The 2009 Bayou Poker Challenge is now two-thirds complete.  The 15th of twenty scheduled gold ring events ended today at Harrah’s New Orleans.  The $300 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament attracted a huge field of 544 entries for the two-day competition.  This was the second-biggest tournament so far at this year’s series (Event #1 attracted 572 entries).

The tournament winner was Kai Landry, who is quickly establishing a reputation as one of the top up-and-coming tournament players in the South.  He is a 37-year-old poker pro from Biloxi, MS.
This marked Landry’s second major tournament victory.  He won the WSOP Circuit championship event held at Harrah’s Tunica in January, which amounted to $183,974 payday.  This was Landry’s third final table appearance so far this year.

This time, Landry won first place prize money totaling $35,620.  He was also presented with his second gold ring, the ultimate achievement for winning a WSOP Circuit event.

The top five in-the-money finishers were as follows:         

1st Place – Kai Landry, a 37-year-old poker pro and self-avowed “Prince of Darkness,” won his second gold ring this season.  Landry previously won the Main Event in Tunica a few months ago.

2nd Place – The runner up was Gaven Arza, from Atlanta.  He is a 22-year-old student who already has three cashes and two final tables on his tournament resume.  Arza took seventh-place in a tournament held here last year.

3rd Place – Vincent Dellapi was the third-place finisher.  He is 49-years old and is self-employed.  Dellapi lives in Houston, where he is married and has four sons.  This was his first time to cash in a major poker tournament.

4th Place – Fourth place went to Shawn Pilot, from North Hills, CA.  Pilot cashed twice last year at the WSOP in Las Vegas, including the Main Event.  His official payout for this tournament amounted to $11,319, which brings his career tournament earnings to nearly $150,000.

5th Place – Jonathan Evans cashed for the first time in a major tournament with his fifth-place showing.  Evans from Houston, who recently graduated from SMU in Dallas with a degree in finance, collected $9,261 in prize money.

Notable Players Who Finished In-the-Money – Clint Schafer, who finished second in the 2007 Bayou championship, was the sixth-place finisher.  Timothy Martin (New Orleans, LA), who finished 23rd, won a gold ring here two years ago.  Allen Baker (Houston, TX), who finished 24th, won a gold bracelet at the 1990 WSOP in Las Vegas.  Mark Wilds (Gulfport, MS) cashed for the third time at this year’s series and is now close to $800,000 in career tournament winnings.