Michael Martin took the chip lead into the final table, and carried the lead all the way into heads-up play, but it was Ben Hock who walked away with the gold ring at the Horseshoe in Council Bluffs, Iowa at the World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event. Hock took down $169,327 for his first-place finish, along with the gold Circuit Championship ring and an entry into the WSOP Main Event this summer at the Rio in Las Vegas.
Day 1 chip leader Howard Wolper limped into the final table as one of the shortest stacks, and he wasted no time getting his chips in the middle. After Michael Martin put in a raise from the cutoff, Wolper moved all in from the big blind with , and Martin quickly called with . Martin's pocket threes held up on a board of , and Wolper headed to the rail in ninth place ($14,508).
Similar action ended the tournament for the other initial short stack when Ron Koenemann went all in over the top of Bernard Lee with . Lee insta-called with , and his queens were still good when the board ran out . Koenemann picked up $18,766 for his eighth-place finish. Dan Jensen was next to fall when he got all his money in preflop with against Keith Murrell's . As the board ran out , Jensen was eliminated in seventh place ($23,981).
Following the day's theme of all-in preflop confrontations, Samuel Shamburg moved all in from the cutoff, only to find more action than he bargained for when both Bernard Lee and Hock called. Hock and Lee checked the flop of , and checked around again on the turn. The river brought the , and another round of checks from Hock and Lee. Hock tabled pocket queens, and Lee flashed A-K before tossing his cards into the muck. Shamburg folded face down as he went to collect $28,582 for his sixth-place finish.
Next, Keith Murrell got his money in ahead preflop when he moved all in from under the gun with , but the deep-stacked Michael Martin made the call from the big blind with . Murrell's lead quickly evaporated when the flop came down , and Murrell could never catch up. The turn and river came down , and Murrell headed to the rail in fifth place ($33,273).
Lee came from behind to make the final table second in chips, but saw his tournament come to an end in fourth place ($37,965) when he tangled with Martin for the last time. Lee moved all in preflop in early position with , and Martin went into the tank before finally calling with . The board was no help to Lee as it ran out . Martin's ace kicker played, and Lee busted in fourth. That was followed by local favorite Nicholas Manganaro moving all in over the top of Michael Martin with , and Martin making the call with . No help came for Manganaro on the board, and Martin sent him to the rail with king-high. Manganaro's fans had to be satisfied with his $52,039, third-place performance.
Martin took a small chip lead into heads-up play, but Hock picked up a lot of small pots to quickly take over the lead. After nearly 90 minutes of heads-up action, the final hand came down in spectacular fashion. Martin limped in from the button, and Hock checked his option to see a flop of . Hock checked, and Martin fired at the pot. Hock called, and the turn brought the . Hock checked once again, then went for a check-raise after Martin fired another bullet. Martin moved all in over the top with , and Hock called with . Hock was ahead with two pair, but Martin had picked up a flush draw and a double gutshot straight draw for 15 outs going into the river. The wasn't among them, though, and when that card landed on the river, Ben Hock had eliminated Michael Martin as the runner-up ($94,263) and secured his WSOP Circuit championship. Hock picked up $169,327, the gold Circuit Championship ring and an entry into the WSOP Main Event this summer for his three days' work.