Council Bluffs, Iowa (April 23, 2013) — Blair Hinkle did it again Monday night at Horseshoe Casino by besting 367 entrants in the $1,675 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event in Council Bluffs. Emotions were difficult to hide as the young pro sat behind his riches draped by some of his closest friends and family smiling for the camera.

Blair, who’s also a gold bracelet champion, pocketed $121,177, his second WSOP gold ring and automatic entry in the WSOP National Championship Presented by Southern Comfort 100 Proof. On top of these accolades he earned the prestige of becoming the first player in WSOP Circuit history to win the same Main Event twice (he previously won it in 2010).

“Coming into the final table, my mom mentioned storylines for the reporters. I thought this would be a good one so I tried to make it happen,” Blair jokingly said of his feat.

Being the last player standing in an event as difficult as this truly is reason to hold your head high. He bested a field that most notably included his older brother and WSOP gold bracelet champion, Grant. Late in Day 2, Grant and Blair couldn’t get away from each other. Every table change, every re-draw; there they were.

“It sucked,” Blair said of having to face his brother. “Obviously we don’t want to play against other good players let alone each other because we don’t soft play each other. We got into some pretty big hands. It was frustrating, really.”

If it was frustrating for Blair one can imagine it was even more frustrating for Grant who exited the tournament 11th. The Main Event is just the most recent of instances where the brothers enjoyed success together and the pair can take pride in their mutual triumphs. In 2008 they became the first siblings to record WSOP gold bracelet victories in the same year -- Grant winning Event 2 and Blair following suit in Event 28.

Grant wasn’t the only obstacle Blair had to get through, though. The final table included the likes of two-time gold ring champion Mark Bonsack as well as Circuit champions Sterling Savill and Lance “Cord” Garcia. The eventual runner-up, Brendan Waite, began Day 3 as the chip leader.

“I have to be honest, going into the final table I wasn’t exactly sure I was going to make it too far. It looked like a tough final table. I was glad to continue moving forward and then win,” Blair said.

It took a three-hour heads-up battle, but Blair eventually got the best of Brendan, and with it, his second Main Event title in Iowa.

“Maybe it’s that my brother lives in Iowa?” Blair speculated on his continued success in the state. “My girlfriend went to Iowa State [University]. Maybe just Iowa and me click? I don’t know what it is.”

In addition to riches and trophies, Blair’s most recent victory awarded him a seat in the National Championship. This honor is often reserved for the Circuit’s most battle-tested grinders. The $1 million season-ending freeroll is one of the most prestigious events on the WSOP schedule; an exclusive tournament set aside for those players who have experienced continued success at each of the Circuit’s nearly 20 stops. Admittedly, Blair is selective of what events he plays and that description doesn’t fit him.

“I do feel bad because with 20 left people were all talking about how many points they were going to get and how many they needed, and I understand that completely,” he said. “I just told them, ‘Well, I have to win to get in.’ That was my goal with the rest of them, to make it to the National Championship, and I have now.”

Indeed he has and it’s well deserved. The 27-year-old professional poker player from Kansas City, Missouri has amassed two gold ring championships, a WSOP gold bracelet victory and more than $1.2 million in career earnings at the WSOP in the last five years.

Blair says his newest trophy will go in the safe next to his gold bracelet and his other ring. While that should be fine for now, if the past any indication of the future, it might be time to get a bigger safe.

The Main Event was the 11th of 12 gold ring events on the WSOP Circuit schedule at Horseshoe Casino. The $1,675 No-Limit Hold’em tournament attracted 367 entries -- 26 percent more than 2012. The total prize pool came to $550,800 and the top 45 players were paid.

Final table results:

1st: Blair Hinkle - $121,177
2nd: Brendan Waite - $74,881

3rd: Sean Small - $54,716

4th: Mark Bonsack - $40,627

5th: Lance Garcia - $30,635

6th: Trevor Deeter - $23,448

7th: Sterling Savill - $18,209

8th: Ben Smith - $14,343
9
9th: Timothy Hughes - $11,457
 
Full results available on WSOP.com.