Maria Ho Just Misses First WPT Title; Schillhabel Wins $1.3m
She fell just short, though, and it was unheralded German Stefan Schillhabel who took down his first major poker title and $1.29 million in prize money.
First Female WPT Champ Has to Wait
The WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event played out last week at the Bay 101 Casino in San Jose, CA. The $7,500 Main Event drew a solid field of 753 players and had a prize pool of over $5.1 million.
The Bay 101 Shooting Star is a unique event on the World Poker Tour as it is a bounty event. Selected players known as “Shooting Stars” are assigned a bounty and players get $2,500 for knocking one out.
Heading into the final table on Friday,Ho had a chance to become the first female champion in the history of the World Poker Tour. She was also the last Shooting Star left in the event and would have won her own bounty had she gone on to win.
Ho started the final table with the second-shortest stack and was facing a stiff challenge against pros Griffin Paul, Andjelko Andrejevic and Adam Geyer.
The chip leader heading into the final table was the player with the least amount of experience. Stefan Schillhabel was the only player not listed as a pro at this final and the only player with less than $1 million in career earnings.
The German “student” had $464,188 in earnings prior to this event.
Ho had plenty of chips to start the final table but ran into pocket aces twice to ultimately finish in sixth place. Her final hand saw her shove with Ah-Kh into the rockets of Adam Geyer.
Ho’s sixth place finish was good for $179,930. This was her largest score since 2013.
Schillhabel Defeats Geyer to Take First WPT Title
Heads-up play started with both players starting nearly dead even with over 11 million chips each. The pair battled back and forth for a while but Schillhabel was able to pull out to a huge lead.
Geyer was down to just 10 big blinds when he shoved with Kd-9s. Schillhabel decided to call with 8s-7d, leaving Geyer in great shape to double.
Geyer seemed to have a lock on the hand when the flop fell Ks-10c-3c, leaving Schillhabel needing running cards for a straight or trips to win.
Amazingly, the turn fell the 8h and river the 8c to give Schillhabel trip eights and his first major poker title. Geyer earned $752,800 for his runner-up finish, the largest of his poker career.
Schillhabel earned $1.29 million and a WPT bracelet for his victory. Prior to this victory his largest score was last year when he finished 4th in the EPT Malta Main Event for over $281,000.