The World Poker Tour traveled up the California coast from Los Angeles to San Jose this week for the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event. The tournament is one of the more popular stops on the circuit each year because of its unique format. Every starting table on Day 1 begins with a notable "Shooting Star," and anyone who eliminates that player will receive a $2,500 bounty as well as an autographed T-shirt.
The first Day 1 starting flight took place on Monday with 270 players putting up the $7,500 buy-in to participate. Only 109 players survived after 10 levels of play, with Andrew Lichtenberger leading the way with 341,000 in chips when play concluded. He was joined at the top of the leaderboard by Stephen Bokor, Andy Hwang, Phaly Nou, and James Calderaro.
Day 1a Top 10 Chip Counts
Several bounties were awarded Monday as 16 of the 26 Shooting Stars were eliminated on Day 1a. Among the Shooting Stars sent to the rail were Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Jonathan Duhamel, Michael Mizrachi, JC Tran, Will Failla, Vanessa Selbst, Nam Le, Tony Dunst,Shannon Shorr, Greg Mueller, and Jason Mercier.
Hellmuth exited in Level 8 after being knocked out by Matt O'Donnell. According to the WPT Live Updates team, Hellmuth pushed his entire stack in the middle with on a flop, and O'Donnell called with . Hellmuth was out in front, but the on the turn have his opponent a pair of aces and the lead. The on the river brought no help to Hellmuth, and he'll be forced to re-enter on Tuesday.
Negreanu met his demise moments later when he moved all in for 23,050 on a board of . Steve "Chainsaw" Dempsey spent a few minutes thinking before deciding to call with , which had Negreanu's beat. "Wouldn't have done that if I couldn't get back in tomorrow," said Negreanu, who will also re-enter the tournament on Day 1b.
The Shooting Stars who advanced to Day 2 were Antonio Esfandiari (119,200), Dominik Nitche (122,300), Erik Seidel (85,000), David Chiu (84,700), Mike Sexton (50,200), Mohsin Charania (38,900), Noah Schwartz (37,700), and Shawn Buchanan (17,400).
Lichtenberger, meanwhile, shot up the charts late in the day to scoop the $10,000 prize awarded to the chip leaders at the end of Days 1a and 1b. He took the chip lead during the last level when he eliminated Jerry Yang and Matt O'Donnell on the same hand. According to the WPT Live Updates team, Lichtenberger raised to 2,300 from early position and O'Donnell moved all in for 7,900 from the hijack. Jerry Yang then four-bet to 17,000 from the big blind, and Lichtenberger push a tall stack of chips in the middle, effectively putting Yang all in. Yang thought for about 90 seconds before calling all in for about 70,000.
The board ran out , giving Lichtenberger a pair of aces to eliminate his two opponents. He'll take Tuesday off before returning for Day 2 on Wednesday.
Other notables taking healthy stacks into Day 2 are Chris Klodnicki, Darren Elias, Owen Crowe, Soi Nguyen, Tommy Vedes, Toby Lewis, David Peters, and Paul Volpe, who took second place at last week's World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic for $651,170. Paul Klann, who beat Volpe heads-up in that event, busted early on Day 1a at Bay 101.
Day 1b of the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event begins Tuesday at 12 p.m. PT. Stay tuned to PokerNews.com for a full recap of the day’s action upon completion of play.
Photo courtesy of WorldPokerTour.com.