Posts Tagged ‘Title’

WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale Day 2 – Alan Sternberg Aims for Second WPT Title

 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale Day 2 – Alan Sternberg Aims for Second WPT Title

With the World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown paused before the final table, the $ 10,000 buy-in WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale was into its second day on Monday. When registration closed at the start of Day 2, there were 349 total entries, up seven from last year, and 193 players ready to go. When the smoke cleared at the end of the night, just 27 players remained with Alan Sternberg emerging as the chip leader.

Though Sternberg is out in front, it is really nearly a dead heat, as he has 1.6 million chips on the nose while Terry Schumacher is less than a big blind behind with 1.591 million. 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event champ Ryan Reiss has also eclipsed the million chip mark, starting Day 3 with 1.056 million.

Speaking with WPT.com after he had bagged his chips, Sternberg said that his road to the chip lead was “a pretty steady build.”

“There was about an hour in the middle of the day where I lost a third of my stack, but outside of that it was a pretty steady crawl up,” he added. “My biggest hand was I five-bet all in against Jonathan Little with A-K suited, and he had kings. The flop card was an ace, and that gave me the chip lead, and I just went from there.”

Hey, nobody said poker tournaments didn’t require a little luck.

Sternberg also employed what looked to be a wise strategy when the tournament was on the money bubble and action slowed way, way down. Noting that his table was stuffed with strong players like Jake Cody and Marvin Rettenmaier, Sternberg said he just sat back and tried not to engage if he didn’t have to.

“I just kind of took it easy, played my hands,” he said. His stack was still more than double the average when he finally got away from the table.

Sternberg is familiar with this territory, deep in a major live tournament. Though this will only be his tenth recorded live cash, he has one gigantic one on his resume: a million dollar win at the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Championship in 2011. All told, he has about $ 1.2 million in live earnings.

With the 349 entries for the tournament, the prize pool ended up at $ 3,315,500. Payouts go down to 44 places, so everyone playing today has already made the money. The winner will walk away with $ 716,088.

Day 3 is just getting started at the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale and will play down to the six-handed final table.

WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale – Day 2 Chip Leaders

1.    Alan Sternberg – 1,600,000
2.    Terry Schumacher – 1,591,000
3.    Ryan Riess – 1,056,000
4.    Josh Kay – 842,000
5.    Tim West – 828,000
6.    Cliff Josephy – 746,000
7.    Pat Lyons – 656,000
8.    Marvin Rettenmaier – 611,000
9.    Alex Keating – 608,000
10.    Noah Vaillancourt – 500,000

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Sam Panzica Earns Second WPT Title in Winning 2017 Bay 101 Shooting Star

 Sam Panzica Earns Second WPT Title in Winning 2017 Bay 101 Shooting Star

Although it appeared at the beginning that start of day chip leader chip leader David ‘Chino’ Rheem would be the one making history, it was Sam Panzica who would etch his name in the World Poker Tour record books after winning the 2017 Bay 101 Shooting Star championship early Saturday morning.

Rheem came into the action on Friday with a massive chip lead over the field. His 10.65 million chips dominated the second-place stack of Rainer Kempe (3.705 million), who could have been more concerned with fending off Panzica (3.215 million) and Paul Volpe (3.005 million) than mounting an attack. Anthony Spinella (2.635 million) also bore watching as, with a singular double up, he would push his name into the second-place slot. Only Dennis Stevermer, the short stack on the table with less than a million chips (980,000), was the only player who those in the Bay 101 tournament arena thought would have no shot at the title.

Surprisingly (considering he only held 12 big blinds entering the action), Stevermer wasn’t the first departure from the final table. He got a key double through Kempe to crack the 1.5 million chip mark, then started using the “all in” move to further increase his stack. In a span of ten hands, Stevermer would move all in four times – and not be called – and win one pot outright with a pre-flop raise to get over the two million chip mark. This aggression allowed him to be able to witness the first elimination of the day – and it wasn’t him.

