A new World Champion of Poker has been crowned. Early Wednesday morning, Hossein Ensan survived the second-largest field in WSOP Main Event history at the Rio Casino to become the 2019 poker world champion and earn a massive $10 million top prize.
The German and EPT champion had to outlast a stiff challenge from Alex Livingston and a long heads-up battle with high stakes poker pro Dario Sammartino before taking down the coveted Main Event bracelet.
Alex Livingston Surges Early But Flames Out in Third Place
Alex Livingston finished 13th in the 2013 WSOP Main Event and was looking to win it all this year. He came into the final day of the 2019 WSOP Main Event second in chips with 120.4 million. Early on, it appeared that Livingston was going to have a legitimate shot at overthrowing the dominant chip leader Ensan.
Livingston was the most active player in the early stages of three-handed play and that resulted in his stack skyrocketing. He then won a big pot with a rivered straight to shoot into the chip lead. That lead was short-lived, though, as Ensan was able to win a few pots and take over control once again.
Just as it seemed that we’d have an epic battle between Livingston and Ensan, Dario Sammartino delivered a bad beat to Livingston. At the turn, the board was Qc-6h-4h-10c and Livingston bet 23 million. Sammartino then moved all-in and Livingston made what seemed to be an easy call with pocket kings.
Sammartino then turned over 10s-6d for two pair and Livingston needed help to keep from shipping a huge chunk of chips Sammartino’s way. The river fell the Jc and Livingston went from contender to short stack.
That loss began a downward trend for Livingston and his stack sank to just 17 big blinds prior to his final hand. In that hand, he woke up with Ac-Jd and shoved pre-flop. However, Ensan had As-Qd and had Livingston dominated. The flop produced both a queen and a jack, helping neither player really. The turn and river were subsequently blanks and Alex Livingston was our third-place finisher.
Alex Livingston still earned $4 million, the best score of his live poker career, but he certainly would have rather been able to play for the bracelet.
Hossein Ensan Survives Late Charge from Sammartino to Win the Main Event
Just 18 big blinds separated Hossein Ensan and Dario Sammartino at the start of heads-up play. It would then be several more hours before a champion was crowned. Early during the heads-up match, Sammartino took down a massive pot with two pair and captured the chip lead. That lead failed to hold as Ensan came storming back to even the stacks.
After swapping the chip lead a couple of times, Ensan started to gain some traction and moved out in front. Soon, he had a 2:1 chip lead and while Sammartino tried to keep things close, he was never able to make up any serious ground.
Sammartino tried to make another huge gamble to double-up but fell short. At the turn, the board was 10s-6s-2d-9c and Ensan bet 33 million. Sammartino then shoved for 140 million and Ensan called so quickly that Sammartino knew he was up against a dominating hand.
Sure enough, Hossein showed pocket kings and Sammartino showed 8s-4s for both a flush draw and a gutshot straight draw. The river fell a harmless Qc and Sammartino was our runner-up. He played like a champion and despite falling short of the bracelet, he still earned a career-best $6 million prize.
Hossein Ensan is the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event champion. After winning the event, he said the win was “unbelievable” and called winning the event “the best feeling I have in all my life.” Winning $10 million and getting your name etched in the poker record books is definitely a great feeling. Better still, Hossein will make a great ambassador for the game of poker.
Congratulations to Hossein Ensan, the 50th World Series of Poker Main Event Champion.