The Bay 101 Shooting Star has been a staple on the World Poker Tour since its second season. It's an event where $5,000 bounties are found at the tables in the form of poker's most well-known players and celebrities. It's also an event that players simply love to play. It's not often that I hear that any place is the hands-down favorite tour stop, but when it comes to Bay 101, there are certain players who simply will not miss the opportunity to play. Howard Lederer echoed this statement on Twitter saying, "I ask why am I playing here? Best service, best structure, best fans!"
Lederer was one of the 170 players who advanced to Day 2 after two initial starting days that created a field of 415 players and a prizepool of $3.9 million. The increase in players (up from 333 a year ago) is great to see after a decrease at the last WPT stop, the LA Poker Classic. Action on Day 2 will take the field down to the final 24 players. The lengthy day will include the money bubble at 45 and a change to six-handed play once only 36 players remain. The champion, who will be crowned on March 18, will win $1 million.
There are 19 tables still left in play and 19 bounties spread out among them. Leading the way is Chris Trapani who finished Day 1B with only 1,400 chips more than Joris Springael. Typically, a tiny chip lead at the end of the day wouldn't mean much, but at the Shooting Star, that tiny difference meant a $10,000 bonus. Trapani also pocketed $5,000 by knocking out Erick Lindgren holding K-K to Lindgren's K-K. Nope, no typo there. Trapani turned the flush to knock out Lindgren and be on his way to the top spot. According to the World Poker Tour it was Trapani's father, Marco, who founded the Shooting Star idea and passed away last June.
"My dad loved all the players," said Trapani to the World Poker Tour. "He was all about the players, all about this tournament and it was really nice to hear all the compliments at the tables."
Bringing the best players to the Shooting Star was a great idea and Marco Trapani would be thrilled to see the lineup of stars who will return to action on Day 2. David Sands, Justin Young, Randy Dorfman and Shannon Shorr are all in the top 10 in chips with the top remaining Shooting Star being Kara Scott in 12th. Other bounties that advanced include Chris Ferguson, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Mike Matusow, John Juanda, Gavin Smith, WPT host Mike Sexton, last year's champion McLean Karr, Daniel Negreanu, Kathy Liebert, Jennifer Harman, Hoyt Corkins, David Williams, Lederer, Dwyte Pilgrim, Nam Le, Men Nguyen, Jason Mercier and Phil Hellmuth.
With so many talented players in the field, the table draw created some great tables to follow -- and you can watch a feature table online at Bay101Live.com. Here's a look at some of the tables to watch as Day 2 kicks off at 1 p.m. ET:
Table 22 - Galen Hall is back in action after his victory at PCA and has an above average stack. He's looking for his first cash since his $2.3 million payday in January. (Also at the table: Bertrand Grospellier, Phil Hellmuth, Vivek Rajkumar, Nick Rainey).
Table 34 - Shannon Shorr has been absolutely on fire this year on the World Poker Tour. He finished fourth at Beau Rivage and 10th at the LA Poker Classic which has been enough to put him in a tie for sixth in the WPT Player of the Year race. Many believed that Andy Frankenberger's lead was safe, but it doesn't seem to be that way. (Also at the table: Gavin Smith, Eric Blair, Lee Markholt).
Table 23 - Mike Sexton finally has the opportunity to play in World Poker Tour events and he already has cashed once so far this WPT season. I'm waiting for the day that Sexton makes the final table and the WPT hustles to find a replacement for him in the booth. Could this be the event? Well, he has an above-average stack and a lot of aggression at his table. It could be an interesting day for Sexton. (Also at the table: Kevin MacPhee, David Sands, Steve Brecher).
Small blinds: Have you filled out your bracket yet? If so, join our group and challenge Phil Hellmuth, Eric Baldwin and many other poker pros in Tournament Challenge. ... Brian Ali defeated John Andress to win the WSOP Circuit main event at Caesars Atlantic City. Ali earned $139,284 and an automatic entry into the National Championship. ... As the WSOP Circuit season wins down, the race for National Championship seats continues. On the leaderboard, there is a 15-way tie at the bottom for the final spots. ... Pat Walsh won the Los Angeles Bounty Shootout that will be broadcast on ESPN later this year.