After Rheem popped the pot out of the cutoff on Hand 37, Kempe (the final Shooting Star left in the tournament) moved all in out of the small blind in an attempt to push the chip leader off his hand. Instead, given the opportunity to knock out a dangerous opponent, Rheem quickly made the call. It didn’t hurt that Rheem also had pocket Kings, a definitive favorite against Kempe’s A-9 off suit. Kempe would get no help from the eight-high board and not only left the tournament in sixth place but also had to hand his Shooting Star medallion and a signed t-shirt to Rheem, who was more interested perhaps in the $ 2500 that came along with the bounty knockout.

Rheem’s dominance was only enhanced with the Kempe elimination as he now held more chips (13.485 million) than the other four men did combined (10.705 million). Volpe put a dent in it by doubling through Rheem on the next hand after Kempe’s departure, but this status quo would stay in place for some time. In fact, it would be almost 30 hands before a significant change would occur in the standings.

On Hand 65, Spinella put in a raise to 250K and Rheem defended his big blind to see a monochrome K 9 2 flop. Rheem checked his option and, after Spinella put in another 250K bet, Rheem fired all in over Spinella’s bet. Stunningly Spinella immediately called, showing a J 3 for a flopped flush, while Rheem held the A (along with an off suit eight) for the redraw to the nut flush. Unfortunately for Rheem, a black nine and a black Jack finished off the board, doubling up Spinella to 7.74 million chips (and second place) and knocking Rheem under an eight-figure stack for the first time at the final table.

Rheem would rectify that situation in eliminating Stevermer only seven hands later. The chips went all in pre-flop and Stevermer had the edge with his A-8 over Rheem’s K-9. The flop was a tantalizing one, coming 9-7-6 to give Rheem the tentative lead with his pair of nines but giving Stevermer an open ended straight draw. That draw wouldn’t come home, however, as Stevermer, who many thought was dead meat on arrival at the final table, lasted 72 hands before departing in fifth place.

Back over 11 million in chips, Rheem tried to put the foot back on the gas pedal and win what would be his record fourth WPT title, but Spinella would once again be a thorn in his side. On Hand 84, Rheem lost the chip lead for the first time when, after a J-5-2 flop, Rheem let Spinella have a 4.1 million pot to fall back to second place by only 25,000 chips. Spinella and Rheem would clash again on the next hand and the endgame would be the same, except this time Spinella rivered a deuce after turning an Ace for two pair against Rheem’s flopped pair of Kings to win the hand. With that win, Spinella was now the dominant chip leader, moving past 12 million in chips as Rheem slipped back to 6.675 million.

This only served to light a fire under Rheem, who would take down Volpe a few hands later. On Hand 90, Rheem pushed the action to 375K and Volpe, in the big blind, defended to see an 8 7♠ 4♠ flop. This seemingly innocuous flop instead seemed to light the fireworks as, after Rheem sent another 375K to the pot, Volpe check-raised his remaining three million chips. Rheem immediately called, showing pocket Kings, while Volpe was quite live with his Q♠ J♠ for the flush draw. The turn and river were black, but they were clubs, sending Volpe home in fourth place while pushing Rheem into a solid second behind Spinella.

At this point, Panzica was in no position to even posit winning the tournament. With slightly more than three million in chips, Panzica’s stack was three time smaller than Rheem’s and almost four times smaller than Spinella’s. The longest journeys take a singular step, as the saying goes, and Panzica’s journey was an audacious one.

The threesome played 18 hands before Panzica took over second place, but Rheem still was exercising his dominance. Another 30 hands would see Rheem reestablish his edge with 13.25 million chips, while Panzica and Spinella fought over the scraps. On Hand 151, however, Panzica and Rheem would enter a hand that would change the course of the tournament.

Panzica raised the button and Spinella made the call from the small blind, but Rheem was having none of it. He moved all in out of the big blind and Panzica was more than happy to dance, pushing his stack to the center. A cautious Spinella got out of the way and it proved to be the right move; Panzica’s pocket Aces dominated Rheem’s Q-J and, after the ten-high flop came down, the double for Panzica put him neck and neck with Rheem for the chip lead.

Panzica would take over at this point and never look back. The very next hand after doubling through Rheem, Panzica seized the chip lead after butting heads with Rheem again and stretched it out over the next five hands. In taking another big pot against Rheem – this one worth 8.3 million chips – Panzica would put Rheem on the short stack. The end was on the horizon, but the final chapter remained to be written.

