Tournament Redemption: Bay 101 $25,000 High Roller

The LAPC didn’t bring me the trophy I was looking for, so I flew up to San Jose a week after the event to try again at Bay 101.

The main event at Bay 101 is a high value tournament due to the satellites run for amateur players to enter year round.


Despite the “value”, I busted the main twice unable to win the flips I needed to build a big chip stack. I was out and disappointed. A full day of travel plus hotel expenses left me down a lot of money on the trip. Still, I didn’t give up, and set my goals even higher to the high roller event thinking it would be full of amateur business men.

Tough Lineup at the Bay 101 High Roller

Sadly, San Jose’s high roller event was a different story. The tournament was more of a sit-n-go; attracting only 10 entrants.

Of the players I recall it was:

  • Bryn Kenney
  • Dan Smith
  • Steven Silverman
  • Ben Sulsky
  • Zach Hyman
  • Paul Volpe
  • Eugene Katchalov

…all of whom are familiar faces from the high stakes tournament scene. Still, I refused to give up. I was playing this tournament!

In a stroke of good luck, I had position on Ben “Sauce” Sulsky, the loosest player at the table, and good table position relative to everyone else.

Day 1 was very long and I ground my way through only to end up with my starting stack.

Day 2 was a bit of a slow start for me, but after the first level or so, it was all me.

My bluffs were working. I picked up a physical tell on Ben and cold 4bet shoved Q7o vs his 3bet, and got the fold!

Before I knew it there were only three players left and I had the chip lead.

After a few orbits of play Zach and Ben basically decided to give me first place money and chopped up second place. We then decided to play for the trophy. I knocked out Zach in a flip situation and was heads up with Sauce. This was an awkward feeling.

My good friend Doug Polk had just finished a 15k hand challenge versus Ben (Sauce) and, with my friends victory, I felt pressure to keep the pedal to the metal.

The trophy was just inches from my grasp but nothing could prepare me for what happened next.

Ben went to the rail and said “Does anyone want to play this guy heads up for me?”


The rail murmured until an agreement was reached on who was the best player watching the tournament. An older Asian gentleman came forward and took the empty seat.

(Side note: I should also take this time to give props to Matt Savage. He was the tournament director for this tournament and probably my favorite tournament director ever. The money was settled, we were simply playing for the trophy. We paid a fair bit of rake to play this sit n go and Sauce, and I wanted me to try and play some random rail bird heads up for a trophy. It was all in good fun, props to him for being a cool dude.)

I was heads up with some random guy from San Jose, looking to claim my first trophy in six years.

Ben was drinking. Ben is also awesome.

The match started with him playing erratic, he would call from the big blind and then lead big twice on K42-A, folding out my 94 and showing his Q2. It occurred to me that the path of least resistance to beating him was to make top pair and call down.

It happened in short time. I raised Q8s from the button, he 3bet the BB, I called. 866r flop (jackpot).

He bets, I call. Turn J (while this isn’t my favorite turn we are going with this one, if he can beat me he is welcome to my chips). He bets, I call. River 4, he jams, I put it in. He tables QTo for queen high and I win with my pair of 8s!!!


Felt really good to have success after bricking out on my first 4 entries.

One of the funny thing about poker is that oftentimes the people that succeed are the ones that

Were fortunate early and it kept them trying and coming back for one reason or another.  

Busting four, ten, or even twenty tournaments in a row before cashing isn’t really unreasonable. Upon reflecting on this win it was a good reminder, I was excited to keep playing, but not keen to keep not cashing.

It is important to remember in poker, especially tournaments, that you are waging a war. Each entry is a small battle, the war is won over time.

There isn’t really much of a substitute to winning a poker tournament; it is an invigorating feeling.

I won this 10 person tournament, posted that picture on facebook, and got 75 likes and another 15-20 text messages of congratulations. Plus my TROPHY!

This is a sharp contrast to the high stakes online environment vs the toughest players in the world where I wouldn’t receive so much as a text message encouraging me or congratulating me on my success.

Now more than ever I was energized and excited to play more Live Tournaments. With the World Series of Poker right around the corner, I was ready to go for a big summer of poker.

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Home > Tournament Redemption: Bay 101 $25,000 High Roller
Home > Tournament Redemption: Bay 101 $25,000 High Roller
About the Author
Ryan Fee

Ryan Fee

I'm a professional poker player and one of the pros here on

I'm a WSOP Bracelet winner, LAPT (Latin American Poker Tour) tournament winner and a multi-million dollar winner of live & online tournaments.

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