Bay 101 in San Jose, California, is one of the most exciting stops on each season’s World Poker Tour schedule. Not only is the card room a friendly one that brings numerous fans to the rail to cheer for their favorite players, but the Shooting Stars aspect of it offers a twist that most other tournaments don’t. The Bay 101 events are also famous for some memorable final tables, not the least of which was the 2009 event that saw Kathy Liebert and Steve Brecher, two seasoned pros, battle it out at a final table that set a new record for the most hands played. The heads-up match between the two finally ended with Brecher defeating Liebert on the 319th hand of the night. It was an event that fans won’t soon forget.
The 2010 tournament would suffer from the financial hardships that are taking a toll on most of the tournaments on the live circuit with $10,000 buy-ins, so the prize pool struggled and did not accumulate enough to provide a $1 million payout to the first place finisher. However, that did not diminish the fun atmosphere of the event. The Shooting Star format put $5,000 bounties on numerous pro players in the field, which allowed players who eliminated Shooting Stars to win that bounty along with a t-shirt with the photo of that player on it, something the player typically signs for the winner of the hand. In addition, a $10,000 bonus is given to each day’s chip leader, which gives that player a virtual freeroll through the rest of the event. With numerous ways to cash, the World Poker Tour Bay 101 event remains one of the player and fan favorites.
Day 1A brought 136 players to the tables, and among them were 17 Shooting Stars, including Hoyt Corkins, Chris Ferguson, Mike Matusow, Freddy Deeb, Tom Dwan, Daniel Negreanu, Jennifer Harman, and the aforementioned Liebert and Brecher. The day proceeded to play through a full eight levels, and when it concluded, approximately 53 players remained with six of them being Shooting Stars. At the top of the leaderboard was Vanna Tea with 143,900 chips, and Greg Mueller came in second with 132,800. Osmin Dardon, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, and Scott Montgomery rounded out the top five players.
Day 1B was the second and final starting day, and another 196 players registered for the action. In the crowd were 25 Shooting Stars, including Annie Duke, Johnny Chan, Barry Greenstein, Phil Hellmuth, Erick Lindgren, Howard Lederer, Erik Seidel, Mike Sexton, and Scotty Nguyen. With everyone accounted for, the total registration number for the Bay 101 tournament was 333, which made for a prize pool that offered payouts to the top 36 players and $878,500 to the eventual winner. When Day 1B came to an end, there were about 73 players bagging chips, and it was Eugene Katchalov who looked to be the chip leader with 131,500 chips. In second place was Tim McDermott with 118,100, and the rest of the top five were Grant Hillman, David Sands, and Scotty Nguyen.
A total of 126 players returned to the tables for Day 2 of action, and the goal was to play through to the money and end with 36 players, but a quicker day of play allowed them to play down even further. The day began with several big names leaving the field, including Daniel Negreanu, Howard Lederer, and 2009 champion Steve Brecher. But it was much later in the day when hand-for-hand play went into effect to burst the money bubble. That happened when Michael Cooper put his chips at risk with pocket tens and Scotty Nguyen called with pocket aces. The rockets held up, and Cooper left in 37th place. Loi Lam became the first player to cash in the event, taking home $14,700 for 36th place. And the night finally ended when Christopher Wallace was eliminated in 28th place. Atop the leaderboard was Phil Hellmuth with 550K, and Hasan Habib was in second with 496K. Following them in the top five were Andy Seth, Dan O’Brien, and Matt Keikoan.
Day 3 got underway in the hopes of being a short one, but the blind structure allowed so much play that it took from noon to 2am to play from 27 players to the final six. The day began with Kafir Nahum taking home $17,600 for 27th place, and others who followed throughout the afternoon and evening included Tom Marchese in 24th place, Jonathan Little in 22nd, Vanna Tea in 19th, Faraz Jaka in 18th, Chau Giang in 14th, Nick Schulman in 13th, and “Miami” John Cernuto in 11th. Then things came to a near-halt, as it took more than four hours to see another elimination. Then things moved quicker, and one of the casualties was Scotty Nguyen who left in eighth place. And finally, Lon Diamond moved all-in preflop with , and Andy Seth was there with pocket queens. The board came 10-9-6-6-8, and Diamond finished the tournament in seventh place with $58,600.