On Hand 167, Spinella doubled through Rheem to drop the former chip leader to only two big blinds and would eliminate him on the very next hand. Spinella now was sitting with a nice 5.75 million stack, but it dwindled in the face of the monstrous 18.475 million chip mountain sitting in front of Panzica. Although he earned one double to pull closer, Spinella never saw the chip lead in heads up play.

On the final hand, Spinella pushed out a raise only to see Panzica power over the top of him all in. Spinella called and tabled an A-8, normally good in a heads up setting, but Panzica had a couple of pips on him in tabling A-10. The Jack high flop (J-5-3-4-5) didn’t change anything, sending Panzica to his second WPT championship in winning the Shooting Star.

1. Sam Panzica, $ 1,373,000
2. Anthony Spinella, $ 786,610
3. David ‘Chino’ Rheem, $ 521,660
4. Paul Volpe, $ 349,610
5. Dennis Stevermer, $ 243,090
6. Rainer Kempe, $ 188,460

There’s no rest for these men as, for Rheem, Kempe and Volpe at the minimum, the final leg of the WPT California Swing starts today. The WPT Rolling Thunder at the Thunder Valley Casino near Sacramento begins on Saturday and it is the final chance for players to earn points toward that title (Mike Sexton currently leads those standings). Panzica will also probably head to Thunder Valley also, but not until he’s finished celebrating his second WPT title.

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2017 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Day 3: Final Table Set With “Chino” Rheem Seeking Record-Setting Fourth Title

 2017 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Day 3: Final Table Set With “Chino” Rheem Seeking Record Setting Fourth Title

After one of the longer days of action this year on the circuit, the final table was set early Friday morning for the World Poker Tour’s Bay 101 Shooting Star in San Jose, CA. It promises to be an exciting final table as one Shooting Star remains in the event and the chip leader could etch their name into the WPT record books.

Walking into the Bay 101 on Thursday, the players were all aware it was going to be a long day as the end of Day 3 would only come with the establishment of the six-handed WPT final table. 44 players stepped back to the tables for action with Paul Volpe in command of the field with his 1.7 million-plus chip stack. Along with Volpe were five of the Shooting Star bounties – Garrett Greer, David Williams, Rainer Kempe, Christian Harder and Mike Sexton – who each held a $ 2500 bonus for whomever knocked them out.

Volpe came out of the gates quickly, eliminating Mike Jacob in 41st place when his pocket Queens stood over Jacob’s Big Chick to push his stack over the two million mark. Other contenders were able to move out of the pack, however, including David ‘Chino’ Rheem, the three-time WPT champion. He defeated a tough opponent in Eddy Sabat when Rheem turned an Ace to go with his Big Slick, topping Sabat’s pocket tens and sending Sabat to the rail while Rheem pushed his way into contention. Also knocking on the door of Volpe was WPT Champions’ Club member Brian Altman, who took a few chips from Volpe in making his climb.

The remaining Shooting Stars fought valiantly to keep hold of their medallions and their $ 2500 bounties (by rule, a Shooting Star would keep their $ 2500 bounty should they win the tournament). Sexton would double up through Stephen Graner to move over the half-million mark, while Kempe eliminated Pratyush Buddiga in 35th place when he went runner-runner Jacks to make trips with his A-J over Buddiga’s A-K. For four of the Shooting Stars, that was about it for the highlights as they gradually saw their chips – and their bounties – end up in other players’ stacks.

First to go was Harder, knocked out by Tuan Mai when Mai’s pocket Kings dominated his pocket nines, in 34th place. Greer was the next Shooting Star to depart, losing all his chips to Huihan Wu over the course of two hands to leave in 23rd place. Sexton saw his bounty go to Mai, who collected his second bounty of the day (and third overall) in eliminating the Poker Hall of Famer is 22nd place. Finally, there was Williams, who saw his day end at the hands of Sergio Aido when his two pair, Queens up, was crushed by Aido’s straight; Williams would walk off in 16th place for his time in San Jose.

