Ari Engel Moves to Top of World Series of Poker Circuit Ring Leaderboard with Back-to-Back Wins

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Canadian pro Ari Engel added two more World Series of Poker Circuit rings to his collection by going back-to-back in events at the inaugural series at Graton Casino and Resort this week. His 15 rings put him in a tie on the top of the WSOP Circuit leaderboard with Maurice Hawkins.

Ari Engel
Going to need a bigger bag: Ari Engel won his 15th WSOP Circuit Ring a day after he won his 14th in Northern California. (Image: WSOP)

Double bip

Engel, 39, plays in a ton of events every year and it pays off for the professional player who is now based in Las Vegas. With $8.3 million in tournament winnings, the two-time WSOP bracelet winner should be noted and accounted for at every table he comes to, no matter if that’s in Indiana, California, or online in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Engel has already cashed 41 times in 2023 — in WSOP events alone (including online events). He even travels to states where online Circuit events are taking place just to win them — two so far this year: The $525 Main in Pennsylvania in March, and a $215 event in Michigan in July count for half the rings he won this year.

The other two came this week in the Bay Area.

First, on Aug, 15, Engel was the last of 61 entrants who put up $400 in the H.O.R.S.E event for his 14th WSOP Circuit ring and $6,647. The top nine were paid at least $632, and the only guy who had any WSOP hardware was Engel.

WSOP Circuit $400 H.O.R.S.E. final table

Place Player Payout
1 Ari Engel $6,647
2 Luis Olsen $4,108
3 Eduardo Palmerin $2,693
4 Jesse Rios $1,851
5 Rick Green $1,337
6 Scott Balfour $1,017
7 Kory Swekla $818
8 David Turner $697

The very next day, Engel won the $400 Pot-Limit Big O event, which also saw 61 entrants. This time the top 10 earned at least $576. Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler snuck in under the bubble. He was hunting for his fourth WSOP Circuit ring. Third-place finisher Kenneth Po was looking for his second.

WSOP Circuit $400 Pot-Limit Big O final table

Place Player Payout
1 Ari Engel $6,564
2 Jonathan Malcolm $4,056
3 Kenneth Po $2,691
4 Nicholas Mccabe $1,859
5 Christopher Watson $1,340
6 Christopher Linger $1,010
7 Eugene Chun $797
8 Rick Green $681

Engel’s rise to the top

Engel begin his rise to the top of this list in 2007 when he won his first WSOP Circuit win in a $300 event at Caesars Atlantic City for $63,018. It was the largest cash for the then 23-year-old, and he really hasn’t looked back since. He’s won Circuit rings in nine different states since then.

While Engel won three rings this year, his current co-occupant of the top spot, Maurice Hawkins, added one to his collection in North Carolina in May. Hawkins’ first ring came in 2009 and his last five came in 2018, 2019 (two), 2020 and 2023.

Unlike Engel, Hawkins doesn’t own a WSOP bracelet. Engel’s two came in the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8OB Championship in 2021 and in a $2,500 event in 2019.

Engel has a chance to add to his WSOP Circuit win tally in Cali as six more events at this series, including the $1,700 Main, takes place at Graton Casio until Monday.

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