Ari Engel Wins AmeristarSC Championship Open For $162,154

1 year ago
Ari Engel Wins AmeristarSC Championship Open For $162,154
13 Dec


Toronto pro Alan ‘Ari’ Engel took down the Heartland Poker Tour’s AmeristarSC Championship Open yesterday for $162,154 and in the process secured the Season XIII Player of the Year honors.

Just last month Engel surpassed the $5million milestone in live tournament earnings with a 5th place finish at the Rock ‘n' Roll Poker Open in Hollywood and this week he consolidated his 12th spot in the all-time Canadian earners list – topped of course by Daniel Negreanu with $35,269,815.

A field of 316 players fancied their chances at the Ameristar Casino Resort Spa in ST. Charles, the $2500 buy-in Championship Open boasting a prizefund of $704,996 and featuring no fewer than seventeen past champions among the hopefuls.

Engel’s final table journey was an eventful one, coming in as chip leader and reduced to the short-stack by the time they were 6-handed, later commenting:

“I got lucky in a few spots and kind of maneuvered my way there. The players were really good. It takes a lot of skill, but it takes a lot of luck to get there. You can never assume you’re going to win it.”

Among his rivals – a mixture of seasoned pros and local amateurs – was attorney Bill Byrnes, the HPT updates noting that Byrnes had ‘won two satellites into the event earlier in the week. After selling one, he technically had $0 invested in the tournament’, his eventual sixth-place finish earning him $28,200 for his weekend’s work.

For Engel, it was a heads-up battle against Jacob Bazeley which sealed the title win, the final hand seeing the pair get the chips in the middle ‘with Bazeley’s king-queen ahead of Engel’s eight-four’.

When a four appeared on the turn, the Ohio man was drawing thin amd when the river bricked it a 2nd place finish for the Cincinnatti man, collecting $102,647 for his runner-up finish.

For Engel, the victory was just enough for him to overtake Gary Herstein and become HPT’s Season XIII Player of the Year, earning him complimentary buy-ins to six HPT Main Events along with hotel accommodations in 2018.

“That’s amazing,” said the new champ. “Such a great added bonus to be player of the year. I’m really happy.”

Final table results

1Alan ‘Ari’ Engel
2Jacob Bazeley
$102, 647
3Neil Mittleman
4Neil Patel
5Gil George
6William Byrnes
7Joshua Turner
8Harold Evans
9Paul Belken

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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