New Orleans, LA – Pot-Limit Omaha Eight-or-Better first gained popularity as an online game and has since spread to live tournaments.  The World Series of Poker first offered Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low as a gold bracelet event in 2007 (not to be confused with PLO’s high-only format, which has been played at the WSOP for nearly 30 years). 
The game has attracted a nice turnout all three years it’s been offered at the WSOP, which promises an increasingly bright future for this form of poker.  It has now spread to a few WSOP Circuit events and was offered for the second consecutive year at Harrah’s New Orleans.

This was the 12th World Series of Poker Circuit gold ring event of 19 at this year’s Bayou Poker Challenge held at Harrah’s New Orleans.  The $300 (+40) buy-in tournament, was played over two consecutive days during May 13th and 14th.  The tournament attracted 92 entries.  The top nine finishers divided a prize pool totaling $26,772.  After 83 players were eliminated on the first day, final table play began on a Friday afternoon.

Dave Fox, from Kerrville, TX arrived at the Final Table with a slight chip advantage over Frank Dawkins.  The remaining seven players had some catching up to do.  But the wide distribution of chips and low blinds and antes meant everyone seemed to have a reasonable shot at victory. At least that’s what Fox wanted his rivals to believe.

Oops.  Joke’s on everyone else.  Fox wins.

Fox stayed in control the entire duration of the finale and ended up winning his first major poker tournament.  The 41-year-old who says he is “between jobs right now,” collected $8,567 and his first WSOP Circuit gold ring.  There were clear signs Fox would be tough o beat.  He had previously done well in various poker tournaments played around the country.  In fact, this was Fox’s fourth major cash this year.  He now has three WSOP Circuit in-the-money finishes, in addition to a WSOP cash in Las Vegas last year.

The final table included two former WSOP Circuit gold ring winners.  Playing for their second Circuit title were Jean-Sebastien Laurent and Jonathan Theodore Junca.  The hopes of both aspiring repeat winners would be dashed rather quickly however, as they went out in seventh and eighth place, respectively.  Once Laurent was gone, that guaranteed a first-time gold ring winner – and Fox ended up outfoxing those who remained.

When Final Table play began at 6:00 pm, the nine finalists and their starting chip counts were as follows:




Chip Count


Damian Radanov




Robert Vanderburg

Lexington, SC



Frank Dawkins

Lafayette, LA



Jonathan Theodore Junca

New Orleans, LA



Jean-Sebastien Laurent

Naples, FL



A.W. Vidmer

Nashville, TN



Alton Torreano III

New Orleans, LA



John Holley

Destin, GA



Dave Fox

Kerrville, TX


Final Table play lasted six hours and ended at past midnight.  Players were eliminated in the following order:

Ninth Place:  "High Roller” Film Director Takes Ninth Place
Film director and screenwriter A.W. “Tony” Vidmer was short stacked late in the tournament.  He managed to make it to the final table and then went out about 20 minutes into play.  Vidmer, who lives in Nashville, ended up with $1,003 in prize money.  Vidmer is best known in the poker world as the writer and director of the film “High Roller,” a biographical story of the late poker icon Stu Ungar.

Eighth Place:  Happy Hour Ends for Bartender

Jonathan Theodore Junca, a 25-year-old New Orleans bartender, likely poured himself a stiff drink after busting out in eighth place.  Junca missed a low draw on his final hand and exited with $1,137 in cash.  Junca previously won a non-ring Seven-Card Stud event in 2009 at Harrah’s Tunica.      

Seventh Place:  No Repeat for Jean-Sebastien Laurent
Jean-Sebastien Laurent, who won the $340 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha tournament (Event #6) held two days ago, hoped to win his second gold ring this week.  But he busted out midway into the finale and ended up in seventh place.  Laurent, from Naples, FL earned $1,338.

Sixth Place:  Professor Gets Expelled

Robert Vanderberg, a professor of Educational Psychology at the University of South Carolina, was the next player to exit.  He has only played in a few WSOP-related tournaments and collected $1,606 in his first major tournament cash.

Fifth Place:  Torregano Gone-O
Alton Torregano III, a computer scientist from New Orleans, went out holding two pair and missed a low drive, which resulted in a fifth-place finish.  This was Torregano’s second time to cash in a WSOP Circuit event here.  He finished fourth place in this same event last year.  Fifth place paid $1,940.

Fourth Place:  Bad “Omen” for Damian

Damian Radanov, who is originally from Zrenjan, Serbia and now resides in the Memphis area, went out in fourth place, which paid $2,409.  This was Radanov’s third time to cash in a WSOP Circuit event this year, after two previous in-the-money finishes at Harrah’s Tunica.  Radanov already has about $45,000 in winnings in what has been a relatively short tournament career.

Third Place:  The Defense Rests

Frank Dawkins, a longtime defense attorney from Lafayette, LA had a shot at victory, but took a bad beat late in the tournament and went out in third place.  Dawkins, age 61, who has a number of impressive tournament finishes throughout the South picked up a mixed blessing of $3,413 in prize money, but no ring nor bragging rights. 
This marked his first time to cash in a WSOP-related event.  Dawkins was formally a federal prosecutor who has spent many years in the legal profession.  He also recently returned to school and earned a Master Degree in Health Law, proving it’s never to late to continue learning and living life to the fullest.  
Second Place:  Holley Takes Runner Up Spot
John Holly proved to be a tough adversary.  He lost a race when heads-up against David Fox and then was short stacked for the next half hour, finally losing the final hand on a missed draw.  Holly, a professional fisherman, nearly reeled in a prize catch with a gold ring victory, but instead hooked the prize pool for $5,354. 
Holly has a number of cashes and final table appearance at regional poker tournaments played throughout the South.
First Place:  Sly as a Fox
David Fox was in command of this final table from start to finish.  He was never short-stacked and stayed cool and calm the entire way en route to a nice payday worth $8,567.  Fox earned his first WSOP Circuit gold ring.Video highlights of the day can be seen at:  http://www.youtube.com/wsopdotcom