Although Ari Engel is unemployed and homeless, he is not to be pitied as he has earned $5 million during the last decade playing poker. Bluff Magazine has ranked 31-year-old Engle in the 23th place. He is one of the best poker pros in the world.
Engel had an apartment in Toronto in 2013, but decided to give it up as he preferred to travel to different parts of the world and play poker. In November, he played poker in places such as the Dominican Republic, Peru, and St. Maarten and earned $136,500. He said: “I travel all the time – I’m sort of homeless. I’m never in the same place for more than a couple of weeks.”
Conventional Jews do not approve of gambling, but Engel wears the kipah while playing poker and keeps kosher. He is of the opinion that poker is a game of skill, not of chance, owing to which playing poker is not gambling. Simultaneously, he agrees that luck does matter while playing poker. He said: “To me it’s very unfortunate that poker takes place in casinos. It doesn’t really belong there. Poker definitely has a lot of things that are beyond one’s control, but it has plenty of things within your control. I don’t gamble at all. I’m trying to get an edge when I play poker, and I try to make a living out of it.”
Engel prepares a lot for his poker tournaments. He sleeps well, eats a good breakfast, and works out. He prefers to play Texas Hold’em, the most popular variant of poker in the world.
Although Engel refuses to reveal details about his poker income, Bluff Magazine says that he won his biggest prize as year back at the St. Louis leg of the Heartland Poker Tour. He won the tournament after beating a field of 420 players and won a big prize of $142,125. PocketFives.com, an online poker forum, revealed in May that he won a prize of $187,669 playing online poker.
Engel was in high school when he learned how to play poker. Later, he joined the New York University and began playing real money poker in his second year there. He learned a lot from his roommate Andrew Brown. When Engel finally got his major in finance, he decided to play poker as his career.
He doesn’t know if he will continue “playing poker forever,” but has decided to continue doing so for now.