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Found 5 results

  1. [caption width="640"] The Bay 101 Shooting Star event is one of the most unique WPT events on the schedule[/caption] Some of the biggest stars in poker - most of them in fact - are on their way to San Jose, California to play in one of the longest-running World Poker Tour events. This isn’t just some standard WPT event, though. The WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star is the closest thing poker has to an all-star game. That is, if any basketball player that wanted to could just show up and play in the NBA all-star game or if every beer league hockey player could pull a John Scott and play in the NHL all-star game. The Shooting Star concept is simple. A group of players, dubbed the “Shooting Stars”, are bounties in the $7,500 buy-in event and busting one of them is worth $2,500 to whomever eliminates them. This year’s group of "Shooting Stars" includes WSOP Main Event champ Joe McKeehen, Anthony Zinno, Kelly Minkin, Mike Leah and Erik Seidel. The man at the center of choosing the Shooting Stars each year is WPT Executive Tour Director Matt Savage. While his highest profile gig is with WPT, he’s been the Bay 101 Tournament Director for 13 years. With some 50 "Stars" each year, selecting the players can be a little bit of a challenge - especially with players campaigning for spots. “It usually starts sometime around November going into December. And then when the calendar turns to the next year, people are texting me and emailing me and tweeting me with requests that they want to be a part of the shooting star program,” said Savage. “It’s strange because some people are a little more active about it, some people that you might not expect are pretty much in my year round about why they’re not a shooting star.” Due to his role with WPT, Savage is as in tune with the poker industry as anybody, and that makes putting together a shortlist of possible Shooting Stars easy. Throughout the year, he’s on the road talking to players, talking to fans to determine who should make the final cut. “I do polls and stuff like that on Twitter and TwoPlusTwo to figure out who they think belongs and who doesn’t, just to get the talk going, and it always seems to work,” said Savage. “People always want to bring it up and complain who got snubbed and who got in and stuff like that. So it makes it interesting.” Players with great results - even great recent results - aren’t necessarily guaranteed to get an invite. Being a Shooting Star has more to do with being a superstar in the eyes of fans than any ranking system could ever handle. “We have such good fans (at Bay 101) that I want it to be people that, if you were a fan of poker, you’d want to come and see. So, in addition to those names, you get a lot of the old timers and the bigger names,” said Savage. “Then you have the new guys; the young up-and-coming stars and the WSOP Champion. I try to also include people that really support the WPT and Bay 101. It’s kind of a mixture of all of those things, but for the most part it’s a popularity contest really. Savage begins sending out invitations early in the year and always leaves a few spots open right up until the week before the tournament. But not every player who is asked to be a Shooting Star is ready to accept the challenge. Savage gets a few players each year that turn down the invite. “I do get people that reject it from time to time because some of them don’t actually want the pressure of having the shooting star on them. They feel like they play better if it’s not,” said Savage. “Like Nam Le, he’s turned it down, Ted Forrest at one point turned it down. He thought he’d have a better chance by not having it.” Though Le and Forrest are among a handful of players who have said “no thanks” to the Shooting Star honor, Savage says there’s far more players clamoring for spots than those who aren’t interested. “The opposite is far and away much more people saying they want to be a Shooting Star. They want to be recognized, they want to have that and sometimes they’re even saying, ‘Why am I not a shooting star? I’ve done this or that’. There’s a lot of those guys too,” said Savage. Being a bounty does have some perks. Each Shooting Star is given $1,000 for each time they enter (all players are allowed one re-entry) as well as some Bay 101 or WPT merchandise. There is a bit of a strategic advantage too. While you’re likely going to be the target of other players at your table, you’re assured that no other Shooting Stars will be at your starting table. The number of poker superstars that come out for the event, combined with the fact that this is the longest-running WPT event in Northern California, leads to a very different atmosphere from an event in Las Vegas or even Los Angeles. From Day 1 of the tournament, the rail is four or five deep with poker fans snapping pictures of Antonio Esfandiari, Daniel Negreanu or Phil Ivey. Fans eagerly wait for breaks to ask a player for an autograph or a selfie. Savage admits that the players who get into it love it. “You get a guy like Antonio, Phil Laak, Daniel, they never miss the tournament because I think they really like that kinda thing. It’s kinda cool, when they walk in there are people standing there with photographs and autographs cards,” said Savage. “I think in some respect there was a point in poker where they may have not liked that as much, but I think over time they’ve realized it’s not going to be around forever. That’s kind of something that comes and goes so I think that those guys like that stuff, the fandom.” While the notoriety is nice and the $1,000 comes in handy, the pros also love coming to the Bay 101 event because it’s full of satellite qualifiers. Savage estimates that each year they qualify between 250 and 300 players via satellites at the host property. “Our satellite program is the best in the country. There’s not a place in the country where you could run satellites almost three months in advance and get 300 players to come in and play. And we were able to do that at Bay 101. You couldn’t even do that for the World Series of Poker Main Event to be honest. So I think people really look forward to that event on the calendar, for those guys, because it’s more of a locals' event,” said Savage. [caption width="640"] Fans pack the Bay 101 casino in San Jose every year to get a glimpse of their poker heroes[/caption] Over the years, Savage feels like he’s had every pro poker player he’s ever wanted as a Shooting Star. Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Tom Dwan, Phil Hellmuth, Vanessa Selbst, Chris Moorman and Doyle Brunson have all been part of the program. There is, however, one potential Shooting Star that has eluded him. “I always want to get the celebrities to come out and play. So, I’ve always wished that Tobey Maguire would come out and play to be honest,” said Savage. “Because I thought not only is (Maguire) a good actor, he is also a really good poker player and a lot of people don’t know that he’s one of the biggest winning players in the game.” The tournament also has a unique structure. The chip leaders at the end of Day 1A and 1B are given $10,000 and when there are just 36 players left, the tournament goes six-handed until it finishes.
