Day 3 of the Bay 101 Shooting Star Classic was a tale in two parts. With the switch to six-handed tables at the start of play Thursday, 36 players were slashed to just 10 in a matter of five hours.
They played 45 minutes without an elimination going into the dinner break, but within the first 30 minutes after they returned Quan Tran went out in 10th. From that point it took nearly four hours until another player would fall. With stacks that remained deep for some time, the chips shifted around but no one would fall. That all changed in a 22 minute whirlwind finish, however, as nine was quickly whittled down to six, including back-to-back knockouts to close out the night.
Those six make up one of the most talented final tables you’re ever likely to see on the WPT without a former champion in the mix. Isaac Baron leads with 6,715,000 after winning two big pots late in the day, and he’s followed by Taylor Paur (4,270,000), Jake Bazeley (3,920,000), Faraz Jaka (2,920,000) and Sorel Mizzi (1,920,000), with the last two representing the last two Shooting Star bounties in the field.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is amateur Ravee Mathi, who in his first tournament cash of any consequence has led himself to a WPT final table. He’ll start on the short stack with 1,470,000, but Mathi has already locked up $168,260 just by making it this far.
He’s already accomplished quite a bit in fighting through this pro-heavy field, and the list of pros to go out along the way on Day 3 alone is almost staggering. BLUFF.com WPT One to Watch Garrett Greer made it to Day 3 for the third year in a row at Bay 101, but a return date for a second straight final table in San Jose and third WPT final table overall was cut short in 28th.
Steve Brecher, the last Bay 101 champion in the field, followed in 27th place. Oliver Price (25th) and Mike McLain (24th) weren’t far behind, with WPT Champions Club members Shawn Buchanan (20th) and Chris Moorman (18th) bookended Toby Lewis’ exit in 19th, followed by Barry Hutter (17th), Ari Engel (16th), Byron Kaverman (15th) and another WPT champion in Giacomo Fundaro (14th).
Day 1B chipleader and 2014 WSOP Ladies’ Event champion Haixia Zhang, the last woman standing, was knocked out in 13th place. Ryan Julius, who reached the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic final table in December, fell short of a second final table in going out in 12th.
The post-dinner lull saw the occasional six-bet or short stacked double, but nine-handed play dragged as the stacks finally caught up to the structure, despite the six-handed tables. After those four long hours a single spark from a rivered flush allowed Baron to start accumulating chips in a hurry and kickstart a rapid race to the end of the night.
That hand saw local favorite Ron Lewis call all in with pocket kings on an ace-high flop, only to see Baron turn over a flush draw that would ultimately connect on the river to send him out in ninth. Jaka doubled through Mathi with pocket aces against pocket nines, and Mathi would soon call off the rest with 6 6 in the big blind. Eric Werner had shoved from the small blind with K 5 and a nearly identical stack, and while Werner picked up a world of outs by the turn of a J T T A board, the T river left him with less than two big blinds.
He would get a major pay bump, however, as he doubled up once and then sat and watched from the other table as Baron and Imad Allahham squared off in another huge pot. Baron opened from under the gun with a minraise and Allahham three-bet to 225,000. Baron called, they saw a flop of Q 8 6 and things slowed down as they both checked. The 6 turn brought another check from Baron, but Allahham fired 300,000 into the pot; Baron responded with a check-raise to 700,000, and Allahham three-bet all in for 1.8 million.
Baron beat him into the pot with 8 6 for a full house, and with 4 4 Allahham was drawing dead going into a K river. Werner celebrated a pay bump of over $30,000, but he’d last just one more hand after drawing the small blind at the newly combined table of seven. His all in got calls from Mizzi, Paur and Bazeley, and an A 9 4 flop saw a bet from Mizzi, a call from Bazeley and a fold from Paur. Mizzi bet again on the 2 turn, Bazeley called again, and both checked the 3 river.
Bazeley showed A 2 for two pair, Mizzi mucked and Werner did the same, falling in seventh place to set Friday’s final table. It all gets underway at 4 pm PST at Bay 101, and by the end of the night a new name will be added to the WPT Champions Cup and that person will be $1.2 million richer. For all six players, it’s reason to celebrate.
5/6 on stacked Final table at WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star! Have 2million in chips blinds are 20k/40k. 1.2M up top. LET'S GO!
— Sorel Mizzi (@sorelmizzi) March 13, 2015
Made TV final table of WPT Shooting Stars. 6 left… tomorrow we play for the glory.
— Taylor Paur (@taypaur) March 13, 2015
— Bazeman (@JakeBazeley) March 13, 2015
Gonna be up all night deciding which Js to tip toe in tomorrow pic.twitter.com/ripW5HEnPM
— Bazeman (@JakeBazeley) March 13, 2015
2015 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Classic – Final Table Chip Counts
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