The story was a bit different for Kempe, however. After starting the day with 513,000 in chips, Kempe pretty much was on the climb throughout the action on Thursday. He would double up early in the afternoon against Igor Yaroshevskyy and stay on an ascendant path in defeating Ravi Raghavan, Yaroshevskyy again and Mai to crack the 2.5 million chip mark. By the time two six-handed tables were set, Kempe was over three million in chips and in second place behind Aido for the chip lead.

It was at this time that Rheem began to make his charge. He eliminated Wu in eleventh and doubled through Kempe to move to 3.695 million chips, all the while keeping the pressure on his opponents. Yaroshevskyy was his next victim as Rheem’s chip stack climbed to 4.5 million and, after a slight setback in doubling up Dennis Stevermer, got them back in winning a “straight versus straight” battle with Yaroshevskyy. As the clock passed 2AM, Rheem held onto his second-place stack and was now the contender challenging Aido.

When Rheem took down Yaroshevskyy in eighth place to see his mountain of chips grow to nearly five million and take the chip lead, the remaining seven men came to one table. Over the span of 59 hands – roughly two hours of table time – the players fought it out for those six seats available for the final battle at the Bay 101 Shooting Star. On Hand 59 in a “blind versus blind” battle, Kempe moved all in and Aido called for his tournament existence.

Kempe was on the blind steal with his miniscule 8-2 off suit and Aido had caught him in it with his K-Q off suit, but the poker gods are a fickle lot. A 7-3-2 flop paired Kempe’s rags and a Jack on the turn wasn’t the paint that Aido was looking for. Once a ten came on the river, Kempe’s rags became golden in sending Aido out on the official final table bubble.

David ‘Chino’ Rheem, 10.65 million Rainer Kempe, 3.705 million* Sam Panzica, 3.215 million Paul Volpe, 3.005 million Anthony Spinella, 2.635 million Dennis Stevermer, 980,000

(* – final Shooting Star remaining)

If Rheem can hold onto that massive chip lead and earn the victory at the Bay 101, he would become the record holder for WPT championships. Currently, Rheem is tied with Gus Hansen, Carlos Mortensen, Anthony Zinno and Darren Elias in the annals of WPT history with three championships. If he is to win his fourth, Rheem must overcome a talented final table in the defending champion of the Super High Roller Bowl (Kempe), another member of the WPT Champions’ Club (Panzica), and two World Series of Poker bracelet holders (Volpe and Spinella). Only Stevermer could be looked at as the “least experienced” player on the table, but that would be a mistake; the veteran of the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) has racked up almost $ 300K in earnings and is looking for his breakout victory.

The final table of the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star will commence at 4PM (Pacific Time) and, while there will be no livestream of the action, it will be taped for broadcast as part of the WPT on Fox Sports 1. Every player is guaranteed $ 188,460 for returning to the felt today, but they all would rather take down the $ 1,373,000 sitting atop the mountain for winning the championship.

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Romanian Vlad Darie Captures WPT Vienna Title, Dietrich Fast Makes Another Final Table

 Romanian Vlad Darie Captures WPT Vienna Title, Dietrich Fast Makes Another Final Table

In what proved to be a highly entertaining final table, Romania’s Vlad Darie defeated start-of-day chip lead Zoltan Gal to take down the World Poker Tour Vienna title on Sunday afternoon (U. S. time).

When the six men gathered at the Montesino Wien in Vienna on Sunday, they were the survivors from the 215 unique entries that the tournament had garnered. Along with 19 rebuys in the tournament, the total prize pool of €680,940 (a little more than $ 757,000 U. S.) had already seen some of it handed out to the previous 21 finishers in the tournament. These final six men, however, would divvy up the lion’s share of the wildebeest, with the eventual champion taking down a nice €157,000 payday.

Although Gal held the lead at the start of the day, it was really anyone’s tournament as the men were tightly packed together on the leaderboard. Reigning L. A. Poker Classic champion Dietrich Fast was looking for his second WPT title while holding 1.594 million in chips as Matt Davenport (1.274 million) and Darie (1.18 million) joined them in the million chip club. Dominik Bosnjak (665,000) and Georgios Zisimopoulos (485,000) rounded out the table as the men went to work on Sunday.

