25 Jun

Ari Engel Wins First WSOP Bracelet in EV#48 NLH

Toronto poker pro Ari Engel picks up first gold + $427k at WSOP

Toronto Poker Pro Ari Engel Picks Up First Gold + $427k at WSOP

At 35 years of age, Ari Engel has now seen it all. He’s dominated the online poker realm, captured a 7-figure crown in the live tournament sector, and after having already won 9 gold rings, finally claimed the most coveted piece of poker jewelry in the world – a WSOP bracelet.

Ari found his way through a field of 996 players in the 50th Annual World Series of Poker Event #48 on Thursday, a $2,500 No Limit Hold’em tournament that he described as one of his greatest accomplishments due to the intense competition involved. Coming into the final table, his goal, in fact, was to squeak into heads-up play against Pablo Melogno of Uruguay, then finish in second. But one very opportune river card changed everything, giving him the lead and, before long, the win over Melogno.

Countdown to Gold for the Toronto Poker Pro

As the final table got underway, US poker pro Josh Arieh earned the honor of being the first to greet the railbirds. He pushed his stack against the kings of Ben Keeline, winner of the 2016 WSOP Colossus II, and never recovered. Arieh cashed out in 9th for $30,643.

Another American, Ryan Olisar was left the short stack, while Pablo Melogno held a commanding lead. Ari kicked off back-to-back eliminations, sending Olisar out in 8th for $39,980, followed by Truyen Nguyen in 7th for $52,909. That double-kill put Ari Engel on top going into 6-handed play.

Next out was James Hughes, eliminated in 6th ($71,010) by Keeline. 2x WSOP bracelet winner David “Bakes” Baker wasn’t far behind in 5th ($96,632) at the hand of Engel. Ben Keeline lost the wind in his sails to Wilbern Hoffman; his ship sunk soon after by Melogno. Keeline collected $133,306 for the 4th place eviction. 3-handed play didn’t last long before Wilbern Hoffman was ousted in 3rd ($186,392) by Melogno, giving the Uruguayan back the lead going into the final two.

One decisive hand turned the tides back into Ari’s favor when he rivered a straight to reclaim the lead and all but 7 big blinds worth of the tournament’s chips. Melogno’s tournament life was ended soon after. He collected a respectable $264,104 for runner up. Engel captured the WOSP bracelet, adding $472,399 to his bank, and bringing his live event career total to $6,652,926.

A Bit of Ari Engel History

If the name isn’t familiar already, Ari Engel is one of the world’s elite online and live poker pros. Hailing from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, he calls the “world” his home. He got his start long ago at Bodog Poker under the unassuming by soon-to-be infamous moniker “BodogAri”, and never looked back.

Ari turned to the live circuit in 2006, and although it was a slow start, he’s averaged over two dozen tournament cashes per year since, including 28 phenomenal 1st place routings and 12 runner up finishes, not to mention earning the AU$1.6 million Crown of Australian poker at the 2016 Aussie Millions Poker Championship.

The only thing holding Ari back is his own lack of self-confidence. Even after donning the bracelet on Thursday, the young Toronto poker pro told WSOP media:

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.”

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