In what was an entertaining finale to the greatest poker tournament in the world, Hossein Ensan emerged victorious in the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event to claim the $10,000,000 top prize.
Ensan topped the WSOP Main Event’s second largest field ever, 8,569 entries, and defeated Dario Sammartino in heads-up play to become world champion.
“This is the best feeling that I’ve had in all my life and my entire career,” Ensan said in the moments after his triumph. “I am so happy I am here with the bracelet in my hand. What can I say? What can I say?”
The victory placed an emphatic exclamation point on the German’s career and gave him his first WSOP gold bracelet. His adds the WSOP Main Event title to a career that includes a European Poker Tour victory and a WSOP International Circuit win. With the win, Ensan moved to seventh on Germany’s all-time money list with $12,673,207 in live tournament earnings.
2019 WSOP Main Event Final Table Results
1st: Hossein Ensan – $10,000,000
2nd: Dario Sammartino – $6,000,000
3rd: Alex Livingston – $4,000,000
4th: Garry Gates – $3,000,000
5th: Kevin Maahs – $2,200,000
6th: Zhen Cai – $1,850,000
7th: Nick Marchington – $1,525,000
8th: Timothy Su – $1,250,000
9th: Milos Skrbic – $1,000,000
“My plan was, every day, step by step, to bag up chips,” Ensan said. “My first goal was to [get in the money]. After [getting in the money], my plan was to bag up for the next day.”
Ensan’s run to the winner’s circle began a week and a half ago, on Friday, July 5, when he hopped into the third and final starting flight of the tournament. Ensan tripled his starting stack on his first day and started his fantastic run.
Ensan came into the final table with a huge chip stack of 177,000,000, which was nearly double anyone else in the field. He held onto the lead through the first day of the final table and maneuvered his way up to 207,700,000 in chips. Garry Gates had done well to narrow the gap, but then Monday came and Ensan truly exercised his power as the chip leader.
On Monday, Ensan got to work chipping away at Gates, his closest competitor. That helped Ensan stretch his lead to quite a sizable margin and he began to run away with the tournament. Ensan then sent home Kevin Maahs in fifth for $2,200,000 and knocked out Gates in fourth for $3,000,000, allowing him to take a commanding chip lead into Tuesday. Ensan topped three-handed play with 326,800,000 in chips. Alex Livingston was a ways off in second with 120,400,000 and Sammartino was in third with 67,600,000.
Just as he began Monday, Sammartino found an early double up on Tuesday’s final day, winning a flip with the against Ensan’s . Sammartino gave some chips back following the double but then he turned two pair to double through Livingston’s kings and move back over 100,000,000. At this moment, there was a sense around the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino that Sammartino had the wind at his sails. Sammartino’s rail was as loud as they’ve ever been, pumping energy into the Italian’s veins and he won another pot off Livingston shortly thereafter to move into the chip lead for the first time at the final table.
After Sammartino doubled through him, Livingston couldn’t recover and the 13th-place finisher from the 2013 WSOP Main Event went out in third place. Ensan was the player to finish him off. Ensan had the and Livingston had the . There was little drama on the board and Livingston went home with a $4,000,000 payday.
Heads-up play saw Ensan start with the chip lead, his 279,800,000 to Sammartino’s 235,000,000. Sammartino immediately seized the lead, though, when he took down a substantial pot on the second hand of the duel. The two then battled for more than four hours of heads-up play. Ensan took the lead back and began to apply pressure to Sammartino.
The blinds increased to 2,000,000-4,000,000 with a 4,000,000 big blind ante and Sammartino was below 50 big blinds when hand #301 came up, the final hand of the tournament. Ensan opened with a raise to 11,000,000 on the button and Sammartino called from the big blind. The flop came and Sammartino check-called a bet of 15,000,000. The turn was the and Sammartino checked. Ensan bet 33,000,000 and Sammartino moved all in for 140,000,000. Ensan called and turned over the . Sammartino was at risk with a draw holding the . The river completed the board with the and it was all over.
“Dario is a friend of mine, a big name, and a very good player,” Ensan said of the heads-up match with Sammartino. “Short handed, you need cards, you need hands, you need luck. The luck and hands were on my side, otherwise I would’ve been second. I would’ve been runner-up.”
As runner-up, Sammartino took home a $6,000,000 payday.
“Tomorrow,” Ensan responded when asked about what he plans to do with the money. “I need beer and some fun with my friends, then I’ll think about that tomorrow.”