Posts Tagged ‘Main’

2017 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event Day 2: Paul Volpe Pulls to Lead, Five Shooting Stars Remain

 2017 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event Day 2: Paul Volpe Pulls to Lead, Five Shooting Stars Remain

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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2017 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event Day 1B: Stephen Graner Makes Waves

 2017 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event Day 1B: Stephen Graner Makes Waves

The two starting flights of the ever-popular World Poker Tour (WPT) Bay 101 Shooting Star are in the books and it is Stephen Graner who has a slight chip advantage over Charlie Carrel for the tournament’s pole position. With 332,700 and 320,800 chips, respectively, Graner and Carrel are the only two players in the event with more than 300,000 chips.

According to the report, Graner was not only the center of attention on Day 1B because of his chip stack, but also because of how he got to that point. Graner sat at the featured table all day Tuesday and knocked out two of the Shooting Star players – Ari Engel and James Calderaro – earning their bounties. Graner has already profited from the tournament with $ 5,000 in bounties and the $ 10,000 chip leader bonus, but he has no intention of relaxing.

One of the more interesting hands for Graner came against Calderaro. As reports it (with information received from players at the table), the intrigue started right away, when Graner raised pre-flop from middle position to 8,400 chips. This raised eyebrows as the big blind was just 1,200 chips and a 7x big blind opening raise from that position is quite unorthodox. Typically, there is no need to risk that many chips with no challengers. As such, people thought it was a “mis-click,” a term derived from online poker, when a player accidentally clicks the wrong button to make a bet (or fold, as the case may be) that he did not intend to make. Obviously, nobody can really mis-click in a live game, but people do sometimes miscount their chips or don’t realize they are putting out the wrong denomination.

Calderaro called and the two men saw a flop of K-5-3. Graner bet 13,000 at that point and Calderaro called again. On the 9 flop, Graner kept going, betting 24,000, followed by a Calderaro call. When a Queen landed on the river, Graner moved all-in. Calderaro tanked for nearly ten minutes, his remaining 65,000 chips at risk.

Calderaro eventually folded, informing the table he had A-K and just couldn’t pull the trigger.

Graner teased him, asking him if he folded “the worst bluff ever.”

Calderaro asked Graner to show what he had, but Graner didn’t. Calderaro felt that meant that Graner actually had the winning hand and just wanted to make him think he was bluffing.

Afterward, Graner gave mixed signals to, saying, “It was not a misclick, I just did not say anything when they were talking about it.”

But he added, “It’s hard for me to have something there.”

There were a total of 806 entries for the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event, a record for this tournament. A $ 5,722,600 prize pool was generated; 81 players will make the money with first place receiving $ 1,373,000.

The 264 remaining players will resume play at noon Pacific time.

2017 World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event – Day 1B Chip Leaders

1.    Stephen Graner – 332,700
2.    Charlie Carrel –     320,800
3.    Igor Yaroshevskyy – 286,200
4.    Rainer Kempe – 284,300
5.    Zach Hyman – 255,000
6.    Michael Rocco – 201,700
7.    Jon Turner – 187,200
8.    Chino Rheem – 174,700
9.    Bryan Piccioli – 170,100
10.    Tom Schneider – 168,100

2017 World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event – Combined Day 1 Chip Leaders

1.    Stephen     Graner – 332,700
2.    Charlie Carrel – 320,800
3.    Igor Yaroshevskyy – 286,200
4.    Rainer Kempe – 284,300
5.    Eddy Sabat – 265,600
6.    Zach Hyman – 255,000
7.    Sergio Aldo – 242,500
8.    Sinisa Eimek – 235,400
9.    Eduazols Kudzjavcevs – 235,000
10.    Justin Young – 231,000

Poker News Daily

2017 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event Day 1A: Eddy Sabat Leads, Receives Heartfelt Note from Todd Brunson

 2017 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event Day 1A: Eddy Sabat Leads, Receives Heartfelt Note from Todd Brunson