  2. [caption width="320" align="alignleft"] Local businessman Ian Kalman wants a deep run in the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star event this week.(HPT photo)[/caption] When the World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star event gets underway this week in San Jose, California, Ian Kalman will be in the field taking on some of the biggest names in the game. “I love the Shooting Star tournament. It’s nice that it’s local and easy to get too. I mean, I don’t have to take a flight to play in it – so that’s nice,” said Kalman. The Shooting Star event is a unique one on the WPT. A total of 54 top pros are invited to be ‘Shooting Stars’ and players who send one of them to the rail earn $2,500 and an autographed shirt from that player. Almost every table on Day 1 has a ‘Shooting Star’, meaning amateur players are guaranteed to get the chance to play with a top pro. Kalman has played the event before. In 2005 he finished 29th and won $25,000, but he also managed to get himself one of those highly coveted bounties and that’s the story he tells about that tournament. “It was $5,000 to knock out a pro. I knocked out 1983 WSOP Main Event Champion Tom McEvoy and he hasn’t talked to me since,” said Kalman, who has been playing satellites in attempt to get into this year’s event. “But to be fair, he doesn’t know who I am, so there’s no real reason for us to talk.” All joking aside, the San Francisco business owner and recreational poker player isn’t at all intimidated at all by having to play against top competition. It’s something he’s used to. In 2005, Kalman and his business partner Sean Farrell started a greeting card company, Bald Guy Greetings, and he’s been competing alongside some of the bigger names in that industry since. “We started Bald Guy Greetings for fun and had no idea that we’d be taking on Hallmark. I didn’t know what would come of it and I didn’t think Hallmark would even know who we were,” said Kalman. “ I should be clear though -- we’re not taking on Hallmark. They’ve already won.” The idea behind the company isn’t to one day be Hallmark. Kalman knows his products are unique in the marketplace and not the same old birthday or anniversary cards you’ll find in chain stores across the country. He’d much rather focus on continuing to find smaller stores to get the products in. [caption width="640"] An example of the unique style of greeting card Kalman's company, Bald Guy Greetings, makes.[/caption] “We thought that we were filling a void in the greeting card industry and people would be beating down our door. But it turns out, a lot of storeowners are very happy selling watered-down greeting cards,” said Kalman. “Our dream is to be in the best card stores in every city. The stores that take pride in what they carry. Those are the stores that gave us a chance in the beginning and we will forever be thankful to them for that.” Poker is a hobby for Kalman, but one that he’s enjoyed some success with. Just over four months ago, Kalman made the final table of the Heartland Poker Tour event at Thunder Valley Casino just outside of Sacramento. Kalman, busted in ninth place, earning $21,758 – his third largest lifetime score. His biggest score came in 2006 when he lived the dream of every amateur player with a deep run in the World Series of Poker Main Event. Finishing in 167th place in the year Jamie Gold won, Kalman walked away with $47,006. While a six-figure score in the Bay 101 event this week would be fantastic for Kalman, he wouldn’t have to or even want to invest any of that money into the business. “Bald Guy Greetings is doing well and we really don’t have a need for more capital. Investors and people that just love the brand have approached us and they’re interested in investing. But for now, we like that it’s just me and Sean making all the decisions,” said Kalman. Kalman has imagined what it would be like to be the last player standing, posing for winner’s shots with Mike Sexton, Vince van Patten and the Hublot watch, but even that dream isn’t as exciting as the opportunity to turn his company into a national brand. “Poker tournaments are exciting and of course, I always want to win, but Bald Guy Greetings is something that Sean and I started from scratch and that’s exciting.”
