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Coronavirus Concerns Lead To Ten-Way Chop In Bay 101 Shooting Star Poker Tournament

Craig Varnell Declared The Champion After The Final Ten Struck An ICM-Based Deal Due To Circumstances Related To The COVID-19 Pandemic


The 2020 running of the Bay 101 Shooting Star $5,200 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event drew 290 entries, building a $1,331,000 prize pool despite the growing concerns around the country regarding the spread of COVID-19. The field was narrowed down to stacked final ten that were set to return on Friday, March 13 to play down to a winner. Before play resumed, though, the remaining players negotiated a ten-way chop of the remaining prize pool based on ICM numbers. The Casino’s live bloggers covering the event explained that the decision was “due to circumstances surrounding the Coronavirus.”

World Poker Tour champion and World Series of Poker bracelet winner Craig Varnell held the chip lead at the time the deal was made, and was awarded the largest payout of $159,710 and the title. The score brought his career earnings to $2,643,430.

Two-time WSOP bracelet winner Kristen Bicknell was second in chips when the deal was made, and was awarded $141,520 as the second-place finisher in the final results listings. The cash was enough to see Bicknell surpass $5 million in career live tournament earnings, making her only the third female player to ever do so behind Vanessa Selbst and Kathy Liebert. After the deal was made, she took to Twitter to note how tough the situation was to assess.

Bicknell also Tweeted that it was, “Unfortunate to not play this out, I hope all are safe and well! Thanks to [Bay 101 Casino] and [Tournament Director Matt Savage] for hosting another great event and handling this the best that they could.”

There were plenty of other highly accomplished players who were involved in the deal, including WPT and WSOP winner Tyler Patterson, who took home $113,860 for fourth place. Patterson described the result as a “Covid-19 induced ICM chop” on Twitter.

Swedish poker pro Michael Tureniec was awarded $91,180 as the sixth-place finisher, while three-time WPT champion and two-time bracelet winner Anthony Zinno cashed for $55,600 as the eighth-place finisher. Bracelet winner and two-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Anthony Spinella earned $50,000 for ninth place, while Lexy Gavin earned her largest career cash of $41,060 for tenth place.

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded to the final ten:

Rank Player Chips POY Points
1 Craig Varnell $159,710 912
2 Kristen Bicknell $141,520 760
3 Navin Mohan $132,780 608
4 Tyler Patterson $113,860 456
5 Anshul Kulshrestha $101,430 380
6 Michael Tureniec $91,180 304
7 John Andress $88,800 228
9 Anthony Zinno $55,600 152
9 Anthony Spinella $50,000 76
10 Alexis Gavin $41,060 0

Winner photo via Bay 101 News’s tournament blog.