Johnathan Westra Wins Second WSOP Circuit Gold Ring and $29,385 at Bayou Poker Challenge
New Orleans, LA – The third event on the 2008 Bayou Poker Challenge schedule was completed today as Johnathan Westra won the $500 no-limit hold’em competition.  The tournament was hosted by the Harrahs New Orleans Casino and Resort.  First place paid $29,385.  Westra was presented with a gold ring, awarded to all World Series of Poker Circuit winners here in New Orleans.  This marked his second career WSOP Circuit victory.  Westra also won the Short-Handed No-Limit Hold’em championship held at the Tunica Grand Casino-Resort in January.

The tournament began with 187 entries, creating a prize pool totaling $90,695.  After 177 players were eliminated on day one, the final ten players resumed play at the final table with Westra in the chip lead, with 72,900 in his stack.  Brandon E. Robinson was close behind with 69,500 in chips.  All the remaining players resumed play with less than 43,000.  The exact starting chip counts were as follows:

Seat 1: Johnathan Westra  72,900 
Seat 2: Brian Walsingham  45,500 
Seat 3: Terry Keratsopoulos  20,200
Seat 4: Rob Quin   29,000
Seat 5: B.J. McBrayer   20,500 
Seat 6: Ricky P. Roussel  42,900 
Seat 7: Brandon E. Robinson  69,500 
Seat 8: Glenn Hyde   25,000
Seat 9: Brandon Guillory  32,700 
Seat 10: Rob Thies   17,700
Opening blinds were 800-1,600 with 200 antes. 

10th Place – On the 12th hand of play, Ricky Roussel moved all-in with pocket sevens.  Brian Walsingham called with A-9.  In a typical hold’em confrontation (pocket pair versus two overcards) Walsingham prevailed as a nine flopped.  The final board showed 10-9-5-4-4 meaning the pair of nines topped the sevens.  Ricky Roussel a.k.a. “ATC” (for “Any Two Cards”) works as a project manager in nearby Metairie, LA.  He pocketed $1,451 for tenth place.  Note:  “ATC” finished in 8th place at last year’s Harrahs New Orleans Labor Day Poker Invitational.

9th Place – Seven hands later, short-stacked Rob Thies was eliminated when his A-Q ran into a roaring freight train.  Thies moved all-in pre-flop.  Terry Keratsopoulos called instantly and gleefully tabled his A-A.  Thies had some hope of dishing out a bad beat when a queen flopped.  But the final board showed Q-6-5-3-7 giving Keratsopoulos the 35,000 pot.  Ninth place paid $1,814.  Note:  Thies now has four WSOP-related cashes, all within the past year.  He took 14th, 14th, 28th, and now 9th place in previous events.

8th Place – Next, Brandon Guillory made an ill-timed bluff and was eliminated in eighth place.  Holding K-10, he moved all-in after the flop came 9-7-5.  His two overcards were crushed by Johnathan Westra’s pocket nines, which had flopped a set.  Westra scooped the 60,000 pot, adding to his chip lead.  Meanwhile, Brandon Guillory, an attorney from Opelousas, LA accepted a settlement totaling $2,721.  Note:  Guillory won the Imperial Palace Poker Classic in 2008. 

7th Place – Hand number 26 brought and end to Terry Keratsopoulos’ final table stay.  He moved all-in with pocket eights.  Big-stacked Westra made the call with K-Q.  Westra made a pair of kings on the hand, putting Keratsopoulos out in seventh place.  The financial advisor from Dallas added $3,628 to his poker portfolio.

6th Place – About 90 minutes into play, Rob Quin went bust when his A-J lost to Brian Walsingham’s pocket fives.  The hand put Walsingham up close to 100,000 in chips for the first time.  Meanwhile, Quin took home $5,535 to nearby Metairie for sixth place.  Note:  This was Quin’s second time to cash in New Orleans.  He took 13th place in an event here last year.

5th Place – A few hands later, B.J. McBrayer was very low on chips.  He moved all-in with his last 11,000 and was called by two players.  The two rivals checked down the board and an ace-high ended up scooping the 35,000 pot.  Robinson was forced to settle for a fifth place.  The teacher from Arkansas collected a payout of $6,442.  Note:  This was McBrayer’s fifth WSOP Circuit in-the-money finish.  His best showing was 3rd place at the Winter Bayou Poker Challenge in Nov. 2007.  

4th Place – Hand number 46 knocked out Glenn Hyde.  He moved all-in pre-flop with A-J.  But Brandon E. Robinson woke up with pockets aces in the blind and called instantly.  The final board showed 10-6-4-K-5.  Hyde missed a possible straight (from the turn), which resulted in a fourth-place showing.  Hyde, who has been playing poker for more than 20 years and now resides in Atlanta, received $7,256.  Note:  This was Hyde’s second time to cash at the Bayou Poker Challenge.  He took 31st place in Event #1.

3rd Place – Down to three survivors, the chip lead shifted a few times before the next elimination.  First, Walsingham seized the chip lead away from Westra when he won a big hand.  That put the three competitors relatively close in chips.  After blinds increased to 2,000-4,000 with a 1,000 ante, Westra regained the chip lead when his K-Q bested Walsingham’s pocket eights.  A short time later, Brandon E. Robinson had the biggest stack, after scooping multiple small pots.  Thirty hands into three-handed play, Westra took the chip lead again, and never lost it.    

On the 91stth hand of play, Robinson finally was knocked out when his pocket nines lost of Westin’s A-Q.  The final board showed A-10-4-7-8, which made a pair of aces for Westin.  Brandon E. Robinson, a music teacher and band leader from Blytheville, AR trumpeted $9,070 in prize money for third place.

2nd Place – When heads-up play began, Westra enjoyed a 5 to 1 chip advantage over Walsingham – 312,000 to 64,000.  It only took six hands to determine the winner.  That came when Walsingham was dealt pocket kings and moved all-in.  Westra had A-6 and called.  Once again, the deck was generous to Westra, as six on the flop and an ace on the turn made two pair for the soon-to-be champ.  Westra ended up scooping the last pot of the tournament with aces over sixes when the final board showed 7-6-4-A-J.  Brian Walsingham, who works in the import business and lives in Atlanta, earned $15,418 as the runner up.  Note:  Walsingham came in second at the 2007 Gulf Coast Poker Championship.  This was his first ever WSOP Circuit appearance.

1st Place – Johnathan Westra is a 22-year-old college student.  He attends the University of Florida where he is studying business and finance.  Westra has done remarkably well during his short 18-month poker career.  He now has 16 cashes at major tournaments.  This was his sixth time to cash at a WSOP Circuit event, and fifth final table appearance.  Westra becomes the ninth player in the four-year history of the WSOP Circuit to win multiple poker tournaments. 

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Harrah’s New Orleans Poker Room Manager – Rick Korte
Bayou Poker Challenge Tournament Director – Raymond Gasser

Jeffrey Pollack – Commissioner, WSOP
Ty Stewart – Director, Sponsorship and Licensing, WSOP
Craig Abrahams – Director, Broadcasting and New Media, WSOP
Seth Palansky – Director of Communications, WSOP