  3. One might think that with the holidays on the horizon December would be a quiet month of people spending time with their family. Not for the world of poker. December 2018 was full of record-breaking tournaments and huge headlines. Here are some of the names that made the news in December. Dan Smith Makes A Difference For the past five years, regular high-roller Dan Smith has been collecting donations for various charities at Christmas time. This year, Smith and his collaborators amassed $1.29M for the Double Up Drive and that they would use to match donations to spread to 10 carefully cultivated charities. They nearly got that amount in a single day when DFS champion Tom Crowley promised to give 50% of any winnings he might make from the DraftKings World Championship Final. Crowley, known as ‘ChipotleAddict’, went on to win the event for $2 million and over the weekend hauled in a total of $2.254 - half of which was donated to the Double Up Drive. The donation was ‘surreal’ but Smith wants to make sure people knew that donations of any size are welcome. “I want to clarify that any amount makes a difference,” Smith told PocketFives. “People in Uganda are living off 65 cents a day, an amount we don’t even consider at all.” READ: Dan Smith Charity Drive Gets “Surreal” $1.1M Donation via DFS Champ Isaac Haxton Wins Super High Roller Bowl V The fifth edition of the $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl saw Isaac Haxton best the field of 36 elite players to earn a career-high cash of $3.672 million dollars. “This is easily the best tournament result I’ve ever had and it’s an event I love. It feels great to win here at ARIA. This is the highlight of my tournament career, no doubt,” said Haxton after the win. The final table was replete with talent including Poker Masters champion Ali Imsirovic, Igor Kurganov, Adrian Mateos, Talal Shakerchi, Stephen Chidwick, and eventual runner-up Alex Foxen. Foxen took home a career-best $2.1 million for his second-place finish. This capped off an amazing year that saw him earn 12 cashes of six-figures or better as well as rise to become the #1-ranked player on the GPI. READ: Isaac Haxton Wins Super High Roller Bowl for $3.672 Million READ: Alex Foxen’s Drive Takes Him to the Super High Roller Bowl The World Series of Poker Releases 2019 Dates Just before Christmas the World Series of Poker delivered players an early present by announcing a partial schedule of the 2019 WSOP. This summer will be the 50th anniversary for the longest-running tournament series and to help commemorate the occasion the WSOP is planning a number of special events for the players. The schedule included the announcement of the ‘Big 50’, a $500 buy-in tournament with a $5 million guaranteed prize pool and a $1 million guarantee for first place. Additionally, in an extra effort to “make the 2019 WSOP a better value all-around” many of the marquee events of the summer have an increased starting stack. This includes the WSOP Main Event which is increasing their starting stack to 60,000. READ: WSOP Releases 2019 Dates, New ‘Big 50’ Event - $500 Buy-in, $5M GTD Dylan Linde Wins WPT Five Diamond for $1.6 Million The crypto crash of 2018 has some in the industry fearing that the numbers for the World Poker Tour’s highlight event, the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic, might see a dip in registration. However, just the opposite happened as players flocked to the Bellagio in record-setting numbers. The event attracted 1001 runners and generated a prize pool of $9.7 million. In the end, longtime poker pro Dylan ‘ImaLucSac’ Linde (who re-entered five times in the event) dominated a stacked final table that included Andrew Lichtenberger, Ping Liu, Lisa Hamilton, Barry Hutter and runner-up Milos Skrbic. Linde won a career-high $1.6 million and earned the title of WPT Champion. READ: Dylan Line Wins Record-Shattering WPT Five Diamond Title for $1.6 Million Manuel ‘Sheparentao’ Ruvio, Pim ‘ForMatherRussia’ De Goede Chop 2018 partypoker MILLIONS Online. partypoker’s 2018 $20M GTD MILLIONS Online did not disappoint. The incredible online tournament surpassed its posted guarantee and set the record for the largest single online tournament in history with players vying for a first place prize of over $2.6M. In the end, after one hand of heads-up play, Manuel ‘Sheparentao’ Ruvio and PocketFiver Pim ‘ForMatherRussia’ De Goede settled on a lightning-fast chop that awarded both players over $2.3M. Rubio, technically, earned the victory, taking home $20K more than De Goede and now owns the record for the single largest online payday in history. READ: Manuel ‘Sheparentao’ Ruvio and Pim ‘ForMatherRussia’ De Goede Chop partypoker MILLIONS Online A December To Remember December was just one of those month’s where huge news seemed to break every day. Here are some of the other must-read major headlines in December. Michigan opens its doors to online poker. READ: Michigan Becomes Fifth State to Regulate Online Poker The poker world loses a legend in the passing of Thor Hansen. READ: Thor Hansen Passes Away at 71 The pitch black bathroom bet comes to an abrupt end. READ: The $100K Bathroom Prop Ends Early; Alati, Young Agree on $62K Buyout Bay 101’s Shooting Star returns without the WPT behind it. READ: After a Year Away, Bay 101 Shooting Star Returns With New Look
