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2015/2016 WSOP Circuit - HARRAH'S ATLANTIC CITY (New Jersey)

Monday, March 21, 2016 to Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Event #7: $580 No-Limit Hold'em

download official reportdownload official winner photo
  • Buy-in: $580
  • Prizepool: $61,500
  • Entries: 123
  • Remaining: 0


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Wednesday, March 23, 2016 5:11 PM Local Time
Ari Engel

Ari Engel is the champion of Event #7 at Harrah’s, defeating a field of 123 entries to win his eighth career gold ring. That moves him back into a tie with Chris Reslock for second place on the all-time list, both men now just one behind current leader Alex Masek. In addition to the jewelry, Engel collected the top prize of $17,221 and 50 points toward the race for seats in the WSOP Global Casino Championship.

The champ is an accomplished professional poker player who lives in Las Vegas. He learned the game from his college roommate, Andrew Brown, who is himself a bracelet winner with an impressive list of poker accomplishments. In this case, the student has become the master to some extent, as Engel’s results easily rival those of his mentor.

“I just overall ran like god,” Engel reflected on this most recent in a long list of tournament wins. “Won all the flips, you know the way it goes.”

Engel absolutely dominated Day 1, entering the final table with more than 100 big blinds and 40% of the total chips in play. The nine finalists returned to the ballroom on Tuesday to play it out, though Day 2 seemed like a formality at times. “There was a lot of pressure because I started with huge chips,” Engel said. “I was getting congratulations messages before it even started. And I always put a lot of pressure on myself not to mess up.”

He did not mess up. There were a few small setbacks along the way, but Engel picked his way through the final table, taking an insurmountable lead into the head-up match against David Hom. The duel only lasted a few hands before Engel collected the last of his opponent's chips.

As was the case with Reslock after his own eighth win, Engel mentioned how much the race for rings means to him. “There’s a lot of added motivation because of the rings,” he said. “There’s a lot of heated competition to accumulate them, and there’s been a little drought for me lately.” After a moment, he caught himself, adding, “In rings, that is…”

Fresh off a massive seven-figure victory earlier this year in Australia, the rings still provide Engel plenty of motivation to play these Circuit events, which are admittedly a bit lower than he might otherwise play. “If I sit down, I’m going to treat it seriously,” he said. “I know that I want to play some higher buy-ins and some lower buy-ins. Every tournament I play, I want to treat it seriously and be professional.”

Engel made his name as one of the original heroes of online poker, but he’s adapting well to the current legal climate in his home country. “Things have changed a lot,” he said, thinking back to his first Circuit win nearly a decade ago. “I used to be an online player, but now I feel like I’m more of a live specialist,” he said. “Poker has completely changed.”

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 6:05 PM Local Time

Just as Chris Reslock did in Event #1, Ari Engel has just claimed his eighth career gold ring. That moves him back into a tie with Reslock for second place overall, and both men are now just one behind Alex Masek's all-time lead.

A recap of Engel's win will be published shortly.

Ari Engel
Ari Engel - Winner ($17,221)


David Hom
David Hom - 2nd place ($10,643)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 5:31 PM Local Time

Binds are 8,000/16,000 with a 2,000 ante to begin the heads-up battle, and things are rather lopsided in Ari Engel's favor: 

Ari Engel - 1,312,000 (82 bb)
David Hom - 164,000 (10 bb)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 5:30 PM Local Time
Johanssy Joseph
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 5:14 PM Local Time
Mark Kerrigan
Gorilla Gaming
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 4:43 PM Local Time
Norman Rodriguez
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 3:34 PM Local Time
Sal Poma
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 3:21 PM Local Time
Stephen Baggett
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 2:26 PM Local Time
Ryan Meyers
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 2:15 PM Local Time
Jiacong Zhang
Gorilla Gaming
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 2:12 PM Local Time
The final nine players are seated at the featured table in the front of the room, and the cards are in the air.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 12:41 AM Local Time

Scott Blumstein is eliminated in tenth place, reducing the field to the final table of nine. That signals the end of Day 1, and the bags are out for the finalists. Here's how the table is laid out: 

Seat 1: Ryan Meyers - 64,000 (11 bb)
Seat 2: Jiacong Zhang - 40,000 (7 bb)
Seat 3: Stephen Baggett - 131,000 (22 bb)
Seat 4: Ari Engel - 621,000 (104 bb)
Seat 5: Norman Rodriguez - 165,000 (28 bb)
Seat 6: Mark Kerrigan - 27,000 (5 bb)
Seat 7: David Hom - 170,000 (28 bb)
Seat 8: Johanssy Joseph - 174,000 (29 bb)
Seat 9: Salvatore Poma - 91,000 (15 bb)

Engel is the man to beat right now, both on this leaderboard and the all-time list of ring winners. A victory here would secure his eighth gold ring and tie him with Chris Reslock, who is one behind current leader Alex Masek. There's a lot of poker left to be played before the ring is handed out, though. Everyone remaining is guaranteed to earn at least $1,555, while a top prize of $17,221 awaits the eventual winner.

Blinds will be 3,000/6,000 with a 1,000 ante when the final table begins, so the average stack is just over 27 big blinds. Play resumes Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. with 25 minutes left in Level 19.

Monday, March 21, 2016 11:39 PM Local Time

Justin Liberto is eliminated in 11th place, reducing the field to ten. They've just redrawn for new seats around the last table left in play where. Action will continue until one more player is eliminated, and the final nine will return tomorrow to play for the ring.

Monday, March 21, 2016 10:00 PM Local Time

After a brief period of hand-for-hand play, the Event #7 field crosses into the money with 15 players remaining. Each of them are now guaranteed to earn $1,038.

Blinds are 1,500/3,000 with a 500 ante, and the average stack is just shy of 33 big blinds. Day 1 will continue until the end of Level 21 or until the final table is set, whichever comes first.

Monday, March 21, 2016 7:51 PM Local Time

The starting field of 123 players is reduced to 27, and they're now drawing for new seats around the final three tables in play. Seven-time ring winner Ari Engel is among the current chip leaders, looking to re-tie Chris Reslock who claimed his eighth here last week.

With the blinds at 800/1,600 and a 200 ante, the average stack is just over 45 big blinds.

Gorilla Gaming
Monday, March 21, 2016 6:11 PM Local Time

Registration is closed for Event #7, and the numbers are in. This $580 event has officially drawn a field of 123 entries, generating a prizepool worth $61,500. That money will be shared by the final 15 players with a min-cash worth $1,038. The winner will collect the series' seventh gold ring and $17,221 in cash.

A full breakdown of the payouts can be found in the Prizepool tab.

Monday, March 21, 2016 4:28 PM Local Time

Level 8 concludes, and the players are on another break. When the new level begins, registration will close, so this is the final chance to join the Event #7 field. The board shows 110 entries with the official numbers pending finalization by the tournament staff.

Monday, March 21, 2016 2:08 PM Local Time

The first four levels are complete, and the field is on their first break of the day. The number on the board has ticked over into triple digits, showing 104 entries so far. Late registration is available through the next break.

Monday, March 21, 2016 12:00 PM Local Time

The first of two $580 ring events is just getting under way at Harrah's Atlantic City. This event gives players 12,000 starting chips to work with, 20% more than the $365 events. The first 12 levels are 30 minutes apiece, increasing to 40 minutes thereafter. Action will continue for 21 levels today with a dinner break after twelve.

Cards are in the air.