WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Day Two: Money Bubble Pops, Paul Volpe Leads With 44 Players Remaining

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Players are making quick work with their play at the World Poker Tour’s Bay 101 Shooting Star in San Jose, popping the money bubble on Day Two as they battle towards a champion that will be crowned on Friday.

Coming together for the first time in the tournament, the 249 players left were promised a long day of action around the Bay 101 tournament room. The plan by tournament director Matt Savage was for the field to work down to eighteen players by the end of Wednesday’s action, but that was viewed by many to be virtually impossible. With this in mind, the “hard stop” time of 2AM (Pacific Time) was a more likely option for the end of Day Two play.

Day 1A top dog Andrew Lichtenberger was the overall leader with 341,100 chips heading into Day Two play and there were still sixteen Shooting Stars (eight from each Day One) that were around for Wednesday’s action. The Shooting Stars – bountied players that had a $2500 price on their heads – included Shawn Buchanan, Antonio Esfandiari, Andy Frankenberger, Jennifer Harman, Christian Harder, Maria Ho, WPT announcer Mike Sexton (the only one of the announcing crew to make it out of Day One) and Dominik Nitsche (among others). They would have a tough day, however, as the action played out.

Until the start of Day Two, there was no prize pool announced or the number of players that would be paid due to the ability of those who had been eliminated on Day 1B to re-enter before the start of play on Wednesday. After a few moments of play on Day Two, the official numbers saw 635 entries for the tournament (a record brought about by the re-entry format as well as the lower buy-in of $7500) to build a prize pool over $4.5 million. 63 players would take away the minimum $15,110, while the eventual champion of the tournament would walk off with a $1.13 million payday.

With the financials taken care of, the players got down to eliminating players. Within the first two levels of play (two hours), more than 100 players found their way to the rail. Of those players, Shooting Stars Buchanan and Tom Marchese were causalities (by Nick Schulman and Jason Somerville, respectively) while other Shooting Stars (Harman and Noah Schwartz) tried to keep pace with the field.

As mid-afternoon approached, the players kept flooding the exits at the Bay 101. Greg Mueller, Mohsin Charania, Sexton and Schwartz hit the rail, leaving only a dozen Shooting Stars remaining in the event. As the field dropped under the century mark, Brendon Rubie became the first player to crack the 500K chip count as he took over the lead.

More Shooting Stars would be eliminated before the money bubble was burst. Harman was coolered when her pocket Queens were topped by pocket Aces and former World Champion Carlos Mortensen knocked off Frankenberger to claim his bounty medal and a $2500 payday. As the dinner break arrived, Ho was able to double up to set herself for a run after some sustenance.

When play picked back up Wednesday night, 102 players were still alive for this WPT championship, but those numbers would plummet as the night wore on. Nine Shooting Stars were remaining and, by the end of the action, that number would be cut by a third.

Nitsche would be the first Shooting Star to leave after dinner, with Alex Keating knocking him off. Scott Seiver eliminated Star Eugene Katchalov when Katchalov’s pocket Jacks failed to find a partner against Seiver’s pocket Queens. As the money bubble approached, David Chiu was dismissed from the tournament by WeiKai Chang, Chang’s second bounty of the tournament (he knocked off Todd Brunson on his Day One).

Mortensen would do the honors of popping the money bubble, eliminating Jeremy Druckman in 64th place and guaranteeing the rest of the field would earn something for their trip to San Jose. In a battle that would see our Day Three leader determined, Matt Affleck and Paul Volpe fought it out over several hands only to see Affleck’s stack end up in Volpe’s possession as the hour grew late. By the time the 2AM curfew came, only 44 players remained to come back for Day Three action on Thursday with Volpe holding the lead.

1. Paul Volpe, 1.394 million
2. Brendon Rubie, 988,000
3. Isaac Baron, 896,000
4. Steve Behm, 854,000
5. Maria Ho, 805,000
6. Antonio Esfandiari, 787,000
7. James Anderson, 770,000
8. Erik Seidel, 751,000
9. Matt Stout, 687,000
10. Jordan Cristos, 672,000

While Volpe’s run to the top was impressive, Ho’s play was truly stunning on the day. She was all-in on several occasions and, as a Shooting Star bounty, was able to find a great deal of action. She was able to use that action to go from nearly on the felt to one of the chip leaders for Day Three.

It will be another long day for the 44 survivors in the Bay 101 Shooting Star as they are tasked with getting down to the six handed WPT final table. The action begins at noon in San Jose with only six Shooting Stars remaining (Ho, Esfandiari, Seidel, Harder, Kyle Julius and Somerville) but plenty of money still left to hand out before the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star final table is determined.

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