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Hossein Ensan $10M Richer After WSOP Main Event Win


Hossein Ensan, originally from Iran but now residing in Germany, picked up the first place prize of $10,000,000 in the World Series of Poker Main Event after besting the runner-up, Dario Sammartino of Italy, who collected $6 million for his efforts. The action concluded early in the morning on Wednesday, July 17, 2019, wrapping up nearly two weeks of high-level poker play that began on the first starting day of the Main Event on Wednesday, July 3.

Hossein EnsanHossein Ensan Posing With the Mountain of Cash He Just Won

Ensan felt joyous in the wake of his momentous victory as is completely understandable, especially since he takes home $1.2 million more than last year's WSOP ME winner, John Cynn. Hossein commented:

This is the best feeling in my life. Unbelievable! I am so happy I'm here with the bracelet in hand. What can I say?

About the Final Hand

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Ensan locked up his victory with the final hand of the tournament, which occurred just before 1:30 a.m. PT on Wednesday. At this point, he had a stack of 346 million chips compared to Sammartino's 169 million. Blinds were 2M/4M with a 4M bb ante.

Hossein raised preflop from the button, and his opponent called. They saw a flop of:

T♠ 6♠ 2

Sammartino checked, after which Hossein bet again. Dario stuck around with another call. The turn dropped:


Sammartino checked, and Ensan fired out 33 million chips. Dario then check-raised all-in for 140 million. Hossein showed no hesitation in calling. Both players revealed their hands:

Hossein Ensan: K K♣
Dario Sammartino: 8♠ 4♠

Dario Sammartino had a flush draw and a gutshot straight draw, giving him plenty of outs for the win. But Hossein Ensan was ahead with a pair of kings, which had 73% equity in the pot.

As railbirds chanted loudly in support of their favorite player, the river was dealt:


No help for Sammartino, and Hossein Ensan thus became the 2019 Main Event champion.

Road to Victory


The WSOP Main Event is never a cakewalk, but this was especially true in 2019 as there were 8,569 entrants, making this the second-largest Main Event field in history behind 2006's 8,773 participants.

Rio Hotel CasinoThe Rio Casino: Where Poker Dreams Are Made – and Broken

As thousands battled it out during the tourney at the Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino, Hossein did little to distinguish himself in the early going. By the end of Day 3 of play on Tuesday, July 9, he had grown his starting stack up from 10,000 to 336,000, certainly well above average in the remaining field of 1,286 but nowhere near the chip leaders.

However, Ensan climbed the charts as the tournament progressed. By the end of Day 4, he had amassed 3.3 million chips, placing him in the top 15 contenders. He doubled his stack on Day 5, and by the time Day 6 was over, he was second in chips with 34.5 million.

Final Table

When the final table composition was determined at the end of Day 7, Hossein Ensan was the big chip leader, with 177 million compared to the 99 million of his nearest competitor, Gerry Gates. Dario Sammartino, by contrast, held just 33.4 million.

Over the next two days of play, the remaining participants were whittled down to just three. Before the cards hit the air on the final and 10th day of play, Hossein retained his commanding lead with 326.8 million chips to his name. Canada's Alex Livingston meanwhile had 120.4 million, and Dario Sammartino brought up the rear with 67.6 million.

Sammartino's fortunes improved with several big hands, but Alex Livingston was not so lucky as his stack had dwindled by the time Hossein knocked him out of the tournament with his A♠ Q holding up over Alex's A♣ J.

Dario SammartinoDario Sammartino, 2019 WSOP Main Event Runner-up


Going into heads-up play, Hossein had about 279.8 million chips, giving him a small lead over Dario's 235 million stack. Their positions were reversed shortly after their heads-up match began with Sammartino's two pair beating Ensan's worse two pair.

Yet Hossein clawed his way back into the lead within an hour, and Dario was unable to surpass him again from then on. It did take a further three hours of play for Hossein to finally defeat his tenacious opponent though.

Money Payouts

Money Bag

Of the 8,569 players who joined the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event, 1,286 received at least a minimum cash prize of $15,000. The total prize pool was $80,548,600. Of course, the greatest awards went to those who made the final table as detailed below:

Finish PosNameCountryPrize
1Hossein EnsanGermany$10,000,000
2Dario SammartinoItaly$6,000,000
3Alex LivingstonCanada$4,000,000
4Garry GatesUSA$3,000,000
5Kevin MaahsUSA$2,200,000
6Zhen CaiUSA$1,850,000
7Nick MarchingtonUK$1,525,000
8Timothy SuUSA$1,250,000
9Milos SkrbicSerbia$1,000,000

Hossein Ensan Biography

Book + Glasses

Hossein Ensan was born in May 1964 in Iran, making him 55 years old today and the oldest Main Event champion since Noel Furlong who won in 1999 at the age of 61. When he was 25, Hossein moved to Germany.

Married and with one kid, a daughter, Hossein was a painter when he took up poker in 2004. Actually, he still does not consider himself a professional poker pro, describing himself as an “amateur” and “a simple painter.”

He began booking cashes at major tournaments in 2013, including an EPT title in December 2015 in the Czech Republic and a WSOP Circuit ring in 2017 in the same country.

Hossein Ensan actually had more than $2.6 million in cashes prior to winning the WSOP Main Event although, of course, the $10 million he just scored represents the majority of his live tournament winnings.

Play Online to Sharpen Your Game

Computing Hardware

Though Hossein Ensan was already a veteran of the offline poker tournament scene, other champions in the past, like Chris Moneymaker, qualified to The Big Show online. Indeed, online play represents perhaps the best way to improve your game quickly without having to put huge sums on the line.

If you'd like to sharpen up your skills over the internet, maybe in preparation for your own Main Event deep run someday, then there are plenty of destinations where you can do so. If you reside in the United States, then we recommend heading over to our list of the top USA online poker sites where you can find information on the best operators in the business.

Canadians can instead peruse our guide to online poker in Canada while we've composed a page devoted to Australian internet poker for our friends from the Land of Oz.