WeiKai Chang Storms From Bottom Of Ladder To Win WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star
After starting the day near the bottom of the leaderboard, WeiKai Chang took down his first major championship in winning the World Poker Tour’s Bay 101 Shooting Star late last night in San Jose, CA.
As the cards hit the air on Friday, Chang found himself sitting down the ladder in fifth place with his 2.59 million stack. Only Joe Nguyen was beneath him and they were looking up at Chris Johnson, Joe Kuether, Shooting Star Erik Seidel and chip leader Paul Volpe as the action began. As the last Shooting Star left in the event, Seidel had a $2500 bounty on his head, but the players weren’t concerned with that as the first man out would receive nearly 65 times that amount by being at the final table.
Chang was aggressive off the start, adding a million chips to his stack within the first dozen hands of action. He would give those back, however, to Johnson when he made Aces up against Chang. Over the first forty hands, there was little fluctuation on the leaderboard as the players looked for the right situations to get their chips into action. As the play moved on to Level 27 (25K/50K with a 5K ante), Chang would be able to work himself back into the lead after taking a pot off of Volpe.
Seidel, who came to the final table in second place, was going in the opposite direction. On the 50th hand of play, he lost a 2.8 million chip pot to Joe Nguyen when Nguyen’s K-10 paired on the flop to best Seidel’s offerings. Seidel would see his stack slip under the two million mark, ahead of only Kuether as the sun set on the Pacific Ocean. Nguyen continued to take large pots, besting Volpe when his flopped pair of Queens was better than Volpe’s holdings to seize a 1.8 million chip pot. After starting off the day as the short stack, Nguyen would sit behind only Chang at this point as the 60-hand mark came and went with no eliminations.
On the 79th hand of play, the first elimination would occur. Chang opened the betting for 125K and Kuether decided it was time to make his stand. What he didn’t expect, however, was Nguyen’s “over the top” move from the big blind. After Nguyen’s all in, Chang departed the battle and Kuether showed a pocket pair of Jacks. Nguyen had woke up in the big blind with pocket Aces, however, and the Ace on the flop virtually sealed the deal. After the turn brought Nguyen a full house, Kuether was drawing dead and out of the tournament in sixth place.
The very next hand would bring about another elimination. Johnson popped it to 125K and Chang and Seidel decided to come along for the ride. On the 10-8-5 rainbow flop, Seidel checked his option but folded after Johnson bet 200K and Chang moved it up to 700K. Johnson pushed his final chips to the center and Chang called immediately, tabling his pocket tens for the flopped set. Johnson could only muster a K-10 for battle, which didn’t hit on the Jack turn or the Queen river to send Johnson out of the Bay 101 tournament arena in fifth place.
After that flurry of action, the four men at the felt settled in for a bit of a grind. Chang was at the head of the table, with Nguyen, Volpe and Seidel looking to gain some ground. Nguyen and Chang swapped the lead between the two of them while Volpe and Seidel waited patiently to attack. It would take almost forty hands of play before the next elimination was determined in a dramatic fashion.
Seidel, battling valiantly on a short stack for much of the final table, got his chips to the center with J-10 against Volpe’s A♦ 4♦ and things looked good on the flop for a Seidel double. The J♥ J♦ 7♦ brought the Poker Hall of Famer trips, but the diamond draw was available for Volpe to come back. This he did on the K♦ turn, taking over the lead and leaving Seidel looking for the board to pair or the case Jack. Neither would happen on the river, sending Seidel to the rail in fourth place and earning Volpe the final bounty of the 2013 Bay 101 Shooting Star.
Even with the knockout of Seidel, Volpe was still in dire shape. His three million in chips paled in comparison to the stacks of Nguyen (over 8.6 million) and Chang (over 7.6 million), but Volpe would make them work for his chips. Thirty hands after knocking out Seidel, Volpe would succumb to Chang when his suited Q-10 was unable to catch up with Chang’s A-9 on a King high board and leave in third place.
With the elimination of Volpe, Chang held slightly less than a 2:1 lead over Nguyen and heads up play would last for all of six hands. On the final hand, Nguyen raised from the button and Chang made the call to see a 10♥ 7♦ 5♠ flop. Chang would check call a 325K bet from Nguyen to see a 9♦ on the turn. Nguyen moved all in, only to have Chang snap him off with the call and table an 8♠ 6♦ for the turned straight. Nguyen, holding the Doyle Brunson (a 10♦ 2♦), was drawing to a diamond flush that failed to materialize on the 6♣ river, sending him out in second place and earning WeiKai Chang the championship.
1. WeiKai Chang, $1,138,350
2. Joe Nguyen, $666,740
3. Paul Volpe, $435,610
4. Erik Seidel, $295,590
5. Chris Johnson, $208,910
6. Joe Kuether, $162,240
After their two week frenzy in California, the WPT will be taking a bit of a break before holding two tournaments outside of the U. S. The Gioco Digitale WPT Venice Grand Prix is set to start on March 25 in Italy and the Casino Barcelona plays host to the bwin WPT Barcelona beginning on April 5 in Spain. The next stop in the States for Season XI of the WPT will be the Seminole Hard Rock Showdown in Hollywood, FL, beginning on April 11.
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