The final table was then set for March 12 as follows:
|Seat 1: ||Hasan Habib ||455,000 |
|Seat 2: ||Phil Hellmuth ||1,433,000 |
|Seat 3: ||Andy Seth ||2,164,000 |
|Seat 4: ||Matt Keikoan ||371,000 |
|Seat 5: ||Mclean Karr ||1,112,000 |
|Seat 6: ||Dan O’Brien ||1,129,000 |
Play started mostly uneventfully with the exception of small tiffs between Seth and Hellmuth. Seth got the better of Hellmuth in several pots, and Hellmuth’s table talk showed that he doubted the strength of Seth’s hands on several occasions.
By the 41st hand of the night, it came to a head. Hellmuth tried to limp from the small blind, but Seth raised from the big blind. Hellmuth reraised, which prompted an all-in move from Seth. Hellmuth called for his tournament life with , and Seth turned over . The board came , and Seth caught his pair of aces on the river to win the hand. Seth won the $5,000 for the last Shooting Star bounty and the pot to give him a solid chip lead over the table. Hellmuth reportedly sat stunned at the table before finally shaking hands and leaving, at which point he knelt on the floor just off the stage and curled up in a ball. He finally got up, did his interviews, returned to the stage to sign Seth’s bounty shirt, then left. Phil Hellmuth cashed out with $117,000 for his sixth place finish.
Two hands later, O’Brien put his tournament at risk but doubled up with A-Q over the jacks of Seth when a queen hit on the turn. But it was Karr who took the lead during five-handed action with O’Brien coming up quickly in second.
Eventually, short-stacked Keikoan made his move with his last 283K with . Seth called with pocket nines, and the board brought , which made a flush for both but a better one for Seth. Matt Keikoan was gone in fifth place with $175,700.
The next elimination hand started with Karr and Habib going to see a flop of . When Karr put out a bet, Habib check-raised, but Karr declared himself all-in. Habib called with for the flush draw, but Karr showed for flopped trips. The on the turn made a full house for Karr, so the on the river that made a flush for Habib was irrelevant. Hasan Habib left the tournament in fourth place with $234,300.
Three-handed action started with Karr in a dominating chip position with more than 3 million chips, and Seth and O’Brien both sat with less than 2 million. O’Brien started to climb by taking a 1 million-chip pot from Karr, but being on the losing end of numerous small pots relegated him to the short stack. O’Brien took one more opportunity to double up, that time through Seth, but continued to struggle. More than 50 hands since the last elimination, the players remained in the same chip positions. A bit later, another double-up found Seth doubling through Karr.
Finally, on the 188th hand of the night and past midnight, O’Brien pushed all-in from the big blind for his last 1,135,000. Original raiser Seth folded, but Karr called with , and O’Brien showed . The board was an uneventful , and Dan O’Brien was eliminated in third place with $292,800.
Heads-up play began soon after with the following chip counts:
|McLean Karr ||4,880,000 |
|Andy Seth ||1,785,000 |
Karr took the first pot of the match, and though Seth fought back with small pots here and there, the stacks remained virtually the same 20 hands later. Finally, Seth pushed all-in with against the of Karr, and the board came to give Seth two pair and the double-up.
Seth was still behind, but through some aggressive raises, he was finally able to overcome the deficit and take the chip lead by a small margin. However, ten hands later, Karr took it back.
It was only three hands after that point that the match would end. On the 244th hand of the night, Seth moved all-in preflop with pocket fours, and Karr called with pocket eights. The dealer slowly gave them a board, which left Andy Seth out of the tournament in second place with $521,200. He also took home an extra $20K for bounties, as he collected more than any other player.
McLean Karr won the Bay 101 tournament, for which he was awarded a WPT bracelet, Bay 101 trophy, $25,500 entry to the WPT World Championship in April, and $878,500 in cash to go along with the $15K he collected in bounties.