The Catt’s Meow: Michael Catt Wins No-Limit Hold’em Tournament at Harrah’s New Orleans

New Orleans, LA (December 13, 2009) – Michael Catt, a 38-year-old attorney from Orange, TX won the most recent Bayou Poker Challenge tournament held at Harrah’s New Orleans. The $500 (+50) buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament attracted 173 entries. It was the fourth event of 15 scheduled at this year’s Bayou Poker Challenge. The two-day tournament generated a prize pool totaling $83,897.

This marked Catt’s first major tournament victory. It was his third time to cash in a live event, after successful showings in recent years at poker tournaments held in Mississippi. It took Catt only about three hours at the final table to earn the victory. Most impressive was the fact that he started off play when nine-handed with the shortest chip count. But Catt was patient and won several key hands along the way which catapulted him to victory. His share of the prize money amounted to $22,234. Catt was also presented with a gold ring, which is given to the larger buy-in event winners this year at the Bayou Poker Challenge.

Catt is originally from Lubbock and is a proud graduate of the University of Texas Law School. He follows Texas Longhorn sports with passion. Catt is married and has two children, ages 10 and 7.

Each of the tournament’s top 18 finishers (two tables) collected prize money. The top nine players were eliminated in the following order:

9th Place – John Dolan, a 24-year-old part-time poker player from Bonita Springs, FL was the first player out, finishing ninth.He was all-in three times (surviving twice) before succumbing to a horrible beat on his last hand. Dolan was dealt pocket aces. He ended up losing to a straight when an ace fell on the river. Dolan’s trip-aces hit the much and ended up with a payout totaling $2,307. Dolan has an impressive tournament record and is coming off a win earlier this year at the Gulf Coast Poker Championship.

8th Place – David Henslee, a 43-year-old manager from Mt. Juliet, TN ended up with an eighth-place finish. He came to the final table with an average-sized stack, but failed to win any hand of consequence. Henslee went out rather quickly as he moved all-in with pocket jacks, which was snap called by an opponent with pocket aces. The bigger pair held up, resulting in Henslee’s elimination. He ended up with $2,726 in prize money. Henslee previously cashed in a WSOP Circuit event held at Caesars Indiana.

7th Place – Rusty Bodin, a 25-year-old self-employed part-time poker player from New Orleans, LA ended up with a seventh-place finish. He went card dead late, and moved all-in with K-J on what turned out to be his final hand. However, he was called by a player with pocket jacks, leaving him essentially with a draw to a king. The needed card failed to materialize, and so Bodin’s payout amounted to $3,356.

6th Place – Chris Walding, a 37-year-old Assistant Director of Technology from Huntsville, TX finished in sixth-place. He was low on chips during his entire 90-minute stay at the final table but managed to moved three spots up the money ladder. Walding’s final hand came when he took A-10 up against A-K, and failed to improve. However, he ended up with $4,195 for a sixth-place finish. Walding has previously won a few local tournaments at private games in Texas. He won his way into this event by winning a $125 single-table satellite.

5th Place – John "the Troll" Tollefsen, reports that he lives "under a bridge in Houston." True to his name, Tollefsen was a thorn in the side of his opponents and made things interesting for awhile, but finally went out when he moved all-in with A-Q, which was called by Chris Chevalier’s A-K. Neither player made a pair, so the two higher cards played, giving Chevalier the big pot. Meanwhile, Tollefsen picked up $5,244 in prize money for finishing fifth. At last year’s WSOP Circuit event at Harrah’s New Orleans, Tollefsen won a Pot-Limit Omaha tournament and a gold ring.

4th Place – Barron Whipple, the man with the cool name is a 64-year-old lawyer from Houma, LA. He took fourth place in this event. Whipple was seeking his first major tournament win after making it to five previous WSOP and WPT final tables. But he came up short again. Whipple went bust with K-Q which ended up losing to A-10, which made two pair. Whipple received a consolation prize worth $6,712.

3rd Place – Chris Chevalier, a 24-year-old Federal Express freight hauler from Shreveport, LA finished in third place. Chevalier ran into a made-flush on his final hand, which left him busted. This was Chevalier’s fourth time to cash in a major poker tournament this year. He finished in fifth place in a WSOP Circuit NLHE tournament held at Harrah’s New Orleans last May. His payout for third place amounted to $8,600.

2nd Place – Gabriel Tender, a 41-year-old Romanian-born physician from New Orleans was the runner up. This was Tender’s fourth time to cash at Harrah’s New Orleans. Two previous in-the-money finishes took place at the 2007 Bayou Poker Challenge. He also cashed at the WSOP Circuit event held in May of that same year. This marked Tender’s highest tournament finish ever. He could certainly be proud of this performance, worth $13,424 in prize money.

1st Place – Michael Catt, a 38-year-old attorney from the Houston area was the winner. He collected $22,234 and bragging rights for his first major tournament victory.

The 2009 Bayou Poker Challenge, which is an official World Series of Poker Satellite location, continues for eight more days and will conclude on December 20th. There’s still plenty of time to make plans to come to Harrah’s New Orleans and join in the poker action. For more information, please visit: