3/14/10 – Pitting his poker skills against a field of 332 other entrants, many of them big names in the game, US Air Force Academy graduate McLean Karr (28) triumphed in the World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star tourney in San Jose this weekend. Karr had secured a seat in the $5 000 buy-in event through a $1 200 satellite competition. Qualify for the next World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star tourney now
 
To make the big payday Karr had to survive a field that included Phil Hellmuth, Dave Williams, Annie Duke, Matt Keikoan, Eli Elezra, Erik Seidel, Erick Lindgren, Joe Sebok, Sorel Mizzi, John Phan, Eugene Katchalov, Tim McDermott, Antonio Esfandiari, Joe Hachem, Tom Marchese, Men Nguyen, Greg Mueller, Scotty Nguyen, JC Tran and Jerry Yang.
 
The organisers had 25 big names as the shootout targets, each carrying a $5 000 bounty on their heads.
 
Karr's stack was the lowest around at one point in the game, and he narrowly missed being eliminated on the run-up to the final table before staging a remarkable comeback.
 
That final table saw him facing Andy Seth, Dan O'Brien, Hasan Habib, Matt Keikoan and Phil Hellmuth, with the latter giving a display of his usual theatrical dismay when he was first out of the final table, eliminated by Andy Seth, who asked him to sign his "I busted Phil Hellmuth" T-shirt.
 
Seth was later to contest a major $800 000 pot with Karr, where the latter bluffed his way to winning the monster and gaining a chip lead that helped the air force man to eventually win the event.
 
When O'Brien headed to the cashier and a third placing check for $292 800 around 2am Saturday it was Seth vs. Karr in the heads up with Karr holding the lead, and the affair did not take long to settle, giving Karr the main prize of $878 500 and respect for a great win. Seth headed home with a second place check for $521 200 after a good showing in the tourney.
 
Basking in the glow of a major victory, Karr said: "I definitely thought it was possible. But it was definitely a long shot. I've played a lot of tournaments and there have been times where I've gotten down really short and came back, so I knew it was possible.
 
"I knew it was going to be an uphill battle against this field though. There were a lot of great players."
 
The win is by far the biggest of Karr's 8 previous cashes in a career that had previously earned him $113 592.  His previous best cash was a first placing in the November 2008 Deep Stack Extravaganza, where he collected $42 630 playing NLHE.