The Lady is a Champ!

New Orleans, LA – The eleventh of fifteen scheduled events at the 2008 Bayou Poker Challenge concluded today as Daphne Turner won the $500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em competition.  The tournament was hosted by the Harrahs New Orleans Casino and Hotel.  First place paid $34,920.  Ms. Turner was also presented with a gold ring, awarded to all World Series of Poker Circuit winners here in the Crescent City.

Turner’s victory established several milestones.  First, she became the first female to ever win an open WSOP Circuit tournament in the five-year history of the Bayou Poker Challenge (Note:  “Open” events mean those tournaments which are open to all players).  She also became only the sixth female to accomplish this feat nationwide since the WSOP Circuits began four years ago.  Turner’s victory was truly remarkable, considering she has no previous record of cashes in a major poker tournament of any kind. 

Turner is a 39-year-old bill collector.  She lives in Richmond, Texas – which is near Houston.  She destroyed everyone sitting at what was her first final table ever.  Turner personally busted eight of her nine adversaries in a three-hour performance that can only be described as overwhelming.   

The tournament was played in a single 15-hour marathon session spread over two days.  In many ways, the competition was just as much a test of physical and mental endurance as a measure of poker skill.  After 215 players were eliminated over the initial 12 hours of play, the final ten players assembled around the final table with Turner as the chip leader.  This also marled the first time at this year’s Bayou Poker Challenge that a female started out as the chip leader.  In fact, there were two women playing in the finale – another first for this year’s series.  The exact starting chip counts were as follows:

Seat 1:   David Bourg   16,500 
Seat 2:   Jeff Bond   20,000 
Seat 3:   David Scarano   70,000 
Seat 4:   Christy Williams  20,000
Seat 5:   David “Guru” Gurievsky  33,400
Seat 6:   Kay L.    32,000
Seat 7:   Shaun Helmle   50,000
Seat 8:           Tim Repp   20,000
Seat 9:           Brian McHann   40,000
Seat 10:         Daphne Turner   85,000 
Opening blinds were 1,500-3,000 with 400 antes.

10th Place – Christy Williams, a.k.a. “Vespagirl” was the first player eliminated.  She lost all her chips on the three-way pot that also busted Jeff Bond (in ninth place).  The real estate broker accepted a commission from this tournament amounting to $1,310.  Note:  This was Vespagirl’s second time to cash and first ever at a WSOP Circuit event.

9th Place – Jeff Bond went out on the same hand.  The national sales manager from Thousand Oaks, CA has placed high in many previous tournaments.  Bond, who prefers his vodka martini’s “shaken but not stirred,” iced down $2,183 in prize money for ninth place.  Note:  This was Bond’s eighth major cash.  He has cashed five times on the WSOP Circuit since 2005, including venues such as Rincon San Diego, Harvey’s Lake Tahoe, and Ballys Las Vegas.  His best finish so far was second place at the Rincon event earlier this year.

8th Place – Tim Repp went card dead and was short-stacked.  He went out about an hour into the final table.  The shipping control technician received a $3,274 payout for eighth place.  Note:  This was Repp’s debut showing in a major poker tournament.  He wanted to let everyone know he has a beautiful wife, a great child, and loves life!   

7th Place – David Bourg was low on chips and went out next.  The 28-year-old advertising representative from nearby Houma, LA collected $4,365 for seventh place.  Note:  This was Bourg’s third time to cash in a major tournament.  His previous finishes include 3rd and 11th at two tournaments last year in Mississippi.

6th Place – Next, Daphne Turner lost her chip lead when her pocket tens got cracked by Brian McHann’s A-Q.  That was a 45,000 hit.  But she got those chips back and more when she busted David “Guru” Gurievsky a short time later.  The New Orleans native who now lives in Tampa lost when he had A-J, which was ripped by Turner’s A-Q.  Both players flopped and ace, but the higher kicker played.  The stockbroker and investor known in many poker rooms for his shades and big cowboy hat took down $5,456 for sixth place.  Note:  “Guru” has now cashed six times in major tournaments.  This was his second WSOP Circuit in-the-money finish.

5th Place – Down to five players, two players were eliminated on the same hand.  Daphne Turner polished off both Shaun Helmle and Brian McHann in one single blow.  She was dealt A-2 suited against 9-9 and J-10 respectively for Helmle and McHann.  The final board showed A-8-6-5-10 giving Turner a pair of aces.  Shaun Helmle had to settle for fifth place, which paid $6,548.  Prior to taking poker seriously, Helmle was a professional golfer.  Note:  This was Helmle’s first time to cash in a major tournament.

4th Place – On the same hand, Brian McHann was eliminated in fourth place.  The winner of a few previous daily tournaments was paid $7,639 in prize money.  He received the higher payout by virtue of his larger stack when the final hand was dealt (against Helmle). 

3rd Place – “Kay L,” a student from Atlanta, GA finished in third place.  He went out when his A-Q lost to Turner’s J-J.  All low cards fell on board, and “Kay L” failed to make a pair.  His disappointment was softened somewhat by the third-place cash prize, which amounted to $9,821.

2nd Place – When heads-up play began, Turner has a decisive 10 to 1 chip advantage over David Scarano.  The 22-year-old from Las Vegas made things interesting for a time as it took Turner about 25 hands to finally suppress her final adversary.  But the end came when Scarano got caught bluffing, and lost.  Turner had 10-9 and made trip tens on the last hand of the tournament.  Scarano was trying to represent a big hand of his own, but pulled his aggressive move at the wrong time – against the wrong player.  Scarano received $19,206 as the runner up.  Note:  This was Scarano’s second time to cash in a WSOP Circuit event.  He finished in third place last year in a Bayou tournament and collected $24,000. 

1st Place – Daphne Turner became the latest Bayou Poker Challenge champion.  In coming days and weeks, other tournament winners are sure to be crowned and prize money will be won and ultimately spent.  But Daphne Turner will always have one very fond memory of a day and night when everything went right at the table and in her own special way she made poker history.

Note:  For Turner, her victory almost didn’t happen.  Yesterday, she told friends she wanted to return to New Orleans, her hometown, for a few days.  “I got in the car and only had the clothes on my back,” she said.  “I did not even bother to pack.  My husband told me that if I play poker that I better come home with some money.  Now, I’ve cashed for $35,000.” 

For more information, please contact: 
Nolan Dalla -- WSOP Media Director at (702) 358-4642
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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