2010-2011 World Series of Poker Circuit
Horseshoe Council Bluffs
August 24-25
Ring Event #5 (Event #14)
No-Limit Hold’em
Buy-In: $300 + $45
Number of Entries: 208
Total Prize Money: $58,334

Council Bluffs, IA— Roland Isra, a 52-year-old pro from Forest Hills, New York, a and former race car driver, drove off with a win in the fifth ring event of the WSOP Circuit tour at Horseshoe Council Bluffs, $300 No Limit Hold’em. The final table lasted eight hours. Isra has an interesting resume. He came to the U.S. from New Georgia 35 years ago, started a jewelry business, drove race cars as a hobby, then raced professionally for five years (his nickname is “Speedy”), played in the New York underground clubs, and then turned pro after the Moneymaker explosion. His over $700,000 in lifetime earnings include 14 WSOP cashes and a win at a Caesars Atlantic City Circuit Main Event that paid $264,715. His other interests are cars and music.

Though his usual style is tight/aggressive, he played a lot more loosely at the final table because he kept hitting his hands. That included winning a million chip pot with a 3-2 that turned into a full house, and making quads with 4-3.

Meanwhile, Ian “Memphis” Wiley moved into the Casino Champion points lead. He had 30 points going in after an earlier third-place finish, and fourth place in this event got him another 27.5, for a total of 57.5. That let him overtake the four prior ring-event winners who each got 50 points, and Brian Brashaw, who had 42.5 points for an earlier sixth and a seventh. The final overall points leader here (along with the Main Event winner) will win an entry into the $1 million WSOP Circuit National Championship in Las Vegas in May, 2011 at the conclusion of this Circuit season.

Sixteen players returned on Day Two, and the final table began play an hour later after noted pro player and poker author Vince Burgio went out tenth. He was short chipped, and his A-6 suited lost to pocket kings. Play started with blinds of 3,000-6,000 and 1,000 antes, 11:22 left on the clock. In front with 385,000 chips was Nathan Jesson.   

Here were the starting chip counts:

1. Eddie Brasel  95,000 
2. Nathan Jessen  385,000
3. Ian Wiley   334,000
4. Brandon Fish  129,000
5. Luther Lewis  255,000
6. David Rutledge  74,000
7. William Criego  251,000
8. Roland Isra 380,000
9. Michael Dreiger  218,000

All nine were still left an hour later when blinds became 5,000-10,000 with 2,000 antes.
Ninety minutes into the final table, Brandon Fish had a close call. All in with pocket 7s, he was behind to Nathan Jessen’s paired queen, then caught a two-outer 7 on the river. As play continued, three more players went all in and survived, Jessen by catching two more deuces to his 8-2.

Ninth Place: We finally lost our first player when Jessen pushed in his last 80,000  from the cut-off seat with K-Q. Roland Isra called with    , and his ace-high took the pot when the board missed both players. Jessen, from Blair, Nebraska, is a busy young man of 22, being a student, programmer and poker player. His nickname is “N8SK8S,” pronounced “Nate Skates.” He began playing five years ago with friends, and his cashes include a fourth in a WSOP $1,000 No Limit event this year that paid $186,118, and a ninth at a New Orleans Circuit. Ninth today paid $1,370.

Eighth Place: Next out was Michael Dreiger. Holding K-J, he went all in on fourth street when a board of K-A-3-J gave him top two. But the jack also gave a Broadway straight to Isra, who had Q-10. A river 4 failed to rescue Dreiger and he went out eighth for $1,717. Dreiger, 58, is a poker player and stock trader from Omaha who previously was a programmer. He learned poker 34 years ago in the Navy. He has two prior final tables, a seventh and a fourth, at Circuits here. Dreiger has wins in the Nebraska State Chess Championship and the National Masters U.S. Chess Federation. The multi-talented poker player also has a TV public access show.

