Shooting Star @ Bay 101, San Jose

OK, I admit it. I like Bay 101, I like the Shooting Star tournament format and so do most of the other media.
The Shooting Star tournament is one of the first events with a “non-traditional” format and perhaps the most successful of these. The 11th Annual Shooting Star main event began today (Monday March 12th). What makes this event so unique is the Shooting Star bounty format, which is anything but just another gimmick.

The Shooting Star is limited to 500 players with 250 players taking to the felt on each of the two Day Ones. Twenty-five tables at the Bay 101 are ten seated but each table will has a designated “Star” in seat five. The Stars are fifty of the biggest professional players (25 each day), each with a cool $5,000 bounty on their head. When a Shooting Star goes down during this event, the floor staff comes to the table with a Bay 101 Shooting Star T-Shirt that reads: “I knocked out (Professional Player’s Name) at the Bay 101 2007 Shooting Star.” The shirt has a picture of the Star and they sign it for you at the table. A very cool, one-of-a-kind prize. Then the floor counts out fifty one hundred dollar bills right at the table. The bounty is paid immediately in cash!

Now mind you these stars are not exactly easy marks. Take a look at the some Shooting Stars from Day One this year:

Josh Arieh
Miami John Cernuto
Hoyt Corkins
Allen Cunningham
Freddy Deeb
Liz Lieu
Eli Elezra
John Hennigan
Kenna James
Nam Le
Tuan Le
Kathy Liebert
Tom McEvoy
Daniel Negreanu
Scotty Nguyen
Gavin Smith
J.C. Tran
Cyndy Violette
JJ Liu
David Williams
Robert Williamson III

Of course, with that list of “Stars”, tables are going to break before the “Star” is eliminated so slowly the number of bounties at the remaining tables will go up from one to two and even to three. This happened almost immediately today when Liz Lieu was moved to the same table with Eli Elezra and then Nam Le was moved onto another table with Alan Cunningham.

Should one of the Shooting Stars win the event the $5,000 bounty is added to their 1st place prize, which last year was won by Nam Le for a very cool $1,172,800. This year the first place prize is capped at $1,000,000 plus a $25,500 seat in the World Poker Tour Championship being played April 21st to 25th at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

The Bay 101 Shooting Star is a very unique tournament and it offers some good viewing for the railbirds. If you are in the San Jose area, you might want to check out the Star-studded first two days. The cards are in the air each day at 11:15 AM and they will play ten one hour rounds each day. This year the tournament structure has been adjusted to a 20,000 chip starting stack, so the tournament is now twice as deep, which should provide for even more “Star Sightings” throughout the first two days.

If you can only make it for one day, here is a partial Shooting Star list for Day Two:

Patrik Antonius
T.J. Cloutier
Paul Darden
Scott Fischman
Layne Flack
Chau Giang
Barry Greenstein
Gus Hansen
Chip Jett
John Juanda
Phil Laak
Erick Lindgren
Jeff Madsen
Isabelle Mercier
Mike Mizrachi
Carlos Mortensen
Chip Reese
Erik Seidel
Jennifer Harman-Traniello
Jennifer Tilly
Mimi Tran
Amir Vahedi
-also confirmed but not Shooting Stars
Johnny Chan
John Phan
Evelyn Ng
Jason Strasser
Greg Mueller
Kevin O’Donnell
Nenad Medic
Alan Goering
Gabe Thaler
Richard Tatalovich
Jason Stern
Noah Jefferson
Michael Binger
Randy Gill
Allen Kessler
Shane Schleger
Anahit Galajian
Chad Brown
Vanessa Rousso