One of the most eagerly anticipated and fun events of the year, the World Poker Tour (WPT) Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event, kicked off Monday with 361 entries for Day 1A. I say “entries” instead of “players,” as this is a single re-entry event. Players are allowed one initial entry and one re-entry; they can both be used in a single flight – either Day 1A or Day 1B – or, if someone was eliminated on Day 1A and would rather try again on Tuesday rather than yesterday, that re-entry can be used on Day 1B. Play was scheduled to stop when one-third of the field remained and it did – just 119 players made it through Day 1A. Eddy Sabat is the chip leader with 265,600 chips.

The Bay 101 Shooting Star is a very unique event on the World Poker Tour or any live tour, really. A number of players are denoted as “Shooting Stars” and have bounties on their heads. A player who eliminates a Shooting Star from the tournament receives a $ 2,500 reward, a Shooting Star Bounty Medallion, and an autographed t-shirt with the Star’s face on it. If a Star wins the tournament, he or she will receive their own $ 2,500 bounty on top of the regular prize money.

Additionally, the chip leaders after Day 1A and Day 1B will receive $ 10,000. Blind levels are also short, lasting just one hour each during the two starting flights.

Every table at the outset of the starting flights will have at least one Shooting Star present. The list of confirmed Stars is as follows:

Liv Boeree
Todd Brunson
Bruce Buffer
James Calderaro
Mohsin Charania
Tony Dunst
Ari Engel
Antonio Esfandiari
Matt Glantz
Garrett Greer
Jeff Gross
Joe Hachem
Christian Harder
Loni Harwood
Phil Hellmuth
Maria Ho
Jared Jaffee
Cliff Josephy
Anna Khait
Jason Koon
Chance Kornuth
Kitty Kuo
Igor Kurganov
Mike Leah
Pat Lyons
Ankush Mandavia
Aaron Massey
Mike Matusow
Lon McEachern
Joe McKeehen
Chris Moorman
Carlos Mortensen
Daniel Negreanu
Qui Nguyen
Scotty Nguyen
Dominik Nitsche
Tyler Patterson
Max Pescatori
Marvin Rettenmaier
Ryan Riess
Matt Salsberg
Tom Schneider
Noah Schwartz
Erik Seidel
Mike Sexton
Richard Seymour
Dan Shak
Dan Smith
JC Tran
David Tuchman
Vince Van Patten
David Williams
Ema Zajmovic
Anthony Zinno

In addition to having the chip lead and earning the $ 10,000 bonus, Eddy Sabat’s day was made when he eliminated Shooting Star Todd Brunson. The $ 2,500 bounty was nice, but Brunson is known for his, shall we say, “colorful” messages he writes on the t-shirts when he is knocked out. When Sabat was seated with Brunson, he knew what his mission for the day was: knock out the Poker Hall of Famer.

“Todd and I go way back in this tournament. He probably doesn’t remember, but every time we always talk about his t-shirt stories and what he draws [and writes] on them,” Sabat told “I just let him know at the start of the day that I wanted every expletive he could think of. I didn’t want him to change anything, I didn’t want a G-rated t-shirt. I wanted the real deal.”

Sure enough, Sabat knocked out Brunson and Brunson did not disappoint, scrawling an expletive-filled message to Sabat across the entire front and back of the t-shirt.

One of the tamer portions of the diatribe (NOTE: FOUL LANGUAGE INCOMING):

“Havad Khan is a more gracious winner than you will ever be if you live to be 90 which I’m sure you won’t. Karma has a way of dealing with jerk offs like you and your little friend Matt Savage the flaming tournament dick face director.” has photos of the front and back of the shirt here.

Day 1B of the Bay 101 Shooting Star will begin at 11:00am Pacific.

