Three live tournament results to bring you up to speed on including Elliot Smith winning the PokerStars Championship Main Event in Macau, Blair Hinkle winning his fourth World Series of Poker Circuit gold ring in Council Bluffs, and Ari Engel winning the Mid-States Poker Tour Main Event in Milwaukee.
I thought I would die three times. The first was taking a cab ride to meet Jeff Sarwer for dinner in Estonia where I was sure the taxi driver was going to kill me, bugger me and rob me blind. My second dance with death was on a ski lift when I was too cool to lock the bar down. The third happened in Venice when covering the heads-up of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Main Event. Alessio Isaia beat Szabolcs Mayer after an eight hours bore fest. I thought I was going to slash my aorta with my notepad. And so I feel for the poor souls who had to watch Elliot Smith and Tianyuan Tang duke it out for the PokerStars Championship Main Event title in Macau.
The event attracted 536 entrants, and it only took two hours of play to condense the final table from six to two. Both Smith and Tang then took an hour break to discuss a deal and came back after agreeing to each share HK$2,577,500 and play for HK$300,000 and the title.
And boy, did they play.
It took a further 11-hours of heads-up action before the Poker Gods got bored and decided to intervene. Smith looked down at AK and limped into the hand hoping that Tang would move his last 25 big blinds into the middle which he duly did.
Tang turned over a pair of sixes, and it looked all over when he flopped a set. But Smith then turned a flush draw and hit it on the river to win the first major title of his career.
The HK$2,877,500 prize converts to around $370,246, not the type of money you are accustomed to seeing at the top end of a PokerStars pay scale but it seems to be the stark reality these days.
So Smith got his title, and PokerStars got their next advertising campaign after Avraham Oziel, who qualified online in a Spin & Go game, finished fourth for $122,236 after having his aces cracked by the pocket sevens of Tang who flopped a set.
Final Table Results
1. Elliot Smith $370,246
2. Tianyuan Tang – $331,645
3. Daniel Laidlaw – $221,826
4. Avraham Oziel – $164,697
5. Aymon Hata – $122,236
6. Pete Chen – $90,712
Fabrice Soulier finished ninth, Winfred Yu 14th, and David Peters 37th.
Blair Hinkle Wins Fourth WSOC Gold Ring at Council Bluffs
When it comes to finding the comfortable spots in the poker world, for Blair Hinkle it’s in the poker room at Council Bluffs, Iowa. Hinkle has won his fourth World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) gold ring and earned all four of them in the same casino.
Hinkle took down Event #9: $1,125 No-Limit Hold’em. He defeated a field of 77 entrants, including Richard Fitzgerald in heads-up action, to take the first prize of $26,181.
The 2008 World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner is famed for winning three WSOPC Main Events in Council Bluffs in a four-year span. He is the only player to win three WSOPC Main Events in the same casino, and the only player to successfully defend the same title when he did so in 2013 & 2014. Maurice Hawkins and Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson are the only other players ever to win three WSOPC Main Event gold rings.
Final Table Results
1. Blair Hinkle – $26,181
2. Richard Fitzgerald – $16,198
3. Charlie Nguyen – $10,663
4. Joseph Velasquez – $7,464
5. William Berry – $5,532
6. Benjamine Keeline – $4,326
7. John Feregrino – $3,560
8. T.M Williams – $3,076
Ari Engel Takes Down the Mid-States Poker Tour Main Event in Milwaukee
American Poker Award winner Ari Engel has beaten 495 entrants to win the $1,100 Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) Main Event at the Potawatomi Casino, Milwaukee for $114,876.
The tour stop and casino decided to slap a $200,000 guarantee on the event, and it dragged in more than double that amount earning $478,650 for the 45 players who made money.
Incredibly, given Engel’s notoriety as one of the hardest working live grinders on the mid-high stakes tours, this is his one and only live cash in an MSPT event according to his Hendon Mob resume.
Earlier in the week, Engel finished 8/116 in the $25,500 High Roller at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for $78,300, and also won a side event at the PokerStars Championship in Panama for $26,270, beating a field of 131 entrants.
Engel earned a career defining $2m last year, bolstered by that Aussie Millions Main Event win. So far this year he is up to $320,477, and we haven’t even gotten started.
The Global Poker Index (GPI) ranks him thirteenth in the world and sixth in the Player of the Year race. Last season, he finished in that very position.
Final Table Results
1. Ari Engel – $114,876
2. Carlos Monteiro – $69,405
3. Keith Heine – $45,232
4. George Dietz – $31,352
5. James Juvancic – $23,933
6. Alex Ziskin – $18,428
7. Bradley Jansen – $15,317
8. Daniel Crawford – $12,684
9. Patrick McCullough – $10,722
10. Richard Alsup – $8,137