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Final Table Set at WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star

Just Six Remain to Battle for $1 Million First Place Prize

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Chip Leader Steven KellyThe 2011 World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star $10,000 no-limit hold’em main event brought back 24 players on Thursday for Day 3, and when play was over just six remained to fight on at the final table on Friday.

The remaining players, who outlasted a field of 415 to play shorthanded for a first place prize of $1 million, are an elite contingent of poker pros.

Here are the survivors’ seat positions and chip counts:

Seat 1: Mike Matusow –- 2,173,000
Seat 2: Mike Sexton –- 363,000
Seat 3: Alan Sternberg –- 3,701,000
Seat 4: Vivek Rajkumar –- 1,616,000
Seat 5: Steven Kelly -– 4,169,000
Seat 6: Casey McCarrel -– 430,000

Rajkumar is looking to avenge a second place finish at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic just two weeks ago. On Friday, the Seattle native could record a second career win in a WPT event, which would put him in the top 10 on the tour’s all-time money list. Rajkumar’s biggest career score came at the 2008 WPT Borgota Poker Open for $1.4 million.

Matusow, who enters the final table in third chip position, lost a $2 million weight loss prop bet to friend and fellow high stakes pro Ted Forrest this past summer. A win could help him recoup some of the money lost to Forrest.

Sexton, who has likely witnessed more WPT final tables than anyone in poker, will be missing from his usual spot in the commentary booth on Friday in an effort to capture his first WPT title.

The final table is rounded out by McCarrel, Sternberg, and Kelly who is the chip leader. Kelly will have plenty to work with, as his stack will consist of 209 big blinds when action resumes with blinds at 10,000-20,000 with a 3,000 ante.

Sternberg built his massive stack in a cooler situation against eventual ninth place finisher Andrew Weisner. On a flop of 8Club Suit 7Diamond Suit 4Spade Suit, Sternberg checked, Weisner bet 100,000, and Sternberg called. The turn brought the QDiamond Suit, and Sternberg checked. Weisner fired 200,000, and Sternberg raised to 475,000.

Weisner shipped his entire remaining stack of 1,236,000 into the middle, and Sternberg quickly called, tabling the QClub Suit QHeart Suit for top set. Weisner was drawing dead with the 8Heart Suit 7Heart Suit, and Sternberg jumped to second in chips with 3.4 million after winning the tournament’s largest pot thus far.

Mike Matusow

Matusow was another player who took advantage of a nice turn card to win a large pot on Day 3.

On a flop of ASpade Suit QHeart Suit 8Heart Suit, Chris Trapani moved all in from the button for 436,000 with the ADiamond Suit 8Diamond Suit, and Mike Matusow called from the big blind with the inferior AClub Suit KHeart Suit.

Fortunately for Matusow, the QSpade Suit fell on the turn, and he was in command of the hand. The river bricked for Trapani, and he was gone from the tournament in 12th.

Matusow was the one who made the knockout of Tyler “puffinmypurp” Reiman in seventh place, to send the tournament to the official final table. Despite more than $7 million in career tournament earnings, the Full Tilt pro has never won a WPT event. That all could change as Matusow returns on Friday with more than 100 big blinds.

Below is a complete list of Day 3 Eliminations:

7. Tyler Reiman — $73,900
8. Danny Nguyen — $73,900
9. Andrew Weisner — $48,100
10. Joris Springael — $48,100
11. Ben Hamnett — $37,000
12. Chris Trapani — $37,000
13. Kevin MacPhee — $29,500
14. Brian Schmidt — $29,500
15. Kathy Liebert — $29,500
16. Noah Lathrop — $29,500
17. Mark Dickstein — $29,500
18. Galen Hall — $29,500
19. Zach Clark — $25,800
20. Eric Blair — $25,800
21. Brandon Crawford — $25,800
22. Dan Smith — $25,800
23. Eddie Genovese — $25,800
24. Brian Park — $25,800

Check back at CardPlayer.com Friday for a recap of the final table!