Returning to Old Hometown for Visit, Brendan Waite Plays, Wins 6-Handed
Council Bluffs, IA—Brendan Waite, 26, is a general studies student and bartender who grew up in North Platte, Nebraska and attended the University of Nebraska. Last year he moved to San Diego when he visited that city and liked what he saw.

Now, on a visit back to his hometown, he decided to play some poker at Horseshoe Council Bluffs’ WSOP Circuit tour and ended up winning Event 14, $300 6-handed No-Limit Hold’em. Victory brought him $11,094, by far his biggest tournament cash ever, along with the diamond-and-gold trophy ring.

While it didn’t take very long for the first four players to get knocked out, the final match-up dragged on for some 45 hands. It was more like a limit instead of a no-limit contest. There were no big bets, much less any all-ins, with players folding to raises or even moderate bets. Waite explained that he started with the chip lead and was determined not give it up or risk much until he got a big hand. He finally did get that big hand on the final deal when he won with a flush against two pair.
Waite started playing in college about five years ago, when he didn’t know that a full house beat a flush. He now plays both live games and tournaments. He has two prior cashes when he played two second-chance events here last year and won them both.
This event had 121 players and a $35,211 prize pool. The six survivors in this event started with blinds of 1,500-3,000 and 300 antes, 23 minutes left. On top with 205,500 chips was Mike Sortino. 
Here were the starting chip counts:



Chip Count


Brendan Waite



Dennis Modde



Lee Gardner



Trevor Harrold



Tim Sciscoe



Mike Sortino


6th place: Tim Sciscoe started at the bottom with 29,400 chips, and he was out in four minutes. He moved in with     in late position and was called from the big blind by Brenden Waite holding A-Q. A board of 9-8-3-K-6 changed nothing, and we were quickly down to five.

Sciscoe, paid $1,496 for sixth, is an Omaha goat herder. (“I could use your help with my dealers,” cracked tournament supervisor Sue Phillips, doing the announcing.)  Getting drunk with noted player Robert Williamson III is still his best poker highlight, he said.

5th place: Blinds became 2,000-4,000. Another A-Q nearly knocked out the next player. Mike Sortino was up against that hand holding A-9, but a board of 3-10-A-10-10 gave both players a full house. Instead, it was Lee Gardner, a 38-year-old roofing contractor from Topeka Kansas who was next out. He moved in with K-Q, ran into Waite’s pocket aces and cashed $2,025 for fifth.
This is Gardner’s second final table here. He was runner-up in the second event, $200 Limit Hold’em.
4th place: Now playing with blinds of 2,000-4,000 and 500 antes, Mike Sortino lost a lot of chips when his     was beaten by a K-3 when a king hit the river. He was all in on the next hand. This time he had the lesser hand,     against Trevor Harrold’s A-7.

Harrold was still ahead when the board showed A-4-10-8, and then finished Sortino off with a river 7. Sortino, paid $2,993 for fourth, is 50, retired, and from Omaha. His poker highlight is “Playing with the best dealers around at the Council Bluffs WSOP, especially the Reverend Jackie Moon!”

3rd place: The three remaining players returned from break to blinds of 4,000-8,000 and 1,000 antes. In early action, Waite looked at pocket aces in the small blind and just limped, prompting Dennis Modde to push in from the small blind with pocket 5s. After a board of 8-J-10-7-6 failed to rescue him, Modde cashed  third for $4,401.  Modde, 49, is self-employed and from Des Moines, Iowa. This is his best finish to date.

Heads-up, Waite was in front with about 425,000 chips to around 300,000 for Harrold. The two began very, very careful play. By the time blinds went to 5,000-10,000 with 1,000 antes 29 hands later, the chip count hadn’t changed that much, with Waite up to about 470,000.

2nd place: On the final hand, Waite was dealt    , Harrold    . The flop was      . Harrold checked, Waite bet, and Harrold check-raised with two pair. Had Harrold gone all in, Waite said, he probably would have folded, especially with a queen on board, but he decided to go for it. The turn brought the  .

Waite bet his flush, and Harrold moved in. When a river 9 failed to fill him, Harrold cashed second for $6,866. Harrold, from Omaha, is 25 works in construction and has won a few online tournaments.  –Max Shapiro