World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event – Day 1A Chip Leaders

1.    Eddy Sabat – 265,600
2.    Sergio Aido – 242,500
3.    Eduards Kudrjavcevs – 235,000
4.    Justin Young – 231,000
5.    Garrett Greer – 219,000
6.    Phillip Rhodes – 211,100
7.    Kevin MacPhee – 188,500
8.    Jake Schwartz – 185,600
9.    Richard Tuhrim – 168,500
10.    Noah Schwartz – 165,300

Poker News Daily

Ema Zajmovic Makes History, Wins WPT Playground Main Event

 Ema Zajmovic Makes History, Wins WPT Playground Main Event

Ema Zajmovic came close in November, finishing fifth in the World Poker Tour (WPT) Montreal Main Event, but now she got over the hump at the same venue, Montreal’s Playground Poker Club, as she won the WPT Playground Main Event Tuesday night. Her first major live tournament title was worth CAD $ 241,500 (USD $ 183,789).

While the victory was a milestone in Zajmovic’s poker career and her greatest accomplishment to date, it is arguably a more significant moment for the history of poker in general. By winning the WPT Playground Main Event, Ema Zajmovic became the first woman – the first – to win an open Main Event on the World Poker Tour. Only one other woman, Van Nguyen, has ever won a WPT title, but that was in the 2008 WPT Celebrity Invitational. As the word “invitational” should indicate, that was not an open event; only those invited to participate could buy-in.

“Honestly, I am really happy that I proved women can do it,” Zajmovic told afterward. “The funniest and nicest part of this experience was all the women who came and were so supportive of me. It was amazing. When I started playing poker, there was so much competition between girls. It was hard to be good and be supportive of each other. Now it has evolved so much and it is nice to see I had support from older women, younger women.”

Poker Hall of Famer, “Ambassador of Poker,” and WPT television analyst Mike Sexton, who won WPT Montreal at the Playground Poker Club, said of Zajmovic, “I have the greatest respect for her. This is no fluke, in my opinion. We’re going to be seeing a lot more of her in the future. She’s that good.”

He added that she is a “combo of Phil Ivey and Vanessa Selbst.” That is some serious praise.

When Tuesday’s action began, our champ was the chip leader of the remaining ten players with nearly 3 million. Of her opponents, just Jean-Pascal Savard had over 2 million, 900,000 chips behind. She didn’t add many chips by the time the six-handed final table began, having climbed to barely over 3 million, but that still left her in good shape. Tam Ho was the chip leader at that point with 3.570 million and nobody else was over the 2 million mark.

Zajmovic dropped a chunk early at the official final table as she doubled-up Mekhail Mekhail, but that still left her in the second spot.

Savard was the first one to be eliminated when it was down to six players, knocked out by Jean-Francois Bouchard. With A-4 suited, Bouchard had hit top pair (Fours) on the flop with the nut flush draw and ended up all-in. Savard called, putting himself all-in, with Jacks. The flush came on the turn and Savard was out.

It was the 100th hand of the final table that Zajmovic began her run. She doubled through Eric Afriat on that hand and then ten hands later knocked out Mekhail in fifth place to grow her stack to 5.160 million chips. Mekhail had raised pre-flop to 225,000 with A-J suited, Zajmovic raised over the top with Kings and, pot committed, Mekhail made the reluctant call. No surprises from there and Zajmovic had the chip lead.

The long slog of the final table continued from there, with players often trading large pots. Zajmovic fell back, seeing her stack chopped in half, but on Hand 175, she eliminated Tam Ho in fourth place. Zajmovic flopped the nut flush and that was that.

To get to heads-up on Hand 194, a crippled Eric Afriat was all-in pre-flop for just a few chips. Both Zajmovic and Bouchard checked it down from there with Zajmovic winning the hand.

To start heads-up play, Bouchard had a 6.850 million to 4.525 million chip lead.

