Council Bluffs, IA — Natasha Barbour was a college student at the University of South Florida studying microbiology, but her heart was really in poker. She would even take her books with her into the casino, playing while studying. Then, a year ago, after doing well at the tables, she decided to pursue her real love - poker.

Tonight she struck gold in the form of a gold-and-diamond championship ring when she joined a handful of women, perhaps seven or eight, ever to win a WSOP Circuit open tournament. Her victory, in Event 10 at the WSOP Circuit at Horseshoe Council Bluffs in Iowa, a $300 No Limit Hold’em tournament, was worth $12,444.

The effervescent 23-year-old from Miami could barely contain her excitement and delight throughout the final table, her first ever as she follows the WSOP Circuit tournament trail.

Her previous best tournament finish was a 30th in the Bayou Poker Challenge at Harrah’s New Orleans. Tonight she said she played a very steady game and was able to make big laydowns.
The final table began with blinds of 1,500-3,000 with 24 minutes left. Wade Readell led with 151,800 chips.   
Here were the starting chip counts:



Chip Count


Doug "Rico" Carli



Brian Hansen



Jake Hamilton



Wade Readell



Duane Gerleman



Dale Johnson



Brandon Foster



Natasha Barbour



Jeremy Golden



9th place: With blinds at 2,000-4,000, Jake Hamilton went out ninth, cashing for $768. He had    , missed a flush on a flop of      , and lost to Jeremy Golden, who started with Q-9, flopped top two and filled on the river. Hamilton, cashing for $768, is 26 and from Lincoln, Nebraska.
8th place: Next to go was Brandon Foster. He went all in pre-flop with A-Q and ran into Brian Hansen’s pocket kings. Foster flopped an ace, but Hansen flopped a set of kings and was now a 97 percent favorite, Foster couldn’t beat the odds and took out $1,152 for eighth. Foster, who cashed in the 2008 WSOP Main Event, is a 26-year-old air conditioning technician from Lincoln, NE.
7th place: Doug “Rico” Carli holds the world’s record for Circuit cashes, this being his 40th. The trouble, he complained, is that once he makes a final table, he never seems to win a race. Today was no exception. He was a slight favorite, all in with pocket 4s against Readell’s A-K. As expected, there was a bullet on the flop, and Carli went out seventh for $1,536. Carli, 54, is a retired stockbroker turned pro from Alliance, Ohio. His cashes includes 19 final tables, two wins…"and too many losses."
6th place: With blinds now at 2,500-5,000, Duane Gerleman had only 6,000 left and decided to go all in with 10-9. He had two callers. The board came 3-J-7-4-9 with three hearts, Jeremy Golden showed two hearts, and Gerleman took out $1,921 for sixth. Gerleman, 54, a farmer from Ridgeway, Iowa, has made several final tables here in the past three years. He also cashed 23rd in a WSOP Seniors event.

As play continued, Hansen shook his head after taking a big hit, set-over-set.  Much happier a while later was Barbour, the second woman so far to make an open-event final table here. All in with A-K, she jumped up excitedly when she flopped a king to outrun Golden’s pocket 10s.
5th place: Back from break, blinds were now 4,000-8,000. On the first deal, the flop came J-6-6.  Holding J-4 in the small blind, Golden pushed all in. His jacks weren’t much good because Hansen, holding 8-6, had trips. After a queen and ace came, Golden checked out fifth and collected $2,305. Golden is a retired farmer from Sidney, Iowa
4th place: In the small blind with only 23,000 left, Readell went all in with Q-J, a big favorite after Barbour called with J-10. But then a 10 hit the turn, and her pair put Readell out in fourth place, worth $3,073.
Readell, 34, is a farmer from Buchanan, North Dakota whose poker play consists mainly of Poker League activities at home. A big hand came down with the board showing 3-J-8-8. Holding J-10, Dale Johnson moved in, and after long indecision, Barbour called, also all in. She had Q-8, her trips held up, and she was now the chip leader.
3rd place: Blinds were now 5,000-10,000 with 1,000 antes.  There was soon three-way action. First, Hansen moved in for 117,000. Johnson called, and Barbour came over the top all in. Figuring he was beat, Johnson folded. Hansen turned up 9-8, Barbour pocket queens, and when the board came 8-K-Q-4-3, Hansen went out third for $3,841. Hansen, 36, is from Las Vegas and has numerous cashes at the WSOP and elsewhere.
2nd place: Heads-up, Barbour enjoyed a lead of better than 3-1 over Johnson. He quickly doubled up and drew about even when his pocket deuces beat her A-6 suited. But the crusher came a couple of hands later. She looked at pocket aces on the button/small blind and just limped. Johnson bit and moved in with     and was down to 61,000 after losing the pot.
On the next and final hand he pushed in with     and she called with     (“My favorite hand,” she said.) The board came 10-4-5-9-Q to give her a winning pair of 9s, and the young lady became the newest member of a very elite group. Johnson, cashing $6,530 for second, is a 62-year-old truck driver from Columbus, Nebraska. Max Shapiro.