“Frantic” would be the word for the early hands on the Vienna final table as the players started moving chips quickly. Fast would be the beneficiary of the early flurry of action, cracking the two million chip mark, to seize the lead away from Gal. He also would punish Darie for some missteps as Darie saw his stack slip to the basement of the leaderboard. On one particular hand, Darie was fortunate to walk away still in the tournament.

After Darie raised from under the gun (with a K-Q) and Fast defended his big blind (with an A-5), the 3-4-Q flop seemed to be beneficial for Darie, who bet 45K. Fast made the call and, after another four came on the turn, Fast decided to lead out and Darie made a tenuous call. When the river came with an Ace to give Fast the hand, he would move all in and Darie agonized over his decision. With just 400K in chips and a pot worth more than half that amount, Darie decided to walk away and let Fast have the hand, a laydown that saved him from elimination.

The “poker gods” must have smiled fortuitously on Darie for that laydown as he didn’t seem to make a misstep from that point forward. On Hand 28, Darie would eliminate Zisimopoulos in sixth place, his pocket eights standing over Zisiomopoulos’ K-J off suit. On the very next hand Fast dropped Bosnjak in fifth when his Ace caught in a race against Bosnjak’s pocket tens on an A-8-9-J-5 board.

Now it was Davenport’s turn to get in the action. He would double up through Gal, his pocket sixes holding firm over Gal’s Big Chick, and used trip Queens to topple Fast’s two pair to take some of Fast’s stack in getting to 1.674 million in chips. Davenport would seize the lead when he carved some chips away from Darie after he flopped two pair against Darie’s flush draw, the resulting influx of chips pushing Davenport to 2.65 million in chips.

The four men continued a blistering pace, one that could not be sustained. Part of the destruction was Fast’s stack, which never seemed to get over the hand with Davenport. After Gal raised the betting to 100K, Fast shoved nearly one million chips to the center and Gal immediately made the call. His Big Slick was ruling over Fast’s A♣ 10♣ and the “poker gods” chose this moment to show they also have a sense of humor; the 3♣ K♣ 3 flop hit everyone in the hand, with Gal holding Kings up and Fast on the nut flush draw. A Jack on the turn was black, but it was the J♣, and after the 6 came on the river, Fast was out of the tournament in fourth place as Gal began to dominate.

Just as easily as it came to Davenport, it went away from him. On Hand 75 (and after seeing his stack decimated in a hand against Darie that left him with scraps), Davenport moved all in and both Gal and Darie came along for the ride. The Q-8-7-7-6 flop, turn and river was checked down by Gal and Darie and Davenport showed a 6-5 for two pair. Gal didn’t have any piece of the board with his A-9 off suit, but Darie’s 10-9 had rivered the nut straight to eliminate Davenport in third place and send the WPT Vienna to heads up play between Gal and Darie with Gal holding a 2:1 lead.

Gal didn’t waste any time, moving out to a 3:1 lead within about five hands of heads up action. It was the sixth hand, Hand 82, that proved to be a game-changer, however, as the twosome saw a 5-10-7 flop. Darie would check-call a bet out of Gal and, on a trey turn, Gal fired again. Darie chose this time to make a stand, pushing his chips to the center and Gal nearly beat him into the pot, turning up a 5-3 for two pair against Darie’s 7-6 for a pair of sevens. Looking for another seven or a six to best Gal’s two pair, Darie struck gold when a six came on the river, capturing the pot and the chip lead with his better two pair.

The duo would shift the lead back and forth over the next 70 hands before the final act. Darie would move all in from the button and Gal made the call, which turned out to be the correct move. Darie’s K 6 looked great when he turned it up but it faded quickly in the face of Gal’s A 2. A six on the flop changed that, however, and when no Ace came on the turn or river, Gal was out in second place as Vlad Darie captured the championship of the WPT Vienna.

1. Vlad Darie, €157,000
2. Zoltan Gal, €109,340
3. Matt Davenport, €70,800
4. Dietrich Fast, €52,450
5. Dominik Bosnjak, €39,360
6. Georgios Zisimopoulos, €31,500

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Dietrich Fast Denies Mike Shariati Second WPT Title, Wins L. A. Poker Classic

 Dietrich Fast Denies Mike Shariati Second WPT Title, Wins L. A. Poker Classic

Fighting his way from the back of the pack, Dietrich Fast was able to deny World Poker Tour champion Mike Shariati his second WPT title of the Season XIV schedule, winning the WPT L. A. Poker Classic early Friday morning.

