, Marvin Rettenmaier, Bruce Buffer, Tom Schneider, Joe McKeehen, and Tyler Patterson. By the start of Level 14, there were still 23 Shooting Stars remaining, giving players plenty to strive for.
The news wasn’t all bad for the Shooting Stars. Former World Champion Scotty Nguyen doubled early to get up to 220K in chips, while Rainer Kempe (360K) and Noah Schwartz (305K) were at the top of those with the bounties on their heads. Also coming up the ladder at the start of the new level was Volpe who, while not a Shooting Star, had quietly worked his way into the mix with a 305K stack.
The parade of superstars with the Shooting Star medallion hanging around their necks – at least until they were knocked out of the tournament – continued throughout the afternoon. Andy Frankenberger, Mohsin Charania, ESPN poker announcer Lon McEachern, Igor Kurganov, Pat Lyons, and Tim West all hit the door after their chips disappeared from their grasp. Just as quickly as he went up the ladder, Shooting Star Nguyen would also head for the door in a particularly painful hand. After catching trip Aces on the turn against WPT Champions’ Club member Brian Altman with his Big Slick, Nguyen got his final chips to the center on the river only to see that Altman had flopped a set of fives and, with the turn Ace, made a boat.
With Shooting Star Mike Matusow heading to the door before the dinner break, 99 players were left and the money bubble was looming. What wasn’t going to be made, however, was the goal of reaching the final 36 players. Still, the players surged onward and, as the bubble came closer, Dominik Nitsche, Jesse Sylvia, Todd Brunson, and Ryan Riess would miss out on making the money in losing their bounty. What would come next would be an extended hand-for-hand period, with nobody wanting to depart the event.
For almost two hours, there were no eliminations in the tournament but plenty of double up. Sexton himself would triple up during this process, using pocket Queens against Eduards Kudrjavcevs’ pocket eights and another unnamed player to stay alive in the tournament. It wasn’t until Eddy Sabat, using pocket Kings, vanquished Oscar Zarate-Ramirez’s K? J? that the money bubble was popped and the remaining 81 players could celebrate their min-cash payday.
Once the bubble was done, the march to the cage began. Matt Stout (Shooting Star bounty) and Jeff Gross (SSB) both took home min-cashes, while Noah Schwartz (SSB), Chance Kornuth (SSB), David Tuchman (SSB), Sorel Mizzi (SSB), and defending champion Stefan Schillhabel all earned a bit more. As Level 21 began (and the clock passed 2:30AM), Bay 101 officials determined that the action would end at 3AM, regardless of how many players were remaining from the 46 players that were left.
Only two players were eliminated over the last 30 minutes of action, but the story for most was the rise of Volpe. With only 108K after the money bubble popped, Volpe increased his stack to 1.7 million and did it without great fanfare in the tournament arena. He would close the day out by adding a few more chips in holding a decent lead over Dan O’Brien.
1. Paul Volpe, 1.749 million
2. Dan O’Brien, 1.339 million
3. Igor Yaroshevskyy, 1.19 million
4. Charlie Carrel, 1.042 million
5. Garrett Greer, 1.034 million
6. Matt Affleck, 1.018 million
7. Sergio Aido, 879,000
8. Sam Panzica, 814,000
9. Tom West, 804,000
10. Brian Altman, 762,000
Greer holds court on the five Shooting Stars remaining, with David Williams (685,000), Kempe (513,000), Christian Harder (385,000) and Sexton (391,000) still hanging on to their medallions.
Because of the late night of play, the tournament will resume at 1PM (Pacific Time) with the requirement that the players reach the final six players before action will stop. With 44 players left in the tournament, that is going to be a difficult task, but it needs to be done to set the final table for Friday’s championship day at the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star.
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