Stefan Schillhabel Staves Off Adam Geyer, Takes Down WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Championship

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Playing more hands in heads up competition than it took at the final table to reach that point, Stefan Schillhabel staved off the assault of a powerful Adam Geyer to take down the World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star championship last night in San Jose.

Schillhabel had stormed to the lead during Thursday’s play, sitting with 8.71 million of the chips in play. His closest competitor was WPT Champions’ Club member Griffin Paul, with a decent stack of 5.07 million chips in front of him, while the opportunity at history sat in third. The final Shooting Star in the field, Maria Ho, was equipped with 3.105 million chips and was looking not only to keep her $2500 bounty but also become the first female player to win an “open” event on the Main Tour in WPT history. Rounding out the final table were Geyer (2.265 million), WPT Player of the Year contender Andjelko Andrejevic (1.975 million) and Bryan Piccioli (1.465 million).

The play was sedate for the first couple dozen hands, but that was until Geyer and Ho decided to knock heads. Ho, who had lost a good deal of chips about ten hands previously to Geyer when he was holding Pocket Rockets, thought she would take him on again. After Geyer raised out of the cutoff and Schillhabel three-bet the action on the button, Ho popped both of them for her remaining stack. Geyer gave it some thought before committing to the call and, after Schillhabel folded, the cards were on their backs.

Once they were up, it was obvious that Geyer was hoping to drag Schillhabel into the hand with his “thought tactic” (we hope). Geyer once again held pocket Aces and Ho’s A K never stood a chance, especially after the flop came nine high. Once the turn came with a six, Ho was drawing dead and out of the tournament in sixth place, turning over her Shooting Star medallion, tee-shirt and $2500 bounty to Geyer.

That hand catapulted Geyer to the lead and he simply mashed the gas. Ten hands after eliminating Ho, Paul would move all in from under the gun and looked to wade through the minefield. Geyer wasn’t going to let him go alone, but the surprise was Andrejevic coming out of the big blind for his own chip stack, forcing Geyer to put a few more chips in the pile. When the cards were turned up, Geyer was in tough shape:

Geyer:  A 9
Paul:  A♣ Q
Andrejevic:  A♠ K

Like a thunderbolt, the board came down A-9-4, stunningly giving Geyer two pair against long odds (according to most poker calculators, approximately the same as an under pair beating a higher poker pair pre-flop, or 19.2% of the time). There were still redraw outs for Paul and Andrejevic, but those disappeared when a six came on the turn and a seven fell on the river. As the player with the fewer chips entering the hand, Paul was awarded the fifth place finish while Andrejevic earned the fourth place slot (and second in the WPT POY race behind Mike Shariati) as Geyer moved over 11 million with the double knockout.

After a slight break for everyone to catch their breath, play resumed and Piccioli and Schillhabel tried to decide who would attempt to derail Geyer. Schillhabel was able to eke out a slight edge over Piccioli before Hand 48, when Geyer would raise off the button, Schillhabel three-bet him and Piccioli moved all in from the small blind. Geyer would get out of the way, but Schillhabel decided to look him up and it proved to be the right move.

Schillhabel’s A-Q off suit was in excellent shape against Piccioli’s K-Q off suit, although the 10-10-5-J flop and turn presented some drama. Once a six blanked off on the river for Piccioli, however, he collected the third place payday for his efforts and Schillhabel and Geyer headed off to what would be an epic heads up fight nearly even in chips.

Over the first ten hands of heads up play, the twosome shuffled chips between each other. On Hand 57, however, Schillhabel was able to river a spade flush to defeat Geyer and move out to a 2:1 lead over his opponent. Geyer worked his way literally back to even (each man had 11.3 million chips) by Hand 70, but on Hand 74 Geyer couldn’t find a river call against a Schillhabel all-in on an A-8-2-2-Q board with three clubs, giving a nearly 3:1 edge back to Schillhabel. From there, Schillhabel simply ground down Geyer until the penultimate hand.

On Hand 102 (54 hands of heads up, longer than the previous four eliminations), Geyer moved all in and, after getting a count, Schillhabel called. Everyone was live with Geyer’s K-9 off suit holding the pre-flop edge over Schillhabel’s 8-7 off suit and a King pushed Geyer further into the lead. An eight made things interesting on the turn and that interest turned into a stunning moment when another eight appeared on the river, giving Schillhabel trip eights to trip up Geyer’s Kings up and earn Schillhabel the championship of the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star.

1. Stefan Schillhabel, $1,298,000
2. Adam Geyer, $752,800
3. Bryan Piccioli, $493,350
4. Andjelko Andrejevic, $331,500
5. Griffin Paul, $231,310
6. Maria Ho, $179,930

There’s no rest for the wicked as players who were in San Jose for the Shooting Star are basically on the road to Sacramento for the final stop of the WPT’s California Swing. The WPT Rolling Thunder will begin tomorrow at Thunder Valley Casino Resort and it should build quite a prize pool for its participants. The two starting days each will give the players a one rebuy option and a player can enter again on Day Two if necessary, making for a potential total of five entries (at $3500 a pop) into the tournament. It should be a roaring finale to the WPT’s California Swing as the Season XIV schedule rolls along.

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