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Hossein Ensan Goes Wire-to-Wire to Win 2019 WSOP Main Event

Hossein Ensan

Hossein Ensan and his giant chip stack proved to be unbeatable as the German-Iranian powered his way to first place in the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event for $10 million late Tuesday night.

The 55-year-old Ensan entered the final table with 177 million chips — nearly twice his nearest competitor — and was in control for the majority of the final table.

There were several moments on the final day of the Main Event where Ensan had to play from behind, however. The first was against Canadian Alex Livingston near the start of the day and the second was against Italian Dario Sammartino during heads-up play.

Ensan didn’t blink and quickly regained the chip lead both times. He also had to survive a heads-up battle against Sammartino that raged for over several hours.

Finally, Ensan picked up pocket kings in a hand where Sammartino turned straight and flush draws with 8-4 of spades. The kings held and secured Ensan a $10-million first-place prize and the title of world champion. In the end he outlasted 8,569 players to take top honors in this year’s contest.

“It’s the best feeling I have in all my life,” Ensan said after winning.

Sammartino, who is an established high-stakes poker pro, had to settle for second place but the consolation prize was a sizable $6 million.

Here are the complete final-table payouts for the 2019 WSOP Main Event:

PlaceWinnerCountryPrize (USD)
1Hossein EnsanGermany$10,000,000.00
2Dario SammartinoItaly$6,000,000.00
3Alex LivingstonCanada$4,000,000.00
4Garry GatesUnited States$3,000,000.00
5Kevin MaahsUnited States$2,200,000.00
6Zhen CaiUnited States$1,850,000.00
7Nick MarchingtonUnited Kingdom$1,525,000.00
8Timothy SuUnited States$1,250,000.00
9Milos SkrbicSerbia$1,000,000.00

Canadian Alex Livingston Stalls in Third

When the final day of the 2019 WSOP began, there were a lot of eyes on Halifax’s Alex Livingston.

Livingston had a legitimate shot at becoming just the second Canadian to win the Main Event and had a ton of momentum leading into the final three.

He got off to a great start and briefly stole the overall chip lead from Hossein Ensan. It was the first time that Ensan had relinquished the chip lead and suddenly things seemed to be falling in Livingston’s favor.

Unfortunately, that momentum was about to come to a screeching halt thanks to Dario Sammartino. Sammartino managed to score the all-important double-up when his T-6 turned two pair against Livingston’s pocket kings.

Sammartino moved all-in on the turn and Livingston called in short with his kings only to find that he was crushed. The river changed nothing and Sammartino effectively moved into second place and sent Livingston spiraling to the bottom.

Livingston never really recovered from the hand and eventually made his stand with A-J only to get called by Hossein Ensan with A-Q. Livingston didn’t get enough help from the board and ended up finishing in third place for a $4-million consolation prize.

Fan Favorite Garry Gates Takes Fourth

There were plenty of interesting stories at the this year’s Main Event but it was hard to beat the amazing journey of Las Vegas local Garry Gates. Gates has spent over a decade working on the media side of the poker industry and was a survivor of the 2017 shootings that took place on the Las Vegas Strip.

He had played the Main Event several times but prior to this year his deepest run was 173rd place.

The final table stands were packed with railbirds supporting Gates as he attempted to win poker’s ultimate prize on home turf. In the end, it wasn’t to be as he fell just short of making the final day of the 2019 Main Event.

Day 9 was particularly difficult for Gates, who took numerous shots at dethroning Hossein Ensan, but couldn’t quite get past the German. Finally, Gates was on fumes after losing several significant pots and decided to shove with pocket sixes. Unfortunately for him, Livingston woke up with pocket queens and snap-called. The board didn’t cooperate and Gates was out in fourth place to end play for the day.

He picked up $3 million for finishing fourth and a once-in-a-lifetime story.

“On one hand it’s a little disappointing but on the other hand I’m a lucky guy,” he said in an interview with WSOP staff after busting.

“This has changed my life. I don’t do this for a living … just to get this far and have as much love and support as I did along the way … I knew I had already won.”