Pulusani wins Shooting Star

By Arnold Warner

After a one-year hiatus, Bay 101 Casino’s annual Shooting Star tournament returned to the Bay Area March 19 to 22. While not on this year’s World Poker Tour schedule, the stars still came out for this very popular event.

There were 440 entrants for the $5,200 Main Event, creating a prize pool of $2,156,000. As usual, the stars had bounties on their heads ($2,000 each) and chip leaders at the end of Days 1A and 1B received a $5,000 bonus.

After they were done, longtime tournament director Matt Savage said, “The Shooting Star was great! We had 300 players starting plus 140 alternates. There were short days and a spectacular field of satellite winners, locals, pros, and 30 Shooting Stars.”

Sandeep Pulusani of Los Angeles and Las Vegas resident Ryan Tosoc held off those hundreds of competitors—along with eight others who made the final table—to get to a heads-up battle for the top prize of the trophy and $408,000.

The two made a deal though, with the larger portion of the remaining money going to chip leader Pulusani ($354,400) along with the title, and Tosoc officially taking second place and $336,500.

The others making the final 10 (in order of finish) were: Dan Shak, $200,055; Loni Harwood, $142,440; John Andress, $103,710; Steve Kim, $76,850; Hiroaki Harada, $57,980; Antonios Roungeris, $57,980; Jon Ko, $44,555; and James Carroll, $44,555.

Two more big tournaments were a part of the Shooting Star festivities. On Sunday, March 17 they played the $1,100 buy-in event. It attracted 354 entries for a $354,000 prize pool.

The players at this final table also agreed upon a chop. The last eight gave title, trophy, and $50,565 to Tuiofu Hunkin. The other seven were: Jimmy Zeledon, $37,395; Phuoc Nguyen, $32,015; Toko Luu, $30,250; Minh Nguyen, $30.250; Chung Ho, $27,100; Wendell Escolano, $14,715; and Henry Phan, $12,575.

The following day was the $2,100 buy-in tournament which had 102 entrants and 60 add-ons, making the prize pool $318,900. The first-place prize of $100,000 and beautiful Bay 101 trophy went to Leo Feinzaig. He was followed in the money by Shannon Shorr, $58,795; Mohsin Charania, $35,675; David Fong, $23,180; Danny Nguyen, $18,655; Adam Duong, $14,910; Frank Pezzullo, $12,675; Ron Fetsch, $11,000; Mason Sacks, $9,725; Hiroaki Harada, $8,770; David Stamm, $8,770; Bradley Miller, $8,770; and Andy Seth, $7,975.

It should be safe to say that, as successful as the series was, we should be able to count on the continued presence of the Shooting Star on the Northern California tournament schedule.