Seventh Place: Isra now had a very big chip lead. The next player left with blinds of 5,000-12,000 and 2,000 antes. Eddie “Eddie B” Brasel was all in with     and couldn’t overtake Brandon Fish’s A-J after a board of 9-5-9-5-A. Seventh paid $2,187. Brasel, 56 and retired, is from Collinsville, Oklahoma. He learned poker from the Internet.
   At this stage, Wiley was assured of ending the day as points leader. With six players left, the least he could get would be 22.5 points on top of the 30 for his earlier third-place finish,

Sixth Place: Back from break, blinds were 8,000-16,000 with 3,000 antes. Two players went out rapidly at this level. First was Brandon Fish, all in with     to Luther Lewis’ A-K. Ace-high was enough to remove Fish after the board came J-3-2-8-6, Sixth paid $2,831. Fish, whose nickname not surprisingly is “Fish,” is a 25-year-old poker player from Kearney, Nebraska. He taught himself poker, has a number of good online cashes, and his hobby is hunting.

Fifth Place: On the next hand, it was William Criego who was all in with pocket 8s, up again David Rutledge’s pocket cowboys. On fourth street, Criego still needed an 8 for a set to survive. Instead, it was Rutledge who hit a set to blow Criego out in fifth place, which paid $3,726. Criego, 66, is a business owner from Prior Lake, MN, with 60 years of poker experience, starting with family play. He has a cash in a WSOP event this year, along with several in local tournaments. He also likes to hunt, boat and golf.

As play went on, Wiley took a big hit when his aces were cracked. He moved in on a flop of K-10-8 and was stunned when Luther Lewis called and turned up pocket kings for a winning set.

Fourth Place: Players went on dinner break, returning to blinds of 12,000-24,000 and 4,000 antes. Chip leader at this point was Rutledge with 890,000 of the two million in play. Wiley then dropped down to about 150,000 after Isra paired an ace to outrun his 10s and double through. Then, one away from the blinds, Wiley pushed in with A-2. Rutledge called with A-4 and won easily with trips when the board came K-9-4-4-2. For third, our current points leader got $6,291. Wiley, 25, is a Vegas pro making his second final table here. He cashed third for $10,316 at an earlier No Limit event. He’s a former banker who being playing professionally two years ago. His other hobby is “going to the lake.”

Next, Isra gambled by playing a 4-2 on the button. His move paid off in spades (and diamonds, hearts and clubs as well) when a board of 4-2-5-J-2 filled him. He raked in a pot of more than a million chips against Rutledge, who had called Isra's river bet of 150,000 after long deliberation, and then mucked his hand after Isra turned over his cards. The New York pro once again enjoyed a very big lead.

Third Place: This event got heads-up after seven hours of final-table play. Holding    , Rutledge moved in from the small blind, and Isra called from the big, turning up    . The flop brought      , pairing Isra's eight and giving Rutledge outs to an ace or a heart for a flush. A jack and 7, both clubs, didn’t help, and Rutledge finished third for $6,791. Rutledge is a 54-year-old insurance agency owner from North Mankato, Minnesota, who started playing four years ago in home games. He has a Circuit final table in Pot Limit Omaha/8.

Heads-up, Isra had a better than a 2-1 chip advantage over Lewis. Blinds went to 15,000-30,000 with 4,000 antes. As play went on, Lewis dodged a bullet. The board had a full house of 4-3-4-4-3. Isra bet 325,000 on the river, and Lewis, looking to either chop or go nearly broke, folded. Good move. Isra then showed 4-3 for quads. Later Isra bet 350,000 with a board of 9-Q-6-7, and Lewis went into the tank for six or seven minutes. Acting is his hobby, and he put on a performance, trying to get a tell by talking to Isra, who just stared down at the table expressionless. “If I fold, will you show,” Lewis asks. No answer. Lewis gets up, walks around a bit, drums his hand on his chair, and after long deliberation finally folds.

Second Place: The event finally ended when Lewis, down to under 200,000 moved in with    . Isra called and turned up pocket queens. Lewis had outs to an ace or a flush when the board showed        , until a   ended his hopes as he cashed second for $9,404. Lewis, 39, is a singer/musician from Goodlettsville, Indiana who’s played seven years. His best cash was $22,604 for winning a Circuit event at Tunica this year. He also has a 17th in another No Limit tourney this year at the WSOP. His hobby is acting.