Ari Engel Scores Biggest Career Win on HPT

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Ari Engel Scores Biggest Career Win on HPT

St. Louis, MO Las Vegas-based poker pro Ari Engel has made a name for himself in poker with 91 career cashes totaling over $1.16 million since 2006. His enviable live tournament resume includes 39 Final Tables and a dozen wins.  He’s got more World Series of Poker Circuit rings than he could wear on one hand. The 30-year-old has traveled the world collecting paychecks in London, Prague, and Manila, but it was a stop in America’s Heartland that earned him his biggest payday to date. Engel took down a record field at River City Casino and Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri for $142,125 on the nationally-televised Heartland Poker Tour.

Engel’s pocket sevens ended his heads-up match with Paul Fehlig of St Louis in eight hands. The runner-up earned $87,696 for his national TV debut.     

All the way from Bronx, New York, Jose Ivan Montes saw the best ROI of the event. He turned a $60 satellite entry into $57,456 in third place.  The cash comes at a good time for Montes and his family with a baby on the way.

Stay-at-home dad Joseph Sanfilippo of St Louis plans to give his kids a great Christmas after his $200 investment took him to fifth place for $29,635. Another area player, Andy Kazen, turned $160 into $16,330 in eighth place.  Kazen is well-known in the St Louis poker scene for his radio program, “Two Guys Talking Poker.” 

Another recognizable player at Monday’s Final Table was Jacob Bazeley of Cincinnati. His poker resume includes over $1.1 million in career earnings, two wins, 21 Final Tables and 48 cashes.  HPT viewers will know him best from his heads-up match with Greg “Fossilman” Raymer at HPT’s Championship Open last year.  The battle resulted in Raymer’s historic fourth-straight win on HPT.  Bazeley fared better than Raymer this time around; he earned $39,917 in fourth place while the world champ was eliminated early in Day 2.

River City Casino’s new hotel and tournament reputation proved to be a draw for HPT’s latest event in St Louis.   Over 5,000 entries were sold in the series and the Main Event saw a 25 percent increase over the same stop last year.  “I think River City is probably the best casino in the area,” said Kazen of Two Guys Talking Poker, “They do the best job running an event.”

Raymer was one of many notable players who traveled cross country and left empty-handed, including Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler, Will “The Thrill” Failla, Dennis Phillips, Stan Jablonski, and Craig Casino. The local grinders kept much of the $600k prize pool in St Louis.  Area business owner Peter Brooks collected $22,982 in sixth place one hand after another local entrepreneur, Keith Brodie, was eliminated in seventh place for $19,898. The first player to go was St Louis’s Kyle Caslin. He made the best of his day 2 short stack and ascended to ninth place for $13,306.

HPT anticipates field sizes will continue to grow for the rest of the 2013 tour after successful stops from St Louis to California this fall. The next champion will be named on Monday at the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower in Las Vegas.  Information about upcoming stops can be found at HPTpoker.com.

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