Ari Engel Takes Down HPT St. Louis Event

The Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) is an emerging power in the poker industry and is one of the major tournament circuits that poker pros follow around the country. At the HPT St. Louis stop, Las Vegas-based grinder Ari Engel took down the tournament for over $142,000 and the title. Engel has 91 career cashes and has won over $1.16 million since starting his professional career back in 2006. Among those cashes, Engel has an impressive 39 final tables and a dozen wins.

Ari “Gold” Engel?

While most of the casual poker audience might not know who Engel is, tournament players that play in WPT, WSOP Circuit, and HPT events are certainly familiar with him. Engel has won six World Series of Poker Circuit rings (they do not give out bracelets) and now has an HPT event championship to his name. The 30-year-old pro has played around the world, participating in tournaments played in Manila, Prague, and London. However, the HPT event in St. Louis was his biggest single payday to date, made against a record field at the River City Casino and Hotel. The event was taped for a nationally televised broadcast of the Heartland Poker Tour.

Final Table Breakdown

Engel defeated runner-up Paul Fehlig of St. Louis in just eight hands courtesy of pocket sevens. For his work, Fehlig was able to wipe his tears with $87,696 for second place. New York player Ivan Montes was one of the big stories of the event, despite not making it to the final heads-up battle. He was able to take a $60 satellite entry into a whopping $57,456 third-place prize. Two other notable final-table members were stay-at-home dad Joe Sanfilippo of St. Louis for fifth place ($29,635) and local pro Andy Kazen who finished in eighth place for $16,330.

Raymer Returns, Bazely Fares Well

Greg “Fossilman” Raymer has been in and out of the spotlight since his affiliation with PokerStars ended, along with his run-in with the law. Last year, Raymer was able to win the HPT Championship against Jacob Bazeley. While Raymer did return to the Heartland Poker Tour, he did not fare well and was eliminated early in Day 2 for a non-cash placement. Last year’s aforementioned second place finisher, Bazeley, finished fourth place in this event and earned $39,917. To his credit, Bazeley has two wins, 21 final tables and 48 cashes on his resume, including $1.1 million in tournament earnings.

Other Notable Pros

There were other notable pros that played in the St. Louis HPT event. For their valiant efforts, Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler, Will “The Thrill” Failla, and Dennis Phillips all took home squadoosh as none cashed. Phillips, the local boy and former November Niner, did sport his trademark St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap.

More about the HPT

The HPT has been growing in the last few years and after gaining a national television contract has really gained popularity. After successful stops in California and Missouri, the tour heads to Las Vegas where the HPT Championship will be underway at the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower.

Final Table Roster and Payouts

River City Casino & Hotel
St. Louis, MO
November 11, 2013
Buy-in: $1650
Main Event: 420
Total Prize Pool: $604,800

1. Ari Engel (Las Vegas, Nevada) $142,125
2. Paul Fehlig (St. Louis, Missouri) $87,696
3. Jose Ivan Montes (Bronx, New York) $57,456
4. Jacob Bazeley (Cincinnati, Ohio) $39,917
5. Joseph Sanfilippo (St. Louis, Missouri) $29.635
6. Peter Brooks (St. Louis, Missouri) $22,982
7. Keith Brodie (Columbia, Missouri) $19,898
8. Andy Kazen (Chesterfield, Missouri) $16,330
9. Kyle Caslin (St. Louis, Missouri) $13,306

Sean Gibson
Written by
Sean Gibson
Sean Gibson has been an insider in the poker and casino industry for a number of years. Gibson has worked with many different media outlets and has covered events such as the World Series of Poker Main Event, the World Poker Tour Championship, and an infinite number of online events. He plays both 6-max and Full Ring No Limit Hold'em and can be found playing at either the Oceans 11 cardroom in Oceanside, CA or at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.

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