We’re here to report another big poker tournament win at a WSOP (World Series of Poker) Circuit Event. The unique $160 buy-in Mega Millions XVIII Quantum Reload Event was held at the Bicycle Hotel & Casino at Los Angeles, and was contested between 16 and 29 March, due to an enormous field of 6,087 entries.
A good turnout is always seen at the Bike Casino and this time was no different, with the original prizepool of $1 million more than doubling itself to $2,019,142. After days of grinding and overpowering this huge field, it was Canadian poker pro Alan Engel, popularly known as Ari Engel, who shipped the tournament for $315,142.
Engel has been around the live poker circuit for almost 12 years and this win took his lifetime earnings very close to the $6 million mark. He went into the final table just behind China’s Min Zhang in the chip count, but he was the most experienced pro on that table, and him winning wasn’t too surprising.
This was the third highest win of his career, after a $347k win in an EPT Barcelona event, and a massive $1.1 million win at the Aussie Millions, both in 2016. He went into heads up with more than a 2:1 chips lead against Min Zhang, a complete newbie on the poker circuit, and someone who had as little as $375 in live tournament earnings before this tournament.
It wasn’t too long before the inexperienced Zhang lost all her chips to Engel and settled for $178,565 for second-place. In what would be the final hand, she held pocket queens against Engel’s A-5. The board opened 5-5-3, followed by 9 and 10 on the turn and river. Unluckily, Zhang couldn’t improve on her Q-pair and Engel swept the pot, the championship, and a $4,300 seat to next Mega Millions.
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