Council Bluffs, IA (April 3, 2012)—Poker’s most recent champion is Jonathan Hanner. Hanner bested a 197-person field in Event #6, $350 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed, at Council Bluffs and took home almost $16,000 and his first Circuit ring.

“I’m just taking this all in,” Hanner said after the victory. “This is easily my biggest tournament win. Historically I haven’t done very well in anything.”

Hanner, who is primarily a cash game player, has had the tournament woes for years.

“I was wondering if it would ever really happen,” he said about pursuing a win. “It was hard to stay positive. I’ve been waiting to get hot in a tournament and it finally happened.”

When he isn’t playing poker, Hanner enjoys golfing and plays to a +2 handicap. In 2011 he won the Minnesota State Public Links Golf Championship. Additionally, he is in the process of pursing an education degree and has aspirations to be a math teacher.

“I like the math aspect (of poker),” Hanner said. “I do a lot of counting the pot and bet sizing. I’m definitely very particular about that stuff. I’m not loose with the amounts I’m betting and I’m very aware of what (what my opponents) are betting.” 

Whatever Hanner does, he does it well -- but one can’t deny his fortune nearing the end of Day 1. Hanner held pocket eights versus his opponent’s pocket aces. The board came     and the hand played itself. Soon after, Mark “P0ker H0” Kroon would be eliminated in seventh place and the remaining six players would bag and come back the following day for the final table with Hanner holding a commanding chip lead.

At the start of Day 2, the players stacked up as follows: 

 Seat 1 Michael Nellis  Omaha, NE  215,000
 Seat 2  Mark Bonsack  Cle Elum, NE  138,500
 Seat 3  Jonathan Hanner  Fridley, MN  731,500
 Seat 4  Kyle Golden  Lincoln, NE  420,000
 Seat 5  Lorraine Jones  Denham Springs, LA  400,000
 Seat 6  Jacob Phillips Ozark, MO  66,000

The final table began at 2 p.m. CT time and ran for the better part of seven hours.

More information on Event #5 at Council Bluffs can be found HERE.

Sixth Place: Mark Bonsack, the victim of Hanner’s Day 1 quads, lays claim to an impressive 60 million chips in Zynga Poker on Facebook. Had he been able to use some of those chips at this final table, the story might have had a different ending. Instead he began the day with only 138,500 and finished sixth, earning $2,513. 

In reality, Bonsack is a quite accomplished player. He has now recorded six WSOPC cashes and won his first ring in a H.O.R.S.E. event in Lake Tahoe earlier this year. To top it off, Bonsack has almost $130,000 in career WSOP earnings. 

He is a 51-year-old contractor from Cle Elum, WA.

Fifth Place: Jacob Phillips hit the ground running in 2011. He recorded his first-ever WSOP cash in Choctaw and followed it up with two more cashes, including a runner-up finish, in the next few days. His fifth place finish in Event #5 was short of gold, but good enough for a $3,495 payday. He is 26 years old. 

Fourth Place: With a stunning performance in Event #5, Lorraine Jones became the first woman to make a final table appearance at this year’s event in Council Bluffs. She is self-employed and married with one child. This was her first WSOP cash and she earned $4,890.

Third Place: Kyle Golden is an accomplished cash game player but just recently got a taste for the tournament felt. Prior to this final table Golden had five Circuit cashes but only $7,000 in prizes to show for it. Undoubtedly this final table got a WSOP monkey off the professional poker player’s back.

He was eliminated in third place after he called the 28,000 chip pre-flop raise of Hanner. When the flop came     Hanner checked and Golden moved all-in holding    for a flush draw. Hanner’s call was instantaneous and he tabled    for top pair. Golden came up dry, missing the flush and leaving the tournament in third. He earned $6,882. He is 29 years old. 

Second Place: When play reached heads up, Hanner and Nellis played a fast, loose style of poker. Almost every hand was raised pre-flop and almost every raise was called.

Twenty-four-year-old Nellis was making his second final table appearance at Council Bluffs. He placed runner-up in Event #1, suffering a crushing defeat to Brett Glantz. But Nellis bounced back and his superb play landed him at yet another final table. 

Unfortunately the senior online political strategist from Omaha, NE did not improve on his previous finish. The final hand saw Nellis Holding    and Hanner holding   . On a board of     , Hanner raised all-in and Nellis felt he was pot committed and the cards were tabled. His call meant he was drawing to only two remaining queens. Lady luck never saved him and he was the runner-up again, earning $9,739.

The finish awarded Nellis 30 more points toward the Casino Championship. He now has 60 points and leads all players in the race to Las Vegas.

First Place: Jonathan Hanner had previously recorded only one WSOP Circuit cash (Council Bluffs 2009). That deep run put him at the final two tables, but he would be eliminated 11th. He improved drastically on that performance by making this final table, and with 731,000 in chips (Second place Golden had 420,000) it looked like he would only go deeper. And deep he went, finishing first and winning $15,765l.

He enlisted in the Air Force from 2005-2009. He has a passion for playing amateur golf tournaments and was the 2011 Minnesota State Public Links Golf Champion. Hanner is 35. 

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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