Bodog Ari

I'm Ari Engel and am also known as BodogAri online. I've played poker for a living for virtually my entire post-college life. In the last few years I have started teaching people my style and philosophy on poker tournaments. Many of them have done very well. If you are interested in getting my help, email:

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Live Poker May Not Be Rigged Anymore

The title says it all, as I'm pleased to inform all that I have officially taken down my first live tourney, a world series of poker circuit event in Atlantic City for $63K. I have also finished 49th in a 1K buyin in LA (36 paid), 49th in a 10K buyin in LA (54 paid, i got 22k) and 20th in a $500 buyin in Atlantic City (45 paid, I got $1270).

In the 10K buyin, I was chipleader for parts of the tournament, and received some publicity from that. Pokernews interviewed me in the middle of day 2, when I was up there in chips. Here is the link. Also, I was on Cardplayer's radio show "the circuit" which you can listen to here.

Nolan Dalla did a write up on my WsopC win, and while it contained some factual errors, the tone was very generous to me. You can check it out on pokerpages.

The following is my final table summary.

We consolidated tables at 10 people, but the official final table only began with 9 players, and the money started going up player by player when 9 were left, so I knew people would be playing tight.

The first hand, I open to 55k (blinds are 10-20K, w/ a 2k ante) it folds around to the big blind, who had previously noted my aggresive play. He immediately pushed in all his chips, got up and screamed across the room to his "buddy"- poker pro mike sica- I'm all in. It was hard to imagine he was bluffing and the numbers were such that I'd immediately call if I thought he had a smaller pair than 10-10, but that I couldn't call if I figured him for a big ace. In the heat of the moment, I was preety sure he had aq or ak, so I decided to fold. He showed KK, telling the table that Sica had told him not to bust early (or not too bluff-something to that extent). Oh-almost forgot- for some reason I did something I rarely do, folded face up, not really sure why...

I fold the following hand, and them raise UTG to 55k with kq of hearts, it folds to the cutoff- an elder woman- who pushes in for a total of 110K (55k more) and it folds back to me. I "know" I'm beat, but can't resist those odds. I call and she is drawing dead after a kk8 flop.

I fold a number of hands, and then raise in the cutoff with 86 to 55k when it gets folded to me. The BB (who is the 2nd shortest stack at the table) pushes in for 80-100K and I call. He shows a8 and holds on to win the hand, despite a 4-5-X flop.

The next hand I make it 55K to go when it folds to me in the hijack with KK, the cutoff - the player I had most to fear going into the ft, given his position and experience - pushes in for 300-350K total. I dodge his AQ.

The one guy I didn't knock out at the final table got knocked out when he reraised a midposition raisor with kq or kj or k10, and got called by a10, the flop came an ace, and it was GG. Interesting point though, I folded AJ in the BB that hand.

The shortest stack at the table was the button when I was BB, and he raised 3X the BB when it got folded to him, clearly 100% pot commited, i looked down at AA, and had him drawing dead on the flop.

The guy to my right was an elder man, and up to this point I hadn't messed w/ any of his opening bets, which generally were in the 4X range. When he made it 75K to go on the button, (blinds were still 10-20), I pushed (BB was short) w/ q5 of hearts for about 300K more to him. There were still 2-3 players shorter than him, but he insta-called me w/ kj. The flop came 987 w/ 2 hearts, and a heart on the turn left him drawing to a 1-out straight flush draw. He obviously missed GG.

We were now 5 handed, with chip stacks as follows starting w/ my big chip lead going left: short, short, short, and medium. UTG moves in for 130K at 13-30K (3k ante) blinds, and I tank on the button w/ a3, he's supposed to have a very wide range, especially w/ both blinds being short, but I'm not sure what exactly he knows about tournament theory. I eventually call, realizing that's it was a very small amount of chips, and figuring that it'd definately help all that meta-game "bs". I just say all in, because both blinds didn't have more than 1.5X the original bet, so i'd have been commited to call their all in anyways. The BB thinks for a bit and then mucks 99. UTG shows kj, and my a3 holds after an AAQ flop.

Once again, the short stack UTG pushes all in, and the BB immediately says, "did you look?" to the UTG raiser. He seemed weak to me, and I was completely unsure of whether he'd looked or not. I saw kj of clubs in the SB, and felt with the great odds, and the chance I have him beat, it was worth the call. He tabled a9, but the flop came k high, and he didn't hit an ace.

Down to 3 players, I had 2Mil, the guy to my right had 500K, and to my left 100K. I was very interested in keeping guy 3 alive, bec. I figured that the elder man w/ 500K wouldn't take his chances before the short stack busted.

However, my plans went to ashes when I pushed from the SB (thinking he had plenty of chips to still fold and play- I was close to giving him a walk) w/ q9. The BB woke up with 104 and for some reason called off. I didn't think he had the math to call, and I was definately gonna do all i could to keep him alive, but i digresss. My q9 held.

Heads up, we played 2 hands, both very passively, and then decided to take a 10 minute break. I came back and pushed 80% of hands from the SB, and 1/3 from the BB if he limped. I folded to each raise he made preflop.

Until, he raises to 220K with 350K left behind. I looked down at a9, and almost instapushed, "knowing" I was ahead, but instead figured that the stop and go would be a much better move. It was and is the better move, but he had sucked out, and flopped top pair on a 876 flop. He obviously called my push, but I had outs. Luckily the turn came 9 and river 2.


Blogger razboynik said...

Hey Dude !
Good to see you blogging again and getting some decent results.
Keep up the good work.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

Grats Ari!

6:24 PM  
Blogger sprstoner said...


8:38 AM  
Blogger davidraymond said...

nh buddy

sorry about the hit in that freeroll (I reraised with 22, lol)


5:33 PM  
Blogger SirFortune said...

Congrats Ari!

5:43 PM  
Blogger Na'ama said...

you're awesome...

11:26 PM  
Blogger jay said...

Congrats on the victory! It is funny that one of my poker heroes is 15 years younger then me! =)

2:35 PM  
Blogger theXlandlord said...

Congrats Ari!
insane domination

2:24 PM  
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