The World Series of Poker Main Event is the biggest and most lucrative poker tournament in the world, and this year was the 50th annual running of the event. German resident Hossein Ensan was the winner and was presented with the $10,00,000 first-place prize money as well as a diamond-encrusted bracelet. Ensan currently lives in Germany but was born in Iran.
There were 8,569 entrants in the 50th World Series of Poker main event, making it the second-biggest tournament of all time. The tournament began on July 5 and spanned over two weeks. Ensan was able to capture 514,140,000 chips after starting the tournament with just 60,000.
The World Series of Poker featured much more than just the Main Event and had over 187,000 entrants this year. The number of entrants shattered the previous record of 123,865 entrants a year ago. Over $293 million in prize money was awarded in 2019, which is another record.
Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino was the host of this lucrative tournament, and the final table was set up in the Amazon ballroom. ESPN covered the three-day finale that wrapped up just past midnight on Wednesday. There is a $10,000 buy-in at the World Series of Poker main event, and over $80 million in prize money was handed out at the conclusion of the tournament. Ensan took home the largest chunk of the money with $10 million, but the other top-10 finishers split more than $21 million in prize money.
Ensan is the oldest winner of the World Series of Poker main event since 62-year-old Noel Furlong won the title in 1999. Ensan is 55 years old, and he is also just the third Iranian-born champion of this event. Iranian players won the World Series of Poker main event in both 1990 and 1992, but the country went through a drought of more than 27 years.
Not only was Ensan a surprise winner because of his age, but this was the first time that he has ever entered the World Series of Poker Main Event. Ensan did win some cash prizes at World Series of Poker events in both Europe and the Czech Republic, but this was his first time winning in Las Vegas. The 55-year-old came into this tournament with a little more than $2 million in prize money throughout his career, but this payday made it all worthwhile.
Coming Up Just Short
Italian player Dario Sammartino was the runner-up of the main event, but will still leave town with a nice stack of cash. The 32-year-old Sammartino had plenty of experience at the World Series of Poker but was unable to hold off Ensan and seal the deal on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Sammartino was awarded $6,000,000 in cash for placing second in this tournament.
The main event ended on the 301st hand of the final table when Ensan was dealt pocket kings that were enough to seal the deal. Sammartino was dealt a pair of spades, an eight and a four, and was hoping to draw either a flush or a straight. Luck was not on the Italian’s side this time, and Ensan was able to force Sammartino out of the game.
Alex Livingston of Canada finished in third place at the Main Event, getting eliminated early on in the game on Tuesday night. There were four American players that finished in the top nine at the Main Event, with Gary Gates of Henderson, Nev., taking fourth-place honors.