WPT Winner

James Carroll tops record setting field at 2014 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star

James Carroll is no stranger to the poker world or to winning poker tournaments. He came into the 2014 World Poker Tour (“WPT”) Bay 101 Shooting Star with nearly a million dollars in live tournament winnings including an impressive six victories. His biggest live cash, however, was just a bit north of $100K. Online was much the same story as Carroll under the screen name Croll103 had accumulated nearly three million dollars in tournament winnings but his biggest cash was only $85K. Now Carroll can add his name to the elite list of players who have won over a million dollars in a tournament after his impressive victory earlier yesterday in the Bay 101 Shooting Star tournament. Topping a final table that included Makul Pahuja and Nam Le, Carroll added a staggering sum of $1,256,550 to his bankroll.

The previous record of 643 entrants set in the 2013 tournament was easily eclipsed as there were a total of 718 entrants which created a prize pool of $5,133,700. There were plenty of $2,500 “Shooting Star” bounties available and among those that would hit the rail before final table action began were Mike Sexton, Tony Dunst, Jay Farber, Mike Matusow, Scotty Nguyen, Jennifer Tilly, Daniel Negreanue, JC Tran, Bruce Buffer, Chris Moorman, Vanessa Selbst, Dan Shak and Phil Hellmuth.

The top 72 would get paid and among those making the money were David Chiu (63rd), Joe Hachem (54th), Darren Elias (47th), Jeff Madsen (45th), Ryan Riess (43rd), Isaac Baron (17th), Candace Collins (14th), and Steve Sung who would finish in 8th place. Final table action started with the following lineup and chip count:

Seat 1: Nam Le 1.715 million
Seat 2: Garrett Greer  1.235 million
Seat 3: Shaun Suller 4.2 million
Seat 4: Dylan Wilkerson 5.85 million
Seat 5: James Carroll 2.075 million
Seat 6: Mukul Pahuja 6.47 million

It would take 27 hands before we would lose our first player. Garrett Greer came into the final table action as the shortest stack and was still surviving when with the blinds at 30K/60K with a 10K ante, he made a min-raise to 120K from the cutoff and was re-raised by the small blind, Dylan Wilkerson, to 305K. Garrett moved all in for 1.48 million and was called by Dylan. Wilkerson held pocket 9’s which was one notch better than the pocket 8’s that Greer had. There was no miracle for Garrett and he would have to settle for his first televised final table and $174,080. Wilkerson in the meantime was comfortably in the chip lead with 8.5 million which was nearly 2 million better than what Makul Pahuja was holding.

Nam Le had won this event nearly a decade ago and was looking to become a repeat winner. Down to just 565K in chips and with the blinds at 40K/80K with a 10K ante, Le moved all in from the cutoff with As-3d and was called by James Carroll from the big blind with pocket 5’s. Carroll’s pair would hold up and Le would finish in 5th place good for $223,810.

The biggest pot at the time of the final table would take place when Shaun Suller would make a 200K min-raise from under the gun and would call Dylan Wilkerson’s 475K button re-raise. The flop came Ks-9h-5s and Suller would check-raise Wilkerson’s 400K continuation bet to an even million. Wilkerson would tank for over a minute before announcing he was all in. Suller’s chips could not hit the pot any quicker as he called and tabled pocket 9’s for a flopped set. He was way ahead as all Wilkerson had was bottom pair with Ad-5d. Nothing would change on the turn or river and Suller would take the chip lead with nearly 6.5 million in chips while Wilkerson was now the short stack with 4.2 million.

The chips would go back and forth between the remaining four players over the course of the next 50 or so hands with James Carroll winning a number of small to medium sized pots to take over the chip lead. He would continue to exert pressure and build on that chip lead and after 130 hands he had 9.2 million in chips, Makul Pahuja 6.5 million, Dylan Wilkerson 3.1 million and Shaun Suller 2.7 million. Suller would double up against Pahuja in a blind vs blind all in confrontation when Makul moved all in from the small blind with Td-9h and Suller made the call for his tournament life with pocket deuces. The 2’s would hold and Suller was now sitting with five million in chips while Pahuja was down to less than four million. Pahuja’s luck would continue to be bad as he would call an all in from Dylan Wilkerson holding Ac-Kc and would lose to Wilkerson’s measly Ah-7c when a 7 fell on the river. That loss knocked Makul to less than a million in chips and despite doubling up one time, he would be our next player eliminated when he would again get extremely unlucky. This time he held Ah-Qd and was dominating Wilkerson’s Qc-Ts. Makul would flop a pair of Aces but unfortunately for him the flop was As-Kd-Js to give Wilkerson a Broadway straight. Pahuja would take home $320,800 for his 4th place finish.

The chip counts starting three handed play were fairly even as Wilkerson and Suller each held 6.3 million and Carroll had the chip lead with 8.9 million. A huge pot would then take place that would ultimately determine the winner of the tournament. With the board reading Kc-4d-2s-Jc-Qs, Suller and Carroll got into a raising battle that saw both players all in. Suller held Qd-Js for two pair but Carroll had rivered a straight with his Ah-Ts. Shaun would take some comfort in knowing that he was collecting a nearly half a million dollars ($477,470) for his 3rd place finish. Carroll meanwhile had 12.5 million chips with Wilkerson holding 9.1 million.

Wilkerson would take the chip lead at one point during heads up play but Carroll quickly changed that over the course of a few hands winning some good sized pots against his counterpart. He continued to build momentum until he held a nearly 2:1 chip lead on the tournament’s final hand. With the blinds at 125K/250K with a 25K ante, Wilkerson made a 500K raise and was called by Carroll. The flop came 9c-4h-2s and Carroll check-raised Wilkerson’s 500K bet to 1.3 million which Wilkerson called. The turn was the 2c and Carroll checked which prompted Wilkerson to move all in for just over four million in chips. After getting an exact count, Carroll decided to make the call with 6s-4d for 2nd pair and it was a good call as Wilkerson had Ah-5c. Any Ace, 5, or 3 would keep Wilkerson alive but the river was the Qh and Dylan finished in 2nd place for a tidy sum of $728,650.

Carroll in the meantime found that elusive seven figure score ($1,256,500) and notched his name in the WPT history books with his win over a record setting, and very tough, field.





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