Potawatomi Casino: April 1 - 9, 2017


Potawatomi Hotel & Casino - Milwaukee, WI

April 7-9, 2017

Main Event: 495 Entrants

Poker Pro Ari Engel Wins MSPT Potawatomi Main Event, $114,876!

Watch the full final table video (large file, may take a few minutes to load)

The first MSPT Potawatomi $1,100 Main Event of Season 8 attracted 495 entrants to downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After a weekend full of play, it was well-known poker pro Ari Engel who emerged victorious to capture a $114,876 first-place prize.

With the win, Engel brought his lifetime live earnings up to nearly $4.6 million. Now, he’s not only an eight-time World Series of Poker Circuit ring winner and the 2016 Aussie Millions champ – a win good for a career-high $1,120,110 – he’s a MSPT champion, and it was all the result of a spur-of-the-moment decision.

“There’s a Jewish holiday that starts tomorrow night, so I didn’t want to play any tournament that went into Monday,” Engel said after the win. “That excluded some tournaments. I was looking around and this looked like a good one. I was in Florida last week, went to the WSOP Circuit in Council Bluffs for one day, and then came here.”

A poker nomad, meaning he literally doesn’t have a place to call home, Engel bounces around the world for whatever poker tournament tickles his fancy. So, what’s next for the pro?

“I’m going back to Florida for the holiday with the parents, and then I’m in the tank between going to England for the partypoker Nottingham series of the WSOP Circuit in Cherokee.”

With 1,500 MSPT Player of the Year points early in Season 8, Engel said there’s also a good chance we’ll see him back on the tour this year.

“How could I not play more?” he asked rhetorically. “We’ll just have to see how it fits in my schedule. I’d like to obviously, this went really well. I was sick the last time I was at Potawatomi, so I didn’t enjoy it much. Plus, it was cold, and I don’t like the cold. However, I’m here for the poker, everything else is kind of on the side.”

Day 2 saw 92 players return to action, but with only 45 spots getting paid more than half the field would leave empty handed. Among those to fall short of the money were Minnesota radio host Cory Cove, 2016 MSPT Iowa State Poker Champ John Sun, and the defending champ Alex Aqel, who won back in November and followed it up by taking down the World Series of Poker Circuit Potawatomi Main Event three months later.

After James Paley fell as the bubble boy, the in-the-money finishes came quick. Some players to earn a payday were WSOP Circuit Potawatomi High Roller champ Nadya Magnus (42nd - $2,393), MSPT Season 6 Player of the Year Mark Hodge (36th - $2,872), and two-time champ Jeremy Dresch (16th - $4,643).

Reigning MSPT Player of the Year Rich Alsup was the first to fall at the final table after his ace-eight failed to get there against Jim Juvancic’s ace-queen, and Patrick McCullough followed him out the door after he got it all in preflop with pocket eights against Engel’s sevens. A seven appeared on the turn and that was all she wrote for McCullough.

George Dietz then dispatched Dan Crawford in eighth place when his sixes held against Big Slick, and Brad Jansen fell in the very next hand when his king-queen failed to overcome Keith Heine’s ace-nine.

WSOP bracelet winner and inaugural America’s Poker Tour champ Alex Ziskin was next to go after his pocket nines fell to Juvancic’s ace-king, and shortly thereafter Engel notched his second elimination of the final table.

It happened in the 40,000/80,000/10,000 level on Hand #74 of the final table and began when Engel raised to 185,000 under the gun holding the  da ks. Juvancic then moved all in for 795,000 holding the  kc qh in small blind and Heine called from the big with the  ac jd. Engel proceeded to move all in, Heine had little choice but to fold, and the board ran out  8s as 9h ah 9d to give Engel a full house.

On Hand #97, which took place in Level 30 (50,000/100,000/10,000), Heine raised to 250,000 under the gun with the  ah 8h and Engel, who had the big stack, simply moved all in from the button with the  ac jd. Dietz called off for 1 million with the  as kd in the big, and he was primed to double after Heine folded. However, the board ran out 2d jc kc 6d 4c and Engel made a flush to eliminate Dietz in fourth place.

Heine, the MSPT Season 7 Meskwaki champ, took his leave in third place after his king-four failed to get there against the ace-eight of Carlos Monteiro. Heine, who was two weeks removed from finishing fifth in the #MSPT100, earned 1,200 points toward the MSPT Season 8 Kimo Sabe Mezcal Player of the Year race, which puts him in the lead with 2,200 total points.

Heine’s elimination set up a heads-up match with Engel holding a decent chip lead over his Minnesotan foe.

The final hand wouldn’t come for a while, but eventually in Level 32 (80,000/160,000/20,000), Engel raised the button to 355,000 with the  da js and quickly called when Monteiro three-bet jammed for 3.2 million with the  8d 8c. The  as ac 2s flop gave Engel trips, and he held onto the lead through the  7h turn and  5c river.

With that, Monteiro had to settle for runner-up and a $69,405 consolation prize while Engel etched his name in MSPT history.


Rank Player Name City State AmountPoints
1 Ari Engel Las Vegas NV $114,8761,500
2 Carlos Monteiro Minneapolis MN $69,4051,300
3 Keith Heine Hillsboro MO $45,2321,200
4 George Dietz Oak Park IL $31,3521,100
5 Jim Juvancic Westchester IL $23,9331,000
6 Alexander Ziskin Vernon Hills IL $18,428900
7 Bradley Jansen West Bend WI $15,317800
8 Daniel Crawford Arlington WI $12,684700
9 Patrick McCullough Grand Rapids MI $10,722600
10 Richard Alsup New Hope MN $8,137500
11 Goran Filipovic Franklin WI $8,137500
12 Parmod Soni Burr Ridge IL $8,137500
13 Gary Herstein Chicago IL $6,222400
14 Mark Reid Canton IA $6,222400
15 Abraham Montenegro Franklin Park IL $6,222400
16 Jeremy Dresch Fridley MN $4,643300
17 Nilsson Davis Oshkosh WI $4,643300
18 Brian Wilke Manitowoc WI $4,643300
19 Thomas Cascio Whitefish Bay WI $3,590200
20 Jerome Meyer Lake Geneva WI $3,590200
21 Vimy Ha Brooklyn NY $3,590200
22 Michael Younan Chicago IL $3,590200
23 Thomas Ruzecki Roundlake IL $3,590200
24 Greg Baird Hinsdale IL $3,590200
25 Eric Eklund Milwaukee WI $3,590200
26 Carter Myers Breckenridge MI $3,590200
27 Gerardo Perez Waukesha WI $3,590200
28 Andrija Solovjev Franklin WI $2,872100
29 Joshua Bersch Waukesha WI $2,872100
30 Jill Bryant Aurora IL $2,872100
31 Greg Koutelidakis Buffalo Grove IL $2,872100
32 Peter Rnich St. John IN $2,872100
33 Ken Auker Rock Island IL $2,872100
34 Steve Alonzo Beloit WI $2,872100
35 Duane Goetz Germantown WI $2,872100
36 Mark Hodge Fernandina Beach FL $2,872100
37 Randy Perkins Davenport IA $2,39350
38 Andres Garcia (IL) Skogen IL $2,39350
39 Kenny Nguyen Lansing MI $2,39350
40 Travis Maly Denver CO $2,39350
41 Aaron Johnson Red Wing MN $2,39350
42 Nadya Magnus Palatine IL $2,39350
43 Ryan Hohenstein Eden Prairie MN $2,39350
44 Steve Lauson Manitowoc WI $2,39350
45 Brian Ganos Muskego WI $2,39350

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