Ari Engel Wins 26th Career Title at Mega Millions XVIII

Ari Engel Wins 26th career Title at Mega Millions XVIII The $160 Mega Millions XVIII Quantum Reload got underway at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles last Friday, and attracted a huge field of 6,087 players to create a prize pool more than twice its $1 million guaranteed. One week later, and it was Ari Engel who would best the field to claim a top prize of $315,142, representing an impressive 26th career victory for the young Canadian pro.
3rd Biggest Score
Ari Engel’s latest win is his third largest since cashing in at his first live tournament in 2006, and now increases his live earnings to $5,800,257. His other biggest scores were both recorded in 2016, with Engel taking down the A$10k Aussie Millions Main Event in January of that year for A$1.6 million ($ 1,120,110), while in August he placed 5th at the €10k EPT Barcelona High Roller for $347,219.
2016 also marks his most successful year to date with $2,038,485 in winnings, although the last few years have seen his results go from strength to strength with 2017 being his second best year ($955,217), and 2018 his third best despite being just three months old.
Final Table
Ari Engel entered the Mega Millions XVIII’s final table with 24.7m in chips, second only to Min Zhang (26.65m), with the two players eventually meeting each other heads-up for the title. Also competing at the final table was David Marshall (16.6m), Danny Ghobrial (12m), Pat Lyons (10.3m), Brandon Zuidema (7.3m), Yiming Cui (6.6m), Russel Nygren (4.2m), and Igor Zektser (1.4m).
After the cards got in the air, Marshall (A-A) eliminated Johnny Cui (Q-10) in 9th, while Zektser (A-Q) did likewise to Nygren (8-6) in 8th. Having lost a massive pot to Marshall, a short stacked Zuidema was then knocked out in 7th place by Pat Lyons, before Engel (J-J) entered the fray by sending Ghobrial (J-10) to the rail in 6th.
Engel followed up by eliminating all of the remaining contenders, including his A-Q besting Zektser pocket eights to see him off in 5th; Engel’s A-K dominating the A-10 of Lyons to dispatch him in 4th; before his pocket tens overcame Marshall’s K-J to usher in heads-up play against Min Zhang.
Heads-up play began with Aria Engel holding an 84.9m to 34.9m chip advantage over Min Zhang, an unknown female Chinese player with no recorded tournament cashes going into the Mega Millions XVIII.
Despite getting off to a good start, though, Min Zhang failed to extract top value from her winning hands, with “Live at the Bike” commentator Ryan Feldman criticizing the size of her three-bets, which were usually so small that they allowed allowed her opponent to see cheap flops. On top of that, Zhang got a bit unlucky on the final hand of the competition with her pocket queens faltering against Engel’s A-5.
On the hand in question, and with blinds at 300k/600k, Engel raised to 1.7m promoting a small three-bet from Zhang to 3.6 million, which was quickly called by Engel. The 5-5-3 flop which ensued subsequently resulted in a bet from Zhang and a call from Engel, but a 9 on the turn saw her bet re-raised by Engel, with the 10 on the river getting the same treatment and putting Zhang’s tournament life at stake.
After making the call, Min Zhang had to settle for a runner-up finish worth $178,565, while Ari Engel added yet another huge score to his already solid poker resume. Furthermore, Engel had skipped Day 1 of the tournament and entered directly into Day 2, meaning as its sole survivor he also collected a $4,300 seat through to the next Mega Millions due to take place in August.
Final Table Results:
1: Ari Engel ($315,142)
2: Min Zhang ($178,565)
3: David Marshall ($116,350)
4: Pat Lyons ($90,080)
5: Igor Zektser ($68,585)
6: Danny Ghobrial ($53,590)
7: Brandon Zuidema ($42,290)
8: Russell Nygren ($33,350)
9: Johnny Cui ($25,745)

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