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 prize and a coveted WSOP bracelet while Milchman, a Floridian who was looking for his first bracelet, earned a payday of $195,968 for his runner-up finish.
Event #9: $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship
|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|
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 substantial chip lead and he used it to his advantage by continually applying pressure on his opponents, including Andrew Yeh and Eddie Blumenthal, both of whom Engel eliminated.
“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.”
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
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. The final hand saw all the chips going into the middle on the ten-high flop, Engel holding top pair and an ace-three low draw; Milchman needed some help because could only muster a pair of eights and a four-deuce low. Engel had more than 77% equity to scoop the pot on the flop, which increased to 95% when a queen landed on the turn. Another queen on the river handed the title to Engel.
“He played amazing and I easily could have lost it.”
“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.”
Engel has almost 200 WSOP cashes to his name and he now has two gold bracelets to keep his ten circuit rings company.
Keep following along with PokerNews as we bring you live and exclusive coverage of all 88 bracelet-awarding events on the 2021 WSOP schedule.