Blair Hinkle Wins WSOP Circuit – Council Bluffs for Second Time

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In 2010, Blair Hinkle won the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit – Council Bluffs Main Event to earn the first gold ring of his career. On Monday, he did it again, becoming the first player in WSOP Circuit history to win the same Main Event twice. He triumphed over 367 opponents in the tournament en route to a $121,177 cash.

Hinkle obviously knew his history with the tournament, but it was his mother who vocalized what a neat thing it would be if he could somehow pull off the unique feat. “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,” Hinkle told WSOP officials after his victory.

It was not an easy road to riches, made more difficult by the fact that he had to get through his brother on the way. Grant Hinkle is a strong player in his own right, having won the WSOP bracelet in 2008 in a $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event. Blair also won a bracelet that year, taking down the title in the $2,000 Limit Hold’em event, which made the Hinkles the first siblings to win bracelets at the same World Series of Poker.

The brothers had the good or bad fortune, depending on one’s perspective, to find themselves seated at the same table late on Day 2. For some, it would be fun making a run at a final table with one’s brother, but for Blair, it was emotional draining. “It sucked,” he said. “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.”

The two almost made it to the final table together, but Grant was knocked out in 11th place.

Hinkle went into the Day 3 final table third in chips with just over a million. Brendan Waite was first with 1.432 million, followed by Sean Small with 1.352 million. It was those three men who finished in the top three, with Waite squaring off against Hinkle heads-up for the championship.

Waite had a sizable chip lead going into heads-up play, 4.35 million to 2.95 million. Just a few hands in, though, Hinkle turned the tables. The two saw the 7♠-2♠-7 flop for just a raise more than the minimum, but surprisingly, that was quite the action flop. Waite checked and after Hinkle bet 100,000, Waite raised it to 300,000. Hinkle then re-raised to 600,000, Waite four-bet to 1.1 million, and Hinkle called. They checked the J on the turn and Waite bet 800,000 on the river card of 5, which Hinkle called. As it turned out, Hinkle had 9♣-7 for trip Sevens, while Waite was bluffing the whole way, holding just Q♠-9. That made Hinkle the chip leader with 5.105 million chips.

Hinkle grew his lead for a while before Waite came charging back to regain the lead once again. It stayed close to even until dinner, after which Hinkle took off once more. On the final hand, the two paid the minimum to see a flop of K♠-5♣-3. They both checked and the dealer laid down the K on the turn. That prompted Hinkle to fire out 125,000 chips, followed by a raise to 325,000 by Waite, and a subsequent call from Hinkle. On the river 6♠, Hinkle checked, Waite bet 420,000, and then Hinkle check-raised all-in. With 1.3 million chips remaining, Waite pondered his decision for quite some time before finally calling. He had just 6-7♣, which was no match for the straight Hinkle made on the river with 2-4.

WSOP Circuit Council Bluffs Main Event – Final Table Standings

1.    Blair Hinkle – $121,177
2.    Brendan Waite – $74,881
3.    Sean Small – $54,716
4.    Mark Bonsack – $40,627
5.    Lance Garcia – $30,635
6.    Trevor Deeter – $23,448
7.    Sterling Savill – $18,209
8.    Ben Smith – $14,343
9.    Timothy Hughes – $11,457

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