The Bay 101 Casino hosts an annual event that adds a little something special to the live tournament poker scene: the Bay 101 Shooting Star. In every tournament, amateurs hope for the stars to bust, in order to make their paths to the final table just a little bit easier. At Bay 101, busting the stars isn't just another step toward the final table, but a profitable venture. As each of the designated "shooting stars" is eliminated, the player that deals the final blow earns $5,000. Bust just two out of the 47 bounties and the $10,000 buy-in event just became a freeroll. The format adds a different element into the signature World Poker Tour stop and in 2013, you'll find Moon Kim at the tables with a bounty on his head after his victory over the field of 364.
World Poker TourAmateur Moon Kim won the 2012 Bay 101 Shooting Star.
According to the World Poker Tour, Kim turned his $1,000 satellite victory into a first-place prize of $960,900. The local pro was supported by dozens during the final table and defeated his friend Ubaid Habib to win the title. He also eliminated Nam Le on Day 2 to collect an additional $5,000.
There were no remaining "Shooting Stars" at the final table, but out of the final six, two were previous WSOP champions, four had WSOP final table experience and two appeared to be poised for poker greatness despite their lack of big tournament results.
Eric Cajelais, the runner-up at the WPT Turks and Caicos event in 2007, entered the final table with the chip lead. After some positioning for the first 29 hands, Kim earned the win in the first major confrontation, earning a pot off Cajelais to move into the chip lead. For the next 80 hands, the six players traded pots with conservative approaches appearing to be the game plan for all.
In a rare occurrence on the WPT, it took 113 hands to eliminate the first player at the televised final table. WSOP bracelet winner Andrew Badecker eliminated Joseph Elpayaa in sixth, but still remained the short stack. As Badecker chipped up for the next few orbits to put himself back in contention, Kim maintained his lead and greatly extended it after he eliminated Badecker in fifth by hitting his gutshot straight draw on the turn.
Kim was the only player with more than 25 big blinds as four-handed play began, and as he pressured the other three players in pot after pot, he held more than half the chips in play. Blinds escalated quickly and Cajelais was down to less than six big blinds before moving all-in. His effort to double up almost became a triple up as he was called by both Kim and Habib, but the two checked down the action through the river and with second-pair, Habib took the pot. Kim then took care of Serock, winning a race with K-Q against Serock's 9-9. This was Serock's third career six-figure score, which includes two runner-up WSOP finishes.
Kim had slightly more than a 3-to-2 advantage at the start of heads-up play. Habib momentarily stole the lead, but Kim brought the two back to the heads-up starting stacks shortly after. On the 218th hand of the final table, Kim opened to 240,000 (blinds 60,000/120,000 with a 20,000 ante) and Habib called. The flop came 9d-4c-2d and within minutes, all the chips were in the center of the table (Habib checked, Kim bet 300,000, Habib raised to 9000,000, Kim moved all-in and Habib called). Habib showed Q-9 for top pair and the best hand at the time. Kim showed Jd-7d for the flush draw and his aggression was rewarded as a diamond hit the river.
The next World Poker Tour stop will take place at the Montesino in Vienna.
Here are the complete results from the 2012 LA Poker Classic final table:
1. Moon Kim ($960,900)
2. Ubaid Habib ($570,200)
3. Joe Serock ($320,400)
4. Erik Cajelais ($256,300)
5. Andrew Badecker ($192,300)
6. Joseph Elpayaa ($128,200)
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