  4. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. This week's episode of The Fives has Lance and Donnie going over the details from Darren Elias' home robbery and finally give some good news about the PokerStars Sunday Million field. They also talk about the new #1-ranked online poker player in the world, Roman Romanovsky and recap the action from the partypoker MILLIONS South America and the Bay 101 Shooting Star event. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  5. Prior to last year, the Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event was a staple of the World Poker Tour schedule. After a one-year hiatus, the Shooting Star returned to the poker calendar this week, just without the WPT TV cameras in tow. That didn't prevent the final table from being a star-studded affair, though. Sandeep Pulusani beat out a final table that included two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Loni Harwood, WPT Five Diamond winner Ryan Tosoc and Super High Roller regular Dan Shak to win $354,400 and the third live title of his career. Only five players remained at the start of the final day of play Friday, with Harwood on top with 34.4% of the chips in play. Early action wasn't kind to Harwood as she lost 25% of her chips to Tosoc and then doubled up Pulusani. She got a chunk of those chips back through John Andress before the Pennsylvania-based poker pro met his demise. Andress was down to 80,000 in the big blind. With the tournament using the Big Blind Ante format, Andress was all in for 80,000 before seeing a card. Shak called the 40,000 from the button and Tosoc completed from the small blind. The flop came [poker card="ad"][poker card="qh"][poker card="jc"] and Tosoc checked. Shak bet 50,000, forcing Tosoc to fold, and tabled [poker card="qd"][poker card="2d"]. Andress turned over [poker card="7d"][poker card="2s"]. The turn was the [poker card="4s"] to officially end Andress' run in fifth place. The river was the [poker card="5s"]. Harwood managed to hang around another 90 minutes before losing a flip in heartbreaking fashion. Tosoc raised to 125,000 from the button before Harwood moved all in for just over 1,000,000 from the big blind. Tosoc called and turned over [poker card="8d"][poker card="8c"] while Harwood showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="qd"]. The [poker card="ts"][poker card="9c"][poker card="6s"] flop kept Tosoc ahead. The [poker card="ks"] turn, however, gave Harwood top pair but the [poker card="7c"] river filled Tosoc's straight and eliminated Harwood in fourth place. It took nearly an hour for the next elimination to occur. Shak raised to 150,000 from the button, Tosoc called from the small blind and Pulusani folded his big. Tosoc checked after the flop came [poker card="ks"][poker card="qh"][poker card="5h"] and Shak continued for 200,000. Tosoc raised to 725,000 and then called when Shak moved all in for 3,760,000. Tosoc tabled [poker card="kd"][poker card="qs"] for top two pair while Shak showd [poker card="kh"][poker card="jh"] for top pair with a flush draw. Neither the [poker card="9d"] turn or [poker card="jd"] river were of any help for Shak and he was out in third place. Tosoc started heads up play with a 2.5-1 chip lead over Pulusani and it took just over 15 minutes for the final two players to agree to a deal. Pulusani was guaranteed $304,300 and Tosoc locked up $336,500 with an additional $50,100 for the eventual champion. It took another two hours before Pulusani finished off his comeback. Tosoc raised to 300,000 from the button, Pulusani re-raised to 900,000 and Tosoc announced he was all in and Pulusani called. Tosoc showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="9s"] while Pulusani was well ahead with [poker card="ac"][poker card="as"]. The board ran out [poker card="ah"][poker card="qh"][poker card="5s"][2][poker card="8c"] to give Pulusani top set and eliminate Tosoc. The $354,400 score for Pulusani is the second six-figure score of his career and his first since he won a $3,000 NLHE event at the 2013 WSOP for $592,684. Despite not being a part of the WPT, the Shooting Star still drew 440 players for a total prize pool of $2,156,000. Final Table Payouts Sandeep Pulusani - $354,400* Ryan Tosoc - $336,500* Dan Shak - $200,055 Loni Harwood - $142,440 John Andress - $103,710 Steve Kim - $76,850 Hiroaki Harada - $57,980 Antonios Roungeris - $57,980 John Ko - $44,555
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