Mother’s Day was truly memorable for Nancy Birnbaum; she won the most recent World Series of Poker Circuit tournament held at Harrah’s New Orleans.
Birnbaum became the first woman to win an open event in New Orleans in the five-year history of the WSOP Circuit events (aside from the annual ladies-only tournament).
This year’s Bayou Poker Challenge was a $500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament, which was played over two days. The competition attracted a strong field of 341 entries. The top payout was one of the largest cash prizes awarded to the winner in any non-Main Event held in New Orleans over the past two years. The finale was played on Mother’s Day.
Birnbaum works in real estate and lives in Atlanta. She has become quite a serious poker player within the past year, winning her way into last year’s WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas. She also won the ladies championship event (Spring Break Poker Championship) at the Beau Rivage in Mississippi a few months ago.
She also finished 17th in the 2007 WSOP Ladies Championship held in Las Vegas. This performance in New Orleans marked her eighth career tournament final table appearance.
Birnbaum started off the final table as one of the largest stacks. But she lost some momentum early on day two and needed a big hand to seize the chip lead. That happened when play was three-handed. Birnbaum was dealt pocket aces, and doubled up versus the then-chip leader and never lost her advantage from that point forward.
The final hand of the tournament came when runner-up Todd Wood was dealt pocket fours and moved all-in. Birnbaum was dealt A-J suited and called. Birnbaum caught a jack on the river to take the last pot and her biggest poker win ever. Birnbaum won first place prize money totaling $51,269. She was also presented with a gold ring, the ultimate achievement for winning a WSOP Circuit event.
The top ten finishers were:
1st Place – Nancy Birnbaum, a.k.a. "Trouble" became the first female champion to win an open event at Harrah’s New Orleans. Appropriately, her victory came on Mother’s Day. This was Birnbaum’s third time to cash in a major tournament this year, and second win.
2nd Place – The runner up was Todd Wood, from New Orleans, LA. This was his first cash in a major.
3rd Place – Tyler Smith came close to having the best comeback story of them all. He was down to less than 2,000 chips at one point late on day one (players began the tourney with 6,000 in chips). He coasted all the way to the final table and ended up finishing in third. Smith, who won a gold ring last year in the $500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em at Harrah’s New Orleans, now has over a quarter million dollars in lifetime earnings.
4th Place – Keechi Settlemyre is from Missouri City, Texas. Settlemyre is a tree farmer, who raises pine trees. This was his highest major tournament finish, to date.
5th Place – Shawn P. Quillin, a.k.a. "Doc" is a physician and radiologist from Charlotte, NC, who enjoyed his best previous finish two years ago in the WSOP Circuit championship at Caesars Indiana, where he took 11th place. So making the final table in this event was a first.
6th Place – Larry Price went out in sixth place. The insurance adjuster from Gretna, LA previously finished as the runner up in last year’s Bayou Winter Poker Challenge (good for $83,058). This is his third cash.
7th Place – The seventh-place finisher was John Payne, from Guntown, MS. The former aircraft worker, who is now retired, cashed for the second time in a major tournament, this time for $6,615.
8th Place – Dave Chocheles ended up as the eighth-place finisher. The litigation adjuster from New Orleans and LSU graduate won a charity tournament ("Habitat for Humanity") previously.
9th Place – The ninth-place finisher was Randal DuBois, from Abbeville, LA. He previously took fourth place in the 2009 Acadiana Series of Poker tournament.
10th Place – Nick Nicoletta is a retiree from Gulfport. Last year, the former plywood manufacturer nailed down 365th place in the 2008 WSOP Main Event.
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