Paul Han is a strong believer in stability -- mental, financial and every other  aspect of his personal life. He says the calmness and assurance it brings him, the ability to think clearly, size up his table and the capability to shake off bad beats, was a major factor in his win tonight in the fifth event of the WSOP Circuit tour at Horseshoe Southern Indiana, $300 no-limit hold'em. In topping a field of 186 players, he won $15,868, a $5,150 main event seat, and gold trophy ring.

Han, 23, is from Chicago. He majored in business management at the University of Illinois and is presently a fitness student. He admits he wasn't always as disciplined as he is today, losing substantial money playing blackjack a few years ago when he was caught up in a bad lifestyle.

He began playing poker five years ago, and at age 18 started playing underage in other casinos, using a friend's ID. He scored several tournament wins, including one for $11,500, another for $7,500. Today he plays mostly tournaments, preferring no-limit. Aggression, he feels, is a must for such games. He was also able to get a good read on his final opponent, Sean Hodge, whom he started play with at the first table. His other interests are weight lifting, sports and "making money by bluffing all in."

Only eight players made it to today's final table after two broke at the same time. With 10 left, D. Randall Smith was all in with A-9 and James Nolan with 10-8 against Patrick Bibb's Q-10. A queen flopped, and that was good enough to send two to the sidelines. With 1,000 more chips than Nolan, Smith was credited with ninth place.

Smith, 53, is a produce shipper from Vincennes, Tennessee. He has been playing for 34 years, and this is his first Circuit and poker highlight. He's married with four kids, and earned $980 for ninth. 

Here were the chip counts for the eight finalists:  

Seat 1. Kenneth Troxler - 98,000
Seat 2. John Anstett - 30,000
Seat 3. Libby Wilson - 78,000
Seat 4. Ted Park - 120,000
Seat 5. Sean Hodge - 143,000
Seat 6. Perry Stone - 143,000
Seat 7. Patrick Bibb - 290,000
Seat 8. Paul Han - 209,000 

Play began with blinds of 8,000-16,000 and 2,000 antes, 12:20 left on the clock. With 20 minute rounds and lot of action, several players went out quickly. John Anstett, very low-chipped with only 30,000, was first to go. He had A-Q against Han/s pocket deuces. He flopped an ace,.but Han flopped a set, and no miracle cards came to rescue Anstett.

Anstett is a pilot from Union, Kentucky who taught himself poker three years ago. This is his fifth Circuit, and he cashed in two prior ones here, with 40th and 13th-place finishes. He is married with three children. Eighth place paid $1,869.

On the next hand, Perry "Commodore" Stone was all in with pocket jacks. Hodge challenged him with A-Q, and made the higher pair when the board came Q-6-3-6-10, Finishing seventh, Stone picked up $1,958. Stone, 48, is from Bloomfield, Indiana and is retired from auto sales. He learned poker 28 years ago from his grandfather and this his fifth Circuit. Other interests are college basketball, and Colts football.   

Right after blinds went to 10,000-20,000 with 3,000 antes, Libby Wilson found herself all in from the small blind holding Q-4. A board of J-8-2-8-J didn't help her while giving Patrick "Icewolf" Bibb, holding A-8, a full house. Wilson collected $2,449 for sixth. She is 47, from Frankfort, KY and works in state government. This is her second Circuit. She once won a local tournament with a record 834 entrants. Wilson is married with three children. Sixth place paid $2,449.

Kenneth "Card-Catching Kenny" Troxler, short on chips, had a couple of card-catching all-in escapes, until he went up against Han, who was proving the most aggressive player at the table. Troxler was all in from the small blind with A-5. Han had deuces, and they held up when the board came Q-10-9-6-8. Troxler, finishing fifth, picked up $2,939. Troxler, 30, is from Louisville, and his occupation is VAT (value added tax). He's began playing 16 years ago in family games and has played about four Circuits. Other interests are pool, bowling and gaming.

Bibb, who now had the chip lead, built it to 540,000 after re-raising all in and forcing Han, who had opened for 45,000, to fold. But Han bit into his stacks right after that by making a set of 10s against Bibb's A-K. And, with a parade of all-ins, the chip lead would change hands many times after that. It changed again when Bibb raised with J-10 and Ted Park moved in with A-Q. Park flopped a queen, and now he was the leader. Then, after blinds became 15,000-30,000 with 4,000 antes, it was Hodge's turn to be leader.after he called all in with A-8 against Han's A-5 and caught two more 8s.

Now blinds went to a stiff 20,000-40,000 with 5 000 antes. "Be careful, fellows," Ted Park warned. But Park was the one who should have been careful. Soon after, he raised with K-Q and called when Bibb moved in. Bibb, with J-9, proceeded to flop a 9 and catch another on the river as he moved in front again. Right after that, Park moved in for 155,000 with Q-4. "I'm in trouble," he said, when Hodge called with A-Q. Very big trouble, after a flop of A-Q-8 gave Hodge two pair. Two babies followed, and Park was out in fourth place.

Park, 27, is a headhunter from Chicago.  He's played poker four years, and once played professionally for a year. This is his fourth Circuit entry, and his poker highlight was once winning two tournaments in a week. His other interests are fishing and sports betting. He took out $3,918 for fourth place.

The lead changed yet another time when Hodge, moving in with K-Q, ran into Han's pocket aces. Han now had about 500,000 of the 1.1 million chips on the table. As play progressed, the chips kept moving around the table. Finally the tournament got heads-up when Bibb was all in with K-10 and got knocked out by Han's A-4 when the board came 9-5-3-A-3.

Bibb, 45, is a boiler operator from Louisville. He learned poker from reading and his family, and his prior best achievement was splitting a Monday morning tournament. He's married with one child and his other interest is fishing. Third place brought him $4,898.

The final match-up started with Han and Hodge virtually dead even in chips. There wasn't much room for finesse after blinds went to a back-breaking 30,000-60,000 with 5,000 antes, and play didn't last very long. In immediate action, the players were all in, Han with J-7, Hodge with 8-4. The board came 7-4-2-10-A, and Han's paired 7 held up. Han now had a rather good lead, 1,1 million chips to Hodge's 5,000. It ended on the next hand. Hodge was dealt 7-2, Han 10-6, and the 10-high was enough when the board came J-9-3-J-Q. 

Hodge, 39, is from Noblesville, Indiana and is self-employed. He's taught himself poker three years ago, entered nine Circuits and had two prior cashes, including an eighth place, in Circuit events here. His other interest is spending time with his two-year-old daughter.