Council Bluffs, IA (April 7, 2012)—Darrell Prevail bested a 147-person field in the $1,080 No-Limit Hold’em event in Council Bluffs Friday.

With a name like Prevail, how couldn’t he?

He topped the likes of Ryan Tepen, Paul “Bicycle” Sokoloff, Jeff Banghart, Joel Merwick, Matt Lawrence and Jamie Kerstetter at the final table -- a formidable accomplishment considering this was his first major tournament score.

Prevail has been playing poker much of his life and experienced some modest success, but nothing quite like besting the elite field that a $1,000 buy-in tournament draws.

“I always come to win,” Prevail said of his mindset going in.

Winning would prove to be a formidable task as Prevail’s opponents at the final table combined for almost $1.4 million in lifetime earnings at the WSOP and four Circuit rings. It would take 10 hours to navigate through the final few players, but Prevail would come out on top and pocket $39,925 and his first gold ring.

See the full results with links to final table participant bio pages HERE.


 Seat 1  Matt Lawrence  Tulsa, OK  389,000
 Seat 2  Paul "Bicycle" Sokoloff  Toronto, ON, CA  169,000
 Seat 3  Jeff Banghart  Bennington, NE  100,000
 Seat 4  Joel Merwick  Omaha, NE  106,000
 Seat 5  James Russell  New Baltimore, MI  413,000
 Seat 6  Bryan Moon  Chicago, IL  249,000
 Seat 7  Jovan Sudar  Omaha, NE  DNR
 Seat 8  Darrell Prevail  Sioux City, IA  181,000
 Seat 9  Ryan Tepen  Lake Saint Louis, MO  145,000
 Seat 10  Jame Kerstetter  Manhattan, NY  DNR

Tenth Place: Jeff Banghart was eliminated in tenth and earned $2,923. Banghart is a professional poker player from Bennington, NE with more than $450,000 in lifetime cashes at the WSOP. He won a ring in a $350 No-Limit Hold’em tournament at Council Bluffs in 2009.

Ninth Place: This was Bryan Moon’s first WSOP cash. He is a 30-year-old poker pro from Chicago, IL with a knack for being able to annoy people at the table. He’s primarily a high-stakes cash game player, but is making the transition to tournaments. Ninth place awarded $3,606.

Eighth Place: Jovan Sudar is a former WSOP Circuit at Council Bluffs Main Event champion. His victory came in 2010 and he was awarded $95,455. He was born in Serbia but now resides in Omaha, NE. He took home $4,517. 

Seventh Place: The tournament’s seventh place finisher was Matt Lawrence. In 2010 he won a $550 No-Limit Hold’em Circuit event at Harrah’s St. Louis for $36,115. He also final tabled the $1,000,000 Circuit National Championship last year, finishing ninth for $30,000. He is 28 years old and resides in Tulsa, OK. His most recent in-the-money finish awarded  $5,751.

Sixth Place: Paul Sokoloff’s last four cashes have all come in the form of final table appearances. Additionally, he beat out 701 runners in Tunica to win his first ring last February. In 2006 he placed 445th in the WSOP Main Event for $26,389. He placed sixth in Event #9 and earned $7,439. 

Fifth Place: James Russell is a 59-year-old landscaper, farmer and pool shooter. He resides in New Baltimore, MI. His fifth place finish awarded $9,785.

Fourth Place: Jamie Kerstetter became the fifth lady to make a final table appearance at Horseshoe Council Bluffs in 2012. She finished fourth and earned $13,088.

Kerstetter is a 29-year-old professional poker player and former tax attorney from Manhattan, NY.

Third Place: Ryan Tepen is 26 and lives in Lake Saint Louis, MO. He is a poker enthusiast and worked as a night shift manager at a gas station before taking up the game professionally. He was a collegiate athlete in football at Mezzo. Third place was good for a $17,812 payday and his highest finish in a WSOP sanctioned event.

Second Place: When play reached heads up Joel Merwick held a sizeable chip lead over the eventual champion Prevail. After battling it out for the better part of four hours, that chip lead shifted to Prevail who would eventually go on to win.

Merwick finished second and earned $24,677. He is a 31-year-old poker player from Omaha, NE. This marked his 16th WSOP cash and ninth final table.

First Place: Darrell Prevail finish first and earned $39,925. This was his second WSOP cash and second final table. It was also the largest score of his poker career.

“I’m going to go home and take a few days off,” Prevail said about his plans for the future. 

Prevail is a 65-year-old semi-retired used care salesman from Sioux City, IA. He is married with four children.

WSOP Circuit events continue at Horseshoe Council Bluffs through April 10. The Main Event begins today and live updates can be found on the events page at WSOP.com.

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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