Council Bluffs, IA (April 2, 2012)—Through four events overall attendance at the WSOP Circuit in Council Bluffs is up more than 50 percent over last year. Additionally, the most recent tournament, a $350 H.O.R.S.E. event, saw an astounding 60 percent increase in turnout. 

H.O.R.S.E., a combination of five variations of poker, is a purist’s game. It tests all facets of a player’s skill and requires a broad knowledge of the craft to succeed. Therefore, the fields are typically smaller but attract a much more experienced player. 

Keeping that in mind, Dave Kerrigan can hold his head high. He bested the 119-person field and cashed out for $10,390. 

Kerrigan is a 55-year-old Nebraskan, born and raised in Omaha. He is self-employed as a jockey agent and part-time poker player and has been playing since he was a child. He was bred for H.O.R.S.E, starting out learning Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo. When casinos began being built up in the area in the 90s they primarily featured Omaha and Hold’em and Kerrigan soon became proficient at those variations as well. Over the next couple decades he supplemented his income with his card play. Eventually his home casino would provide the stage to display his championship-caliber game to the world.

“This is home and a lot of my friends were here. Everybody is going to get a little taste of it,” Kerrigan said.

To call himself champion Kerrigan had to outlast 119 players over two days of play. In addition, he had to take on four-time WSOP Circuit final table participant, Michael Sanders, and two-time Circuit champion, Alan Engel, at the final table.

The final table began at 6:30 p.m. and the starting stacks looked like this:

 Seat 1 Kirk Flom O'neill, NE 63,000
 Seat 2 Matt Solberg Watertown, SD 214,000
 Seat 3 Ace Rowley Kansas City, MO 69,000
 Seat 4 Michael Sanders Russellville, AR 180,000
 Seat 5 Dan Hakimian Chicago, IL 203,500
 Seat 6 Chris Conrad Tampa, FL 180,000
 Seat 7 David Kerrigan Omaha, NE 84,000
 Seat 8 Alan Engel Toronto, ON, CA 136,500
 Seat 9 Jamal Taylor Denver, CO 56,000

Shortly after midnight, a champion was crowned.

Ninth Place: Ace Rowley’s final table appearance marked his first WSOP cash. He resides in Kansas City, MO and is 52. With a name like Ace, one can’t help but think (hope) we’ll be seeing more of him late in tournaments. He won $892.

Eighth Place: Kirk Flom won $1,119 for eighth place. He is a 44-year-old general manager of a hotel in O’neill, NE.

Seventh Place: Matthew Solberg has a knack for H.O.R.S.E., recording a cash in a $1,500 event at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas this summer. He is 35 years old and works as a bartender in Waterstown, SD. Seventh place awarded $1,428.

Sixth Place: Jamal Taylor placed sixth for $1,857. He resides in Denver, CO.

Fifth Place: Dan Hakimian is a 47-year-old teacher from Chicago. This was his second WSOPC cash and it was good for a $2,460 payday.

Fourth Place: Making his seventh WSOPC in-the-money finish was Chris Conrad. Conrad is a 27-year-old poker pro from Tampa, FL and he says his poker ambition is to make enough money to retire. He began the day as the chip leader, but his fourth place finish was just short of gold. He won $3,321.

Third Place: Alan “Ari” Engel is a 28-year-old poker player and instructor. He hails from Toronto, ON, CA. He has won two Circuit rings and now has 16 career cashes. Third place awarded $4,572.

Second Place: This was Michael Sanders’ fourth WSOPC final table and third of the 2011/2012 Circuit season. He is engaged and has two children—a four-year-old boy, Bechett, and a two-year-old girl, Kaeda. His poker ambition is to be able to provide for his family. Sanders is 27 years old and lives in Russellville, AR. He will bring home $6,421 for his performance.

First Place: David Kerrigan is 55 years old and resides in Omaha, NE. Between working as a jockey agent and playing poker parttime, Kerrigan has been self-employed his entire life. He has now made three Circuit final tables.

He hadn't planned to play Event #4, but decided to give it a shot at the urging (and bankrolling) of some his close friends.
 
Kerrigan earned $10,390. 

WSOP Circuit events continue at Horseshoe Council Bluffs through April 10. The Main Event will take place April 7.

About Horseshoe Council Bluffs: Horseshoe Council Bluffs, located only a few miles from Omaha, NE, is Iowa’s largest casino. It opened in March 2006 after receiving an $86 million renovation and expansion. The property now features roughly 100,000 square feet of gaming space and boasts the title of Iowa’s only land-based, full-service casino. In addition to the most popular tables and slots, Horseshoe Casino features live greyhound racing and simulcast thoroughbred racing, giving it the broadest array of wagering options in the region. This is the sixth year the property has hosted a World Series of Poker Circuit event.

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