8 Minutes Read
If Ari Engel (cover image) missed winning an Aussie Millions title in the Mix Max event three years ago, the Canadian pro more than made up for it by taking down the same event at the ongoing 2019 Aussie Millions series!
Engel came out all guns blazing at the fifth event of the series that pulled in 284 entries and was played through three different formats at different stages – full ring, six-max and finally heads-up. In the final match of the eight-player heads-up bracket, Engel defeated Charlie Hawes to win his second Aussie Millions ring and A$65,400 in prize money.
Aussie Millions has in Engel’s own words, proved to be, ”by far his most profitable venue in the world to play.” He had, in 2016 won his first Aussie Millions title in the A$10,600 NLHE Main Event (A$1,600,000).
“I mean obviously it’s just because of one tournament, but why would I not come back?” Engel said. “Just being at the Crown there’s automatically a sense of deja vu. It feels good, but I’m too tired to feel much.”
“Charlie played really well. There’s a good chance if the cards were reversed he would have won,” Engel said, talking about his heads-up opponent, Hawes. When only Engel and Hawes remained in the field, the duo had discussed the possibility of postponing the final match until later, but then decided to go ahead and play down for the title.
The two-day tournament started out as a full-ring tournament but when once the field whittled down to 60 players, the seats were redrawn and play commenced six-handed.
By the time Day 1 concluded, only 35 were left standing with Engel leading the lot with close to 200,000 in chips.
Usman Siddique, Russell Thomas, Jan Suchanek, Jesse Sylvia, Jack Sinclair, Maria Lampropulos, and Shootout Champion Justin Liberto, sadly didn’t find bags to carry forward.
Day 2 saw notables like Dzmitry Urbanovich (31st for A($2,330), Kenny Hallaert (32nd for A$2,330), Andreas Klatt (33rd for A$2,330) and Julien Sitbon (35th for A$2,330) hitting the rail early. Later, Marc Macdonnell (14th for A$3,345) and Aymon Hata (13th for A$3,345) were also eliminated.
The six-handed play continued right till only eight finalists remained in contention. The eight-handed play then continued in heads-up format.
The quarterfinal draw of the Shot Clock Shootout was Casey Kastle versus Alex Lee, Jack Salter versus Ari Engel, Charlton Hawes versus Friedrich Martin and Sarah Bilney versus Hwan Park.
The first two matches saw upsets as the top two seeds in the heads-up bracket were eliminated.
In the Hwan Park versus Sarah Bilney match, Bilney was shown the door and joined the rail in eighth place.
As the quarter final matches played out between Engel and Jack Salter, it was Engel from the second match who booked his place in the semi-finals, while Salter was eliminated in seventh place.
“He had all the pressure because I was the short stack. I got it in bad first hand and doubled up, and from then on it was kind of a match,” Engel said, about his collision with Salter. “It was really cool to be able to play a guy that play High Rollers heads-up and not for too much money at that stage. It was a weird experience!”
With Hawes defeating Friedrich Martin, the latter collected a sixth place payout.
Casey Kastle had started off as the biggest stack among the eight finalists, i.e. 706,000 and his match with Lee turned out to be the longest, as Kastle was eliminated by Lee in fifth place.
The final four contenders namely Lee, Engel, Hawes and Park sailed into the semi-finals.
1. Alex Lee – 804,000
2. Ari Engel – 731,000
3. Hwan Park – 672,000
4. Charlie Hawes -636,000
In the semi-finals, Engel quickly won his heads-up match to eliminate Hwan Park in fourth place.
The second match, between Alex Lee and Hwan Park took considerably longer and eventually, Hawes called an all-in move from Lee on the river with top pair. Lee turned over a rivered pair but it wasn’t enough to keep him in the tournament.
1. Charlie Hawes – 1,440,000
2. Ari Engel – 1,403,000
Ari Engel entered the heads-up clash with Charlie Hawes very close in chips. The match got underway late at night, and culminated with Engel pocketing the title, along with his second Aussie Millions ANTON Championship ring.
An exhausted but ecstatic Engel said after the match, “I feel really good here. I have friends here railing so it’s really good.”
Final Results (AUD)
1. Ari Engel – A$65,400
2. Charlie Hawes – A$53,800
3. Alex Lee – A$23,665
4. Hwan Park – A$23,655
5. Casey Kastle – A$9,835
6. Friedrich Martin – A$9,835
7. Jack Salter – A$9,835
8. Sarah Bilney – A$9,835
Images & Content courtesy: PokerNews/crownmelbourne.com.au
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