Mukul Pahuja has been on quite a run in tournaments over the last seven months, and he once again finds himself in a great position to contend for a major title at the 2014 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star.
Pahuja enters the six-handed final table with 6,470,000, which is good enough for the overall chiplead when play resumes Friday afternoon in San Jose. It’s Pahuja’s second top 10 finish on the WPT already this year, after finishing eighth at the WPT Lucky Hearts Open, but his biggest results date back to August. He finished third in the $10 Million Guarantee at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open for $872,625, which wasn’t on the WPT schedule in 2013 but returns this year, and Pahuja narrowly missed out on a WPT title back in November, where he took second in Montreal.
It’s pretty bunched up at the top with Dylan Wilkerson bearing down on Pahuja in second, holding 5,850,000. Wilkerson is less than a month removed from a second place WPT finish of his own, at the Fallsview Poker Classic. He got a hold of most of his chips in this tournament after winning a 6.1 million chip coinflip with A K against Steve Sung’s T T. After an extended period of eight-handed play Sung, who finished second in this tournament back in Season VI, went from chipleader to out in eighth in a short window of time.
Shaun Suller sits in third with 4.2 million and he too has found recent success on the WPT, finishing fourth at the 2013 Five Diamond World Poker Classic. James Carroll’s in fourth with 2,075,000, and while the majority of his results have come online, he has an HPT title to his credit.
Nam Le has a chance to be the first player ever to win the same WPT event twice, entering the final table in fifth place as he tries to repeat his 2006 performance at Bay 101, where he won over $1.1 million and his only WPT title to date.
Rounding out the final six is Garrett Greer, who makes his first appearance at a WPT final table. Greer was close on two separate occasions in 2013, finishing seventh at the LA Poker Classic in March and eighth at the Legends of Poker in late August. BLUFF talked to Greer at length during his 2013 LAPC run, where he talked about the accident that changed his life.
The 2014 Bay 101 Shooting Star field is a record-setter, drawing 718 entries by the close of registration Tuesday. The small poker room actually drew such a large field that the structure had to be altered on Day 2 in order for the tournament to fit in its five-day window. They’re playing for a lot of money, with the top six payouts as follows:
Herbie Montalbano was the unfortunate TV-table bubble, running into Suller’s flopped set of jacks at the end of the night. Before Sung’s exit in eighth came David Randall (9th), a pair of WPT title-holders in Eric Hershler (12th) and Jonathan Little (13th), and Candace Collins (14th), the last woman standing in the field. Other notables making the penultimate day included Justin Young (16th), Isaac Baron (17th), Owen Crowe (20th) and Ben Hamnett (22nd).
None of the bounties made it to Day 3, with Jeff Madsen lasting the longest until going out 45th. WSOP Main Event champions Ryan Riess (43rd) and Joe Hachem (54th) each cashed, as did ‘Ones to Watch’ Loni Harwood, Jason Koon, Andrew Lichtenberger, Matt Marafioti, David Chiu and likely Big One for One Drop candidate Chamath Palihapitiya.
Play will resume at 4 pm PT in San Jose, and by early Saturday morning another name will be added to the WPT Champions Cup.
- Mukul Pahuja – 6,470,000
- Dylan Wilkerson – 5,850,000
- Shaun Suller – 4,200,000
- James Carroll – 2,075,000
- Nam Le – 1,715,000
- Garrett Greer – 1,235,000
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