Ari Engel Takes the Fifth
Toronto Poker Pro Moves into Three-Way Tie for Second in All-Time WSOP Circuit Wins
Poker Action Continues at Palm Beach with Seventh Gold Ring Event
West Palm Beach, FL (February 21, 2013)
– Ari Engel
has enjoyed many high points during a poker career that's approaching eight years now, but the thrill of Thursday night's victory at the Palm Beach Kennel Club was especially gratifying.
For one thing, Engel inched one step closer to the career wins lead on the list for most gold rings. Engel now has five golden victories, just one short of the all-time wins leader, Alexandru Masek (who has six). With his triumph in the $580 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tournament played over two days (Event 7), Engel joined the illustrious company which also includes Mark “Pegasus” Smith, Kyle Cartwright, and Kurt Jewell – each with five wins as well.
Despite the victory, which paid the handsome sum of $26,501 and the satisfaction of defeating a formidable lineup of foes, Engel was most pleased to have some special company in the crowd.. Although he's ended up at the champion four previous times, until this night Engel had never earned a victory in front of his parents.
Engel made this evening special for everyone – including the entire Engel family, which was able to celebrate together for the first time. Both parents, who live in Florida, were able to come and watch their son play. At each of the previous stops which included a victory, there was no such time to prepare for a trip in such a short time frame. In fact, Engel later noted that it was his parents living here in Florida which motivated him to fly across the country from the previous WSOP Circuit stop in Las Vegas and participate here in South Florida.
Engel now has a remarkable 24 WSOP Circuit cashes to go along with 10 in-the-money finishes in gold bracelt events at the WSOP. His career earnings in WSOP-related events along now totals around $300,000.
Following his victory, Engel sat down for a short interview, which went as follows:
Question – What does it mean to now be in such select company, with four of the most accomplished players in WSOP Circuit history?
Engel – Well, it's very special. Not very many people have done this. I play a lot of these events, so it's good that one of the grinders ends up getting a few more wins.
Question – For sure. Do you think a rivalry is now developing between you, Kyle, Kurt, Mark, an Alex?
Engel – There's a very friendly rivalry between us. Sure. Some of these guys have been around for a long time. We see each other a lot and because we are some of the more aggressive players we bump heads a lot in tournaments around the country. Like when Alex (Masek) got his sixth gold ring, well I was 18th in that event. He busted me, in fact. So, he got some chips that way – even though he already had a lot of chips. So, I made my own contribution, I guess you could say. But seriously, competition is good because everyone tries to get better.
Question – Let's talk about where we might be two seasons from now. One of you is most certainly going to have seven or maybe even eight gold rings. If you were handicapping the field of the five of you, who would you make out to be the favorite?
Engel – The question you are asking is not really a skill question. It's a matter of who puts in the most volume. The player who puts in the most volume is the one who is most likely to have the most rings. If you look over the last two months, then I'm the favorite. I mean, I've been putting in the most volume over the past two months, but over time, that's probably not likely to be the case....Alex (Masek) doesn't grind that much, he's more of a West Coast guy. What's funny about Alex is, I had not really heard much of him and all the sudden he had five rings. He's a phenomenal player. I'm not sure Kyle (Cartwright) plays that many events. But I know Kurt (Jewell) does, so he's probably the favorite, but then, I can sure see Kyle getting excited again and starting to grind. It's really hard to say.
Question – What do you figure your chances are to hit a sixth gold ring by end of this season? Is that a reasonable expectation?
Engel – No. That's not reasonable to expect to get one more. The real expectation is to get none. But it would be awesome to get one more and I'll certainly be trying.
Question – You have two special fans here with you tonight. Talk about having your parents here with you.
Engel – Yeah, it was awesome having my parents here. I probably would not have come to this stop if they did not live down here. But I was able to combine the two things, visiting and playing and could stay at their house. My dad even made me lunch today, sort of like Daniel Negreanu's mother used to do for him. His mother used to pack a lunch for him and I get that treatment here. No, it's really great. It was awesome having them show up and rail me. Actually, this is the first time that's ever happened. There hasn't been a big enough one yet for them to fly out to, so this one came at just the right time and place. So, this is a phenomenal experience and I'm so glad I won in front of them. It's great.
Question – So, what's next – a WSOP gold bracelet?
Engel – First, I'm already looking at New Orleans (the WSOP National Championship). I'm focusing on getting there and playing my best in the championship.