June 22, 2019 (Las Vegas) - Ari Engel is the winner of the $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em. He topped a field of 996 and takes home $427,399 and the World Series of Poker gold bracelet, his first.
He has won almost $7-million in tournament winnings and has just now won his first bracelet. He has nine circuit rings and, thinks that the bracelet is a greater accomplishment. A big reason for that is that he feels the field in this $2,500 No-Limit tournament was a very tough field.
He also says you have to be willing to lose a lot and keep entering tournaments.
“I’m very competitive and poker’s a game of losing a lot. I lose my confidence very easily so I should be good to go for tomorrow at least,” he said.
He says his goal was to get heads up with Pablo Melogno and then take second place, but thanks to a well-timed jack on the river, Engel took a huge lead and finished his opponent off shortly after.
“Oh my god, I sucked out like so many times this tournament it’s ridiculous. You have to get real lucky, but I got unlucky on other days.”
Engel is the second player today to win his first bracelet. Earlier, Stephen Chidwick won the $25,000 PLO for his first bracelet.
“It’s more crazy that Stephen Chidwick hadn’t won one before. Us huge field no-limit players, there’s no real due. You play these, you expect to win one in a lifetime, maybe. I expect to f*** it up somewhere along the line and just blow it up. I did that, I’m sure, a few times and I got lucky instead of losing the tournament. It’s a relief to not mess it up whenever I win a tournament because most of the time I do end up messing it up.”
Engel’s confidence is what he says stops him from playing bigger. He also says he has no reason to believe he can play bigger, outside of the occasional shot at a $25K.
“There’s no reason to think I should be able to play bigger, even if I won a $2,500. I’m not at all confident to play a $25K, every now and then I’ll take a shot But I don’t belong with those guys, not even close. They’re sick good, way better than any of us,” Engel said.
Engel has tournament wins at every level and in many different countries. He now has $6,652,926 in career live tournament winnings and is in the top 200 on the all-time money list. Despite what Engel says, it feels like he has set himself apart with consistent results at every level of play.
The final table started with Josh Arieh being eliminated by Colossus II winner Ben Keeline. Arieh got all in against Keeline’s kings and couldn’t catch up. He took home $30,643 for his ninth place finish.
Melogno held the chip lead eight handed. Ryan Olisar was the second shortest stack and he was eliminated in eighth. Olisar was eliminated by Ari Engel. He took home $39,980.
Then it was Truyen Nguyen hitting the rail in seventh place. Engel busted Nguyen with jacks and Nguyen took home $52,909 and that hand put Engel into the chip lead with six players left.
The eliminations kept coming with James Hughes falling in sixth place to Keeline. He won $71,010 for his finish.
Then Engel knocked out two-time WSOP bracelet winner David “Bakes” Baker to extend his lead. Baker took home $96,632 for his fifth-place finish.
Wilbern Hoffman took a chunk out of Keeline’s stack and, eventually, Keeline was eliminated in fourth place. He was eliminated by Melogno, who took the lead three-handed.
Melogno went on to bust Hoffman in third place. Hoffman took home $186,392 for his finish and Melogno took a big chip lead into heads up play.
Engel won a huge pot to leave Melogno with just seven big blinds, after Engel rivered a straight. He went on to win shortly after that hand and add his name to WSOP history with his first bracelet win.
Final Table Payouts: (Click here for a list of the full results)
1) Ari Engel ($427,399)
2) Pablo Melogno ($264,104)
3) Wilbern Hoffman ($186,392)
4) Ben Keeline ($133,306)
5) David “Bakes” Baker ($96,632)
6) James Hughes ($71,010)
7) Truyen Nguyen ($52,909)
8) Ryan Olisar ($39,980)
9) Josh Arieh ($30,643)