After about four hours of heads-up play, Hossein Ensan won the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event Wednesday morning, defeating Dario Sammartino and winning $10 million plus an insane 50th anniversary bracelet worth around half a million dollars.
Ensan, who grew up in Iran before moving to Germany, became the second Main Event champ from Germany after Pius Heinz took the title in 2011. At 55-years old, he is also the oldest champion in two decades; Noel Furlong was 61 when he won in 1999.
Ensan lorded over the final table with a dominant chip stack and he began the third night of final table play in a familiar position: way ahead. To start three-handed play, the champ had 325.8 million chips, nearly twice what his two opponents had combined. Alex Livingston had 120.4 million and Dario Sammartino had 67.6 million.
His night began on the rocky side, though, as he doubled-up Sammartino early on and then had trouble getting on track. In the meantime, Livingston was rolling, finding cards and playing them well, picking off both opponents left and right. About two hours into play, Livingston actually took the chip lead, 233.2 million to Ensan’s 231.4. Sammartino was down to just 50.2 million at that point and looked lost.
Nine hands later, though, he doubled through Livingston when he turned two pair with T-6 against Livingston’s Kings and got a call when he re-raised all-in on the river.
Livingston spiraled from that point and about an hour later moved all-in for 41.1 million with A-J, only to be called be Ensan and his A-Q. Both players flopped their kicker and Livingston was eliminated in third place for a $4 million payday.
Going into heads-up, things were much closer than people probably would have expected, with Ensan leading 279.8 million to 235 million. And on the very first hand, though, Sammartino rivered two pair to beat Ensan’s two pair and took a gigantic pot and the chip lead, 329.6 million to 185.2 million. The tables had turned.
Ensan held strong, though, and chipped back up over the next series of hands. Once he took back the lead, the two men went back and forth, generally playing small pots, neither getting out of line. But what few big pots there were went Ensan’s way and he extended his chip lead, once again sailing across the 300 million chip plateau.
The two players were friendly with each other, but Sammartino was visibly frustrated as he couldn’t gain any traction. On the final hand, Sammartino decided he needed to take a stand to try to grab some chips, a stand which didn’t work out.
Ensan had pocket Kings and raised to 11 million chips pre-flop (big blind was 4 million). Sammartino, with 8s-4s, defended his big blind. The flop was Ts-6s-2d, resulting in Sammartino making a check-call when Ensan bet 15 million. The turn was the 9c, giving Sammartino a flush draw and a gut-shot straight draw. Ensan’s Kings were still good, but Sammartino was running low and thought he might be able to take the pot down right there. He checked again, Ensan bet 33 million, and then Sammartino moved all-in for 140 million. Ensan called immediately and Sammartino saw the bad news.
Sammartino had a dozen outs, but none of them arrived and Ensan was crowned 2019 WSOP Main Event champ.
2019 World Series of Poker Main Event – Final Table Results
- Hossein Ensan – $10,000,000
- Dario Sammartino – $6,000,000
- Alex Livingston – $4,000,000
- Garry Gates – $3,000,000
- Kevin Maahs – $2,200,000
- Zhen Cai – $1,850,000
- Nick Marchington – $1,525,000
- Timothy Su – $1,250,000
- Milos Skrbic – $1,000,000