The two players traded the lead once or twice before Zajmovic took over, grabbing a 3.5 million chip lead on Hand 227 (this was a REALLY long six-handed final table). From there, she didn’t look back. On the final hand, Bouchard made an unusual move, going all-in out of turn before the flop for 5.125 million chips. Bouchard had A-9 and Zajmovic had K-Q, spades all around. Zajmovic flopped a King and turned a Queen to win the hand and her first-ever WPT title. World Poker Tour Playground Main Event – Final Table Results

1.    Ema Zajmovic  –  CAD $ 261,000 (USD $ 200,769*)
2.    Jean-Francois Bouchard  –  CAD $ 169,270 (USD $ 130,208)
3.    Eric Afriat  –  CAD $ 108,690 (USD $ 83,608)
4.    Tam Ho  –  CAD $ 71,670 (USD $ 55,131)
5.    Mekhail Mekhail  –  CAD $ 55,200 (USD $ 42,462)
6.    Jean-Pascal Savard  –  CAD $ 45,690 (USD $ 35,146)

*Lead photo credit

Poker News Daily WPT Playground Main Event Day 3: Ema Zajmovic Seeking Second WPT Final Table WPT Playground Main Event Day 3: Ema Zajmovic Seeking Second WPT Final Table

The World Poker Tour (WPT) Playground Main Event is down to its final day, with just ten players remaining from the 28 that began Monday’s action. After Day 3, it is French-Canadian Ema Zajmovic who holds the chip lead with 2.985 million chips.

Zajmovic, a Quebec native, is apparently quite fond of Montreal’s Playground Poker Club, as this is her second straight deep run at this card room. In November, she made the final table and finished fifth in the WPT Montreal Main Event, winning CAD $ 102,010 (USD $ 76,108). That cash comprises the bulk of her $ 100,000 in live tournament earnings, though she did also cash in this past summer’s World Series of Poker Main Event for $ 15,000.

As she was last time she was in this position, Zajmovic is seeking to become the first woman in World Poker Tour history to win an open Main Event.

“Honestly, I have been running really good today,”Zajmovic told “It is a mix too because I have spots where I have the momentum. I hope it will continues [sic] tomorrow because at the last final table it was so bad because I ran so bad. I think the key is to have the momentum all the time and play the best you can with what you have. We’ll see what happens and if I can keep getting lucky.”

Very early on in Day 3, Zajmovic experienced some of that “run good.” After chip Hendrik Latz (the chip leader entering the day) raised pre-flop to 40,000 chips and Jean-Pascal Savard (second in chips) called, Zajmovic moved all-in for 330,000. Latz called and Savard folded. Zajmovic turned over A-Q suited, but Latz held A-K, dominating her hand. The flop was J-8-8 with none of Zajmovic’s suit, so her flush was out the window. She struck gold on the turn, though, with a Queen and with a low card on the river, Zajmovic survived to double-up.

Another player was an illustration of how things can go south in a hurry in poker. Henry Tran at one point had 2.330 million chips, over 20 percent of the chips in play at the time when the average stack was 3.6 percent of the tournament’s chips. He couldn’t keep it going, though, ending Day 3 with just over half a million chips. It looks like he just kept get caught up in hands where he couldn’t seal the deal, committing lots of chips and then having to bail. For instance, in one hand, he raised to 52,000 pre-flop, Savard re-raised to 139,000, and Tran decided to four-bet to 277,000. When Savard shoved, though, Tran tanked and finally laid down his hand, as he would have been risking his tournament life. That left him with 575,000 chips at the time.

Day 4 – what appears to be the final day of the tournament – is underway at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal. World Poker Tour Playground Main Event – Day 3 Chip Counts

1.    Ema Zajmovic – 2,985,000
2.    Jean-Pascal Savard – 2,095,000
3.    Tam Ho – 1,700,000
4.    Eric Afriat – 1,135,000
5.    Jean-Francois Bouchard – 1,005,000
6.    Carter Swidler – 615,000
7.    Henry Tran – 525,000
8.    Ryan Yu – 520,000
9.    Danny Li – 495,000
10.    Mekhail Mekhail – 300,000

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