NOTE TO COUNCIL BLUFFS MAIN EVENT PLAYERS: Days 1A and 1B will take place Saturday, April 7 at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. CT respectively. Sunday, April 8 will be an off day and Day 2 will resume Monday, April 9.

Council Bluffs, IA (March 31, 2012)—Event 1 of the WSOP Circuit series at Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, IA was a $350 No-Limit Hold’em tournament. The event drew 355 entrants – almost 20 percent more than last year’s kickoff – and featured some of the Circuit’s top brass, most notably Mark “Pegasus” Smith.

Earlier this year Smith won a WSOP Circuit event at Horseshoe Southern Indiana to become the all-time ring leader with five. He has recorded numerous final tables in the months since, with his most recent coming in Event 1 at Council Bluffs.

By dinner break on Day 1 Smith had about 80,000 in chips and possessed one of the largest stacks in the room. His hot streak would cool, and when play wrapped he found himself toward the bottom of the chip counts with 25 players remaining.

In true Pegasus style, Smith grinded his stack through the thinning field on Day 2 all the way to the final table. By that time he had just 115,000 and found himself second-to-last in chips. Smith was soon forced to move all-in with    and was called by ace-high. The board brought no paint and Smith finished seventh. 

The finish moved him into sole possession of second place for career Circuit cashes. He now has 30 and trails only Doug Carli who has separated himself from the competition with 59 cashes.

The title of champion in Event 1 went to first-time WSOP casher, Brent Glantz.

Glantz earned almost $24,000 for his performance and holds sole possession of the lead in the Casino Championship and the best-overall player race at Council Bluffs. 

He is 28 years old and resides in Lincoln, NE where he works in the biomedical field. The win was a milestone for the aspiring pro, marking his first big score.

“I was kind of a (semi-professional) player online for a while,” Glantz said. “I would play a lot of cash and side tournaments and things like that, but this is my first real break into the poker world.”

“Break” might not sufficiently describe Glantz’s emergence into the poker spotlight. He outlasted notables like Circuit champions Corey Souther (32nd), Benjamin Kramer (13th) and Brian Brashaw (10th), two-time ring winner David Nicholson (11th), three-time ring winner Tim Burt (26th) and, of course, five-time Circuit champ Mark “Pegasus” Smith (7th). Full results, as well as photos, from Event 1 can be seen HERE.

When the final table began shortly after 5 p.m. CT, many of these players were in Glantz’s rearview mirror, but the likes of Smith and Brashaw weren’t about to go down without a fight. The final ten players stacked up as follows:

Final Table:

Seat 1  Mark "Pegasus" Smith115,000
Seat 2 Michael Nellis361,000
Seat 3 Doug Hutcheson453,000
Seat 4 Brendan Waite450,000
Seat 5 Derek Betka660,000
Seat 6 Gary Lambert345,000
Seat 7 Brent Glantz481,000
Seat 8 James Pursley424,000
Seat 9 Steve (Quang) Pham163,000
Seat 10 Brian Brashaw75,000

Tenth Place: Brian Brashaw has enjoyed tremendous success in Council Bluffs. He won his first and only WSOP Circuit ring in a $300 Omaha Hi-Lo tournament here in 2008. After his most recent finish, his poker resumé now boasts four WSOPC cashes including three final tables.

Brashaw is a 31-year-old stockbroker from Papillion, NE. He says his life is a free roll. He earned $1,807 for his finish.

Ninth Place: The tournament’s ninth place finisher was Steve (Quang) Pham. Pham is a 27-year-old blackjack dealer from Omaha, NE. This was his first WSOPC in-the-money finish. He earned $2,233.

Eighth Place: Gary Lambert has now recorded four WSOP Circuit cashes that include three final tables. He is a true road warrior, with all four cashes coming at different Circuit stops throughout the country. He is a semi-professional poker player who also practices as a chiropractor. He and his wife, Kelli, have six children and one more on the way.

Lambert earned $2,797 for his eighth place finish.

Seventh Place: As mentioned earlier, Mark “Pegasus” Smith exited the tournament seventh. Since his victory in Southern Indiana that catapulted him out of a three-way tie and into solo first among all-time Circuit ring leaders, Smith has accumulated six more cashes – including an astonishing five final tables! 

His cash in Event 1 pushed him over yet another milestone. The 59-year-old from Georgetown, KY moved past Dean Schultz and now holds sole possession of second place in lifetime Circuit cashes with 30 (all players trail the 59 cashes of Doug Carli).

On Smith’s final hand, he moved all-in with what he said were the first two face cards he had seen all day. He was called by ace-high and never improved, earning $3,554 for seventh place.

Sixth Place: Recording his first WSOP Circuit cash was 29-year-old Derek Betka. Betka resides in Wahoo, NE with his wife and two-year-old daughter. With a due date of Easter, the couple is expecting another child any day now.

Betka earned $4,580.

Fifth Place: Also making his first WSOP Circuit cash was James Pursley. Pursley was born in Long Beach, CA, but now resides in Denver, CO. He is 34 years old and earned $5,988.

Fourth Place: Brendan Waite finished in fourth place. He is 28 years old and resides in North Platte, NE. He earned $7,948.

Third Place: Douglas Hutcheson was born and raised in Council Bluffs, IA. With four cashes and three final tables, he has had some success at the Horseshoe. He is the self-proclaimed, luckiest guy he knows.

Luck can only get you so far, and Hutcheson finished third earning $10,716.

Second Place: Michael Nellis began Day 2 second in chips and road his stack all the way to the final table. During the middle stages of final table play, it looked as if Nellis would indeed win his first ring. But by the time play reached heads-up, he was at a severe chip disadvantage. A telling pot occurred when Nellis and Glantz got all the money in the middle, Nellis holding    and Glantz holding    and the flop showing two queens. The turn brought a jack giving Nellis a lead-extending full house and it looked as if the stacks might even up. The river brought a pot-splitting jack, giving both players queens full of jacks. Nellis was noticeably distraught over the hand.

“This could be really fast, or take a while,” Glantz said about the heads-up match. “Maybe. It depends on how steamed I get,” Nellis replied.

Nellis would go on to be eliminated a few hands later when he moved all-in with    and was called by Glantz’s   . The window card brought the nine, giving Glantz a pair, but the next card brought a queen giving Nellis a higher pair. Poker had little mercy on Nellis, as the third flop card appeared and was another nine, giving Glantz trips that would eventually hold on to win.

Nellis is a 24-year-old political strategist from Omaha, NE. He works alongside many high level political consultants. He earned $14,689 for second.

First Place: The tournament’s champion was 28-year-old Brent Glantz. Glantz didn’t lose his first showdown until the later stages of Day 1 play. He said he felt he was playing great and was getting good cards early and thought he had a chance to win from the very start.

Glantz is a recent homeowner and he says the winnings will help with his mortgage. This was his first WSOP Circuit cash. He earned $23,764.

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

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