It’s a relentless schedule on the World Poker Tour these days with just a few days between tournaments at times so players would have been grateful to the schedulers that following on from the LA Poker Classic, the next stop on the tour was still in California and no more than a few hours’ drive away. The Bay 101 Casino in San Jose was the venue as once again players assembled in pursuit of the chance to add a million dollars to their name.
The Shooting Stars bounty tournament has always been a popular event as it often seems to have a friendly and light hearted feel to it despite the amount of money being played for. This year attracted the most entries ever at 635 over the two starting days, although that figure does include the single option re-entry that numerous players used so it’s not really comparing like for like when looking at entry figures for past Shooting Stars events in which that was not an option.
At the start of play each table had at least one player with a bounty of $2,500 on them (the Shooting Stars) and personalised t shirts had been made to award to those players who claimed the bounties. These t shirts often get signed by the star players and those on the receiving end are usually pretty chuffed with their reward. Not so the elderly gentleman who busted Jason Mercier on day 1a though – he wanted nothing to do with the t shirt nor the medal identifying Mercier as one of the bounty players, making for a somewhat awkward moment as Mercier skulked off with his prizes unclaimed.
Leading the action after day 1a was Andrew “luckychewy” Lichtenberger who amassed 341,100 (341 big blinds) for a very impressive stack. Despite day 1b being the busier starting day nobody else was able to get anywhere near luckychewy’s total, making him a dominant chip leader going into day 2. He will be joined by 248 others who successfully progressed to the second day, although many of the Shooting Star players will not be joining them. It’s not easy playing with a target on you the whole time (no star player has ever gone on to win this since it has been a WPT event) and the likes of Phil Hellmuth, Vanessa Selbst, Barry Greenstein and Daniel Negreanu all bit the dust and handed over their bounties.
This tournament is scheduled to play to conclusion on Friday and we’ll be back with daily updates until then, so be sure to check back to see how things are progressing in San Jose.