Stateline, NV—Danny Hinkle is a 22-year-old business student from Rosevlle, California who favors Omaha, because he feels mathematics is important in that game and he’s always been very quick-witted in doing math calculations.
Tonight, however, it was the cards that counted. He started the final table in second-chip position, got a small rush with good cards later on, and had the most chips when event number nine in the WSOP Circuit tour at Harveys Lake Tahoe ended in a three-way chip-count deal. First place officially paid $5,379.
The tournament was $300 pot-limit hold’em/Omaha high, and it consisted of alternating rounds for each game. A total of 52 players signed up, and the prize pool was $15,132. The final table played through in one day, starting past midnight and ending close to 3 a.m. Action got underway in a hold’em round, with blinds of 1,000-2,000 and 11 minutes on the clock.
9th place: Yuval Bronshtein started with the most chips, 90,000, and, amazingly, he was the first one out, in the first round of hold’em. After immediately losing a couple of big pots, he was all in when a pot was raised and re-raised. He had A-K and Joe Mathes had pocket kings. The cowboys prevailed and ninth paid Bronshtein $340.
Bronshtein, 25, is a professional poker player, born in Israel, now living in Atlanta, Georgia. He began playing in college five years ago. He has two WSOP final tables, has an online tournament win and a first in a pot-limit Omaha shootout event at the European Poker Tour in London. He also likes sports and going out.
8th place: The next round was Omaha, and another player left. Joseph Acosta was all in with Ad-Qd-Jh-10h. Darryl Dauenhauer had him covered holding two black aces, with the spade ace suited. Three spades hit the board, and Acosta exited eighth, paying $484.
Acosta is a 23-year-old poker player from Morgan Hill, California. He learned the game from friends five years ago.
Back in a hold’em round, Ken Weingardt had his last chips in with pocket kings. He stood up to leave after David Dubnick, with A-J, caught an ace on the turn, then sat down again when another king hit the river.
7th place: In the next round of hold’em, with three-way action, Tony Townsend went all in holding A-K against Ad-7d and pocket queens. The ladies held up, and Townsend went out seventh for $666.
Townsend, from Black Hawk, Colorado, is 66, retired and “still trying to learn the game.” He learned enough, however, to win the “best player” award at Canterbury Park in 2002.

6th place: Next to go was Bryan Williams in a repeat of the prior knockout. He had A-K against Dubnick’s pocket queens.  Dubnick filled when the board came 6-10-4-4-4, and Williams picked up $863 for fifth.
Williams, 24, is a poker dealer from Sacramento who started playing at home games six years ago. His poker highlight: “Going all in with king-high, because I thought I had a straight and losing." 
5th place: Another player left in the same round on a bad beat. An all-in Ken Wiegardt had much the best of it with A-J against Dauenhauer’s A-8. He seemed ready to double up when the board showed A-4-6-7, but then a river 5 gave Dauenhauer a gut-shot straight. For fifth, Wiegardt was paid $1,090.
Wiegardt is a 57-year-old accountant from Castro Valley California who has 30 years of poker experience, but no poker highlights.

4th place: Dubnick then went out in an Omaha round. He had A-Q-10-3 and Mathes had J-J-7-6. Mathes made a set when the board showed 6-9-5-J, and then for good measure made a straight when 8 was dealt on the river. Fourth paid $1,422.
Dubnick, whose nickname is “Musicchef,” is an executive chef from Sacramento, California who plays the guitar. He began playing poker five years ago, learning online, from books and live play. His poker highlight was taking out Lee Watkinson heads-up online for $1,800 in a PLO tournament.
The round ended after one more hand and the three remaining players then agreed to a chip-count deal. With 131,800 chips, Hinkle was the clear leader, followed by Dauenhauer with 104,000 and Mathes, 75,000, and that’s the order in which they cashed.

3rd place:   For third, Mathes’ official payout was $2,013. Mathes is 28 and from San Mateo, California. He began playing in home games six years ago. The rest of the information on his bio sheet sounded a bit jocular. Unless you believe that his occupation is “toilet paper repair man,” that is.

2nd place: Second officially paid Dauenhauer $2,875. Dauenhauer, whose nickname is “Go Phish,” is 48, from Laughlin, Nevada, and has been playing 30 yeas. He has four WSOP cashes, including a 14th and a 15th in pot-limit Omaha events in 2006 and 2009.

1st place:  Hinkle learned poker 10 years ago, honing his game by watching his dad play online. He plays mostly cash games, playing at the Lucky Derby Casino. He leans toward hi-lo games and pot-limit Omaha because he feels they require more skill. This was only his third tournament. His prior poker highlight was ending one spot away from winning a WSOP championship seat in an online tournament. –Max Shapiro