Engel captures second WSOP bracelet of his career

8 October 2021

Ari Engel

Ari Engel (photo by WSOP)

Ari Engel of Canada earned his second career bracelet by winning Event #9: $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship at the 2021 World Series of Poker. Engel won after an epic heads-up battle against Zachary Milchman that lasted six hours and ended in a hand where Engel's two pair was good against his opponent's pair of eights.

With the victory, Engel secured a $317,076 cash and a coveted WSOP bracelet while Milchman, a Floridian who was after his first bracelet, earned a payday of $195,968 for his runner-up finish.

Engel, who won his first bracelet in Event #48: $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em at the 2019 WSOP, had to get through a field of 134 runners that included many of the biggest names in poker, including Erik Seidel, Mike Matusow, Shaun Deeb and Phil Hellmuth — who was seeking a record-setting 16th bracelet but ultimately fell short when he was eliminated in fifth place in the first level of play on Day 4.

Engel entered the final day with a big chip lead and used it to his advantage by putting pressure on his opponents, including Andrew Yeh and Eddie Blumenthal, both of whom were eliminated by the eventual champion.

"In these kinds of situations, it's a balance between wanting to put pressure on other players who presumably want to move up, and then at the same time kind of protecting your own chip lead," Engel told PokerNews about his strategy entering the day. "You've got to strike the right balance depending on how the other players are playing and how the stacks work out."

Engel had Milchman down to under a million chips at a point, but his heads-up opponent always found a way to climb back and the two exchanged chip leads multiple times throughout heads-up play.

"He played amazing and I easily could have lost it," Engel said. "It's not like I was crushing him or anything close to that."

Anyone in the Amazon Room at the Rio on Thursday likely heard the screams and cheers of a rambunctious group of Engel's friends on the rail — a group that Jason Koon at one point asked to quiet down as he played for all the marbles in an adjacent tournament.

"It's rare for me to have a crazy rail like I had today, so that's really exciting that I did have so many friends around," said Engel. "It made it all the sweeter."

Final Table Results
1 Ari Engel Canada $317,076
2 Zachary Milchman United States $195,968
3 Andrew Yeh United States $143,988
4 Eddie Blumenthal United States $107,204
5 Phil Hellmuth United States $80,894
6 George Wolff United States $61,877
7 Robert Mizrachi United States $47,987
8 Ben Landowski United States $37,738
9 Khamar Xaytavone United States $30,102

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)

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