Unbelievable – that was how Hossein Ensan described his massive victory at the 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP). The German poker pro who was born in Iran battled against 8,568 other players in the festival’s most prestigious event, and ultimately took home his very first bracelet and a whopping $10 million as the top prize.
Ensan was cheered on by a boisterous crowd of supporters wearing black shirts with German and Iranian flags who erupted in joy and celebration after the final hand was dealt. Ensan will forever be remembered as the biggest winner of the festival’s historic 50th edition.
Ensan entered the 2019 WSOP Main Event with a European Poker Tour title and more than $2.6 million in prize money. However, despite his excellent credentials, Dario Sammartino who had more than $14 million in tournament earnings was the favorite to win.
Final Action
Nine players made up the official final table with Milos Skrbic finishing in 9th place and taking home $1,000,000. Timothy Su finished in 8th place and won $1,250,000 while Nick Marchington came in 7th and collected $1,525,000. Zhen Cai missed making it to the final five and finished in 6th place for $1,850,000.
During five-handed play, Ensan was the clear chip leader with Garry Gates in second position. Both players were way ahead of their opponents. And then the field was brought down to four when Ensan eliminated Kevin Maahs in 5th place for $2,200,000. Gates, who initially held a massive advantage over the other players, eventually slid down and failed to make his way back to the top. He went all in against Livingston and the result sealed his fate. He was able to take home $3,000,000 for his 4th place finish.
Ensan was still leading the chips when he entered three-handed play against Dario Sammartino and Livingston. All of them were very active, with Livingston closely following Ensan and Sammartino in strengthening his position despite starting as the short stack. Livingston managed to take the lead at one point, but it was short-lived as Ensan claimed it once again. For a time, it was hard to predict who would eventually win as the players fought hard and the game swung back and forth.
As the action became intense, Sammartino and Livingston battled it out for a huge pot, with Sammartino spiking two pair on the turn against Livingston’s kings. Livingston failed to recover and continued to lose his stack within two hours. He finally left the table after his ace-jack failed to hold against Ensan’s ace-queen and walked away with a cool $4 million in prize money.
Four Hour Battle Takes Place
Ensan sat down with Sammartino for an exciting heads-up duel that took four hours. Sammartino is among the best high-stakes pro while Ensan is a former EPT champion. They were the most accomplished players out of the final nine and they provided fans some great poker action.
When heads-up play kicked off, Ensan was holding a slight chip edge against his opponent. Sammartino would not easily give in, giving Ensan a run for his money.
The Italian player managed to take the lead when he hit a three-outer and scored huge value on a river bet with aces up against jacks up. It looked like Sammartino would take down the event until Ensan turned things around. Over the next 100 hands, the German poker pro was able to grab his opponent’s stacks and eventually took a 2:1 advantage. Sammartino struggled to recover as the big pots seemed to favor Ensan.
The final hand saw Ensan with pocket kings and Sammartino flopping a flush draw. The Italian player opted to launch into an aggressive semi-bluff and then shoved all-in. Ensan quickly made the call and both players stood up to wait for the river, with their supporters chanting. As it turned out, the card favored Ensan and Sammartino had to settle for second place and a prize of $6,000,000.
Ensan acknowledged he faced a tough opponent in Sammartino but the cards and luck went his way. The accomplishment of winning the 2019 WSOP Main Event has yet to sink in for the German poker pro. He was thrilled with his win and the fact that he now has his first WSOP gold bracelet. Ensan said he wanted to go to bed and wake up to ensure that his victory wasn’t just a dream but a dream come true!

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