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:

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wsop Circuit Final Table

While the rest of the poker world went out to LA, the Saturday start day there precluded me from playing, so I decided to head out to Omaha Nebraska for the WSOPC in Council Bluffs Iowa...just across the bridge from Omaha. It was my first time in that part of the world. Unfortunately, the tournament only got 66 players, on a positive note I recognized very few faces and as the avid poker fan that I am, I tend to recognize (by face if not by name) most if not all players that have got even a drop of coverage.

It was even nicer to stack the "kid" to my left wearing a WSOPC ring who let go of 80% of his starting stack when his likely over pair.

I managed to lay down aces for the first (ok maybe slight exaggeration:) time. Amateur player opens UTG, I flat Aces in mid-position, and four of us see a flop. It comes 10,7,4,(rainbow) UTG leads, I call, 3rd to act calls in position, the blind folds. Turn is a 9 (making 2 diamonds) UTG leads, and I'm convinced that between them both I'm no longer good. So, I consider my options and make what I considered to be a prudent fold. After a non-diamond King on the river, UTG leads out again (he bet the same amount on the flop, turn, and river) and the other guy makes a crying call...gets shown AK diamonds and mucks. So much for disciplined laydowns. I managed to “shake it off.”

With blinds at 1K-2K and fourteen or so people left (9 paid) a short stack (who'd folded down to his current levels) shipped 3.8K (less than 2BB's) and got called from the button, I called in the SB w/ A2 and so did the big blind. The flop came J105 with a flush draw, we checked around. I led for 4K after a turned 2; both players folded but the button first flashed his 44. When the short stack showed his top set of JJ, and the table saw I was drawing dead, shenanigans ensued:)

At the final table, 6 handed, I was dealt 16 BB UTG+1 and I open to 2.5x w/ 88; it gets to the SB who goes all in (the SB and BB were virtually tied as chip-leaders at this stage and both had approximately double the player in 3rd). The SB was an amateur player who was playing on the semi-active side, but definitely wasn't an aggro-tard. With the BB's stack behind (and possibly the help of some live reads...he got up and walked around, did way to much unnecessary movements for a guy bluffing). I laid down my hand (I flashed my hand to SB hoping for him to show me as he had done the day before in a similar spot). The SB was nice enough to show me his AA. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take advantage of it and busted out in 6th place. It was my first 5K buyin final table.

Big Congrats to "Irish" Mike Sinnott who took down the 2nd preliminary event in Iowa, a $500 buy-in for $25K. I also want to congratulate DeadMoney627 for taking down the Bodog 100K (something I've still never done, after playing it close to every Sunday since it started to run. Lifetime, I have 2 FT's where I ended 3rd and 4th.)

Tomorrow I'm beginning the Bluff Poker Challenge where 25 of the best online players players start with $200 (no reloads allowed). Whoever wins the most in MTT's and Sng's gets on the front cover of Bluff Magazine. I've spent a ton of time thinking about bankroll management throughout my poker career, so this competition provides me with a built in advantage.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My thoughts

People keep arguing for the legalization of online poker in America. I'm of the understanding that it is already legal, I don't think people will like government regulated online poker nearly as much as they we're being led to believe. I imagine a bureaucratic nightmare, filled with endless forms for depositing withdrawing and unbelievably high rakes. Ideally we could go back to a pre-UIGEA world, and then pay Nat Arem a ton and have him build a state of the art regulations center. I'm a strong believer that we as an industry can build an effective policing unit. So much has been done in an unofficial capacity over the last few years. If people like Nat were given more resources, it's easy to assume we'd be able to make the online poker scene a much safer place without the need for government intervention (which seems to mess up everything else they enter.)

I still can't get over the number of regulars (people that are attempting to play poker for a living/decent % of it) that insult/berate bad plays and bad players. Leaks are fun - and extremely shortsighted.

I recently had my biggest online score, chopping the Sunday Mill 3 way for 116K. That combined with a great December and January having me feeling very confident. It really is amazing how much confidence can do for one's poker game. It's no wonder so many poker players have over inflated egos. Balance is so huge in this game.

Over the last year The Maven and I have