Poker Coverage:

WSOP Circuit --- Jesse Hale Wins the Council Bluffs Main Event

Hales Takes Home a Top Prize of $113,020


Ari EngelThe $5,000 no-limit hold’em main event at the World Series of Poker Circuit stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa, attracted 67 players, and the final nine took their seats at the final table today at 2 p.m. Cards got into the air promptly at the Horseshoe Casino, and Jeff Daubs risked all of his chips in the very first hand of play. His pocket jacks ran into the pocket aces of Jesse Hale, and he was eliminated in ninth place ($9,419). A half hour later, Jeff Bryan shipped it in with Q-J, and Dennis Meierotto called him down with K-4. Meierotto made a full house and knocked out Bryan in eighth place ($12,558).

The bustouts continued on a steady pace and a half hour later the next player fell. Jeff Banghart was forced to move all in on a short stack with 10 7, and John McDonald called him down with an ace. The ace high held, and Banghart was eliminated in seventh place ($15,698). The biggest name at the final table fell next when Ari Engel was eliminated sixth place ($18,837). His K-J fell to the A-Q of Hale, who claimed his second victim of the day.

Twenty minutes later, Joaquin Sosa hit a major cooler when his pocket kings ran into the pockets aces of Hale, who continued to grow his chip stack by busting Sosa in fifth place ($21,977). It took another hour after that to oust Evan Panesis in fourth place ($25,116). His K 7 fell to the pocket threes of McDonald on a board of A 8 6 9 A, and action was down to three-handed. The final three then played for almost two hours before they went to dinner break.

When they returned an hour later, it took just a short time for McDonald to fall in third place ($34,535). The flop read Q 8 6 when McDonald bet 80,000 and Hale raised to put his opponent all in. McDonald called all in, and he turned up pocket aces. Hale showed down 8 6, and the turn and river fell 6 and K. Hale took the lead into the heads-up match, and he further increased his stack during the next hour to 1,155,000, while his opponent Meierotto held just 185,000.

In the final hand, a flop of A J 6 followed unraised action preflop. Both players checked, and the K fell on the turn. Meierotto moved all in for 136,000, and Hale called him down. Their cards:

Hale: A 7
Meierotto: 6 5

River: 7

Hale’s top pair of aces won the hand, and he took home the first-place prize worth $113,020. Hale also walked away with a WSOP Circuit championship ring and a seat in the 2009 WSOP main event. Meierotto was eliminated in second place, and he took home $62,790 in prize money.

Here are the final results:

1: Jesse Hale -- $113,020
2: Dennis Meierotto -- $62,790
3: John McDonald -- $34,535
4: Evan Panesis -- $25,116
5: Joaquin Sosa -- $21,977
6: Ari Engel -- $18,837
7: Jeff Banghart -- $15,698
8: Jeff Bryan -- $12,558
9: Jeff Daubs -- $9,419

The next WSOP Circuit stop will take place at Caesars Atlantic City from Mar. 4-14. The $5,000 championship event runs from Mar. 12-14.