Ari Engel only seems to win. With his victory this past weekend over a 495-player field in the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Engel notched his 22nd career win. He also took home a $114,876 first-place prize and 1,500 Player of the Year points.
Ari Engel a Future Poker Hall of Famer?
The win marked Engel’s second victory of the year so far after he took down the PokerStars Championship Panama Event #34: $1,100 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Max last month. He’s also known for winning the 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event for a career-high $1,120,110 and capturing eight World Series of Poker Circuit rings. In addition to all that, he has APPT, HPT, Borgata, and SHRPO titles under his belt.
His MSPT win marked his first cash on that tour, and it only came because Engel, who earlier this year won an American Poker Award for “Tournament Performance of the Year,” was limited in what he could play this past weekend.
“There’s a Jewish holiday [Passover] that starts tomorrow night, so I didn’t want to play any tournament that went into Monday,” Engel told tournament officials after the win. “That excluded some tournaments. I was looking around and this looked like a good one. I was in Florida last week, went to the WSOP Circuit in Council Bluffs for one day, and then came here.”
Engel doesn’t have a home, instead spending the past few years living out of a suitcase traveling from stop to stop. So, what’s next for the poker vagabond?
“I’m going back to Florida for the holiday with the parents, and then I’m in the tank between going to England for the partypoker Nottingham series of the WSOP Circuit in Cherokee,” he said.
Toughest Final Table in MSPT History
Among the 45 players to cash the tournament were WSOP Circuit Potawatomi High Roller champ Nadya Magnus (42nd for $2,393), MSPT Season 6 Player of the Year Mark Hodge (36th for $2,872), and two-time champ Jeremy Dresch (16th for $4,643).
The final table ended up being what many were calling the toughest final table in MSPT history. It included not only Engel, but also reigning MSPT Player of the Year Rich Alsup, WSOP bracelet winner Alex Ziskin, poker pro Jim Juvancic, and MSPT Season 7 Meskwaki champ Keith Heine, who had made a MSPT final table just two weeks earlier.
Hein exited in third place after his king-four failed to get there against the ace-eight of Minnesota’s Carlos Monteiro. Heine earned 1,200 points toward the MSPT Season 8 Kimo Sabe Mezcal Player of the Year race, which along with the 1,000 points he got in the MSPT’s 100th Main Event, put him atop the POY leaderboard with 2,200 total points.
In what would be the final hand of the tournament, which took place in Level 32 (80,000/160,000/20,000), Engel raised the button to 355,000 with the A♦J♠ and quickly called when Monteiro three-bet jammed for 3.2 million with the 8♣8♦. The A♣A♠2♠ flop gave Engel trips, and he held onto the lead through the 7♥ turn and 5♣ river.
With that, Monteiro had to settle for runner-up and a $69,405 consolation prize, while Engel etched his name in MSPT history. Season 8 of the MSPT will continue April 21-30 at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota, which is minutes south of the Twin Cities.
Final Table Results
1 Ari Engel (Las Vegas, NV) $114,876
2 Carlos Monteiro (Minneapolis, MN) $69,405
3 Keith Heine (Hillsboro, MO) $45,232
4 George Dietz (Oak Park, IL) $31,352
5 Jim Juvancic (Westchester, IL) $23,933
6 Alex Ziskin (Vernon Hills, IL) $18,428
7 Brad Jansen (West Bend, WI) $15,317
8 Dan Crawford (Arlington, WI) $12,684
9 Patrick McCullough (Grand Rapids, MI) $10,722
10 Rich Alsup (New Hope, MN) $8,137
Editor’s Note: CardsChat and MSPT share a cross-promotional alliance. Chad Holloway is Media Director for MSPT.