Fast had his work cut out for him as, with his decent stack of 2.365 million in chips, only Alex Keating (1.785 million) was behind him. Fast was a part of a pack of players that was separated by less than 300K in chips, with Farid Jattin (2.63 million), Shariati (2.535 million), and Sam Soverel (2.425 million) joining Fast in that pack. Anthony Spinella was the man to beat at the start of the day, however, as he lorded over the final table with his 3.705 million chip stack.

Spinella would come out firing to put the pressure on his opponents, but it would end up hurting him more than helping. After taking a pot when he luckily rivered a ten to go with his A-10 and defeat Shariati’s A-J, Spinella decided to pop the pot again on Hand 5 from under the gun. This time it was Fast who came along, three-betting the action to 265K and Spinella called to see a J-9-4 flop. Spinella slowed down with a check, then came out firing with a raise to 920K after Fast bet 275K. When the A put a flush on the board, both players checked their options and another heart, the 2, completely shut down the action with two more checks. Spinella showed he was playing a J♣ 9♣ from under the gun and got fortunate in flopping two pair, but Fast had gotten even more fortunate to turn an Ace to go with his pocket Aces for the winning set, pushing the pot and the chip lead to him as Spinella began his downward dive.

It seemed that no one gave Spinella any respect for a hand after his battle against Fast. He lost another two million chip pot to Soverel on Hand 12 and, on Hand 19, doubled up Keating when his Big Slick failed to catch up against Keating’s pocket threes on a nine-high board. Down to only 385K in chips after that fight, Spinella would earn a double up on Hand 25; two hands later, Spinella would run K-J off suit into Soverel’s A-10 off suit to go from the “penthouse to the outhouse” in finishing in sixth place.

After the departure of the busy Spinella, the remaining five men relaxed into what became a rather sedentary final table. About the only excitement over the next 25 hands was the penalization of Alex Keating by Tournament Director Matt Savage, who warned Keating twice about discussing the contents of his hands with his opponents at the table while a hand was in action. After Keating ignored Savage’s warnings, the renown TD tossed Keating for one round in the tournament, which seemed to get the point across as Keating didn’t do it again.

After Keating returned to the table, the players seemed to take that as a cue to start eliminating some players. On Hand 58, Keating would use pocket Aces to knock off Jattin in fifth place (sure he was glad to not have been on penalty for THAT hand) and, 12 hands later in a blind versus blind battle, Fast would take down Soverel in fourth after Soverel tried to all-in bluff Fast off his hand. When Fast knocked off Keating on the very next hand, his Big Slick defeating Keating’s Big Chick, and heads up play was set with Fast holding nearly a 3:1 lead over Shariati.

Although they would battle it out for 55 hands, Shariati never once took the lead from Fast. In fact, Shariati never even got within 4 million chips of Fast’s chip advantage as Fast meticulously worked the stacks for several levels before the finale. On that fateful hand, Fast would open up from the button and, after Shariati pushed all in for almost 5 million in chips, Fast took some time and got the exact count before making a tenuous call. Fast was in the lead pre-flop, his A-9 off suit against Shariati’s A 8, and Shariati actually took the lead on the A-J-4-8 flop and turn. When the river paired the Jack, however, Shariati’s second pair was counterfeited, Fast’s nine now played and the championship was determined in the favor of Dietrich Fast.

1. Dietrich Fast, $ 1,000,800
2. Mike Shariati, $ 656,540
3. Alex Keating, $ 423,890
4. Sam Soverel, $ 316,440
5. Farid Jattin, $ 238,070
6. Anthony Spinella, $ 191,250

As a consolation prize (as if over $ 600K wasn’t enough), Shariati takes over the WPT Player of the Year race with the points earned at the LAPC. He now has a very healthy lead over second place Cate Hall as the WPT prepares to move on to the second stop of their “California Swing,” the Bay 101 Shooting Star in San Jose, CA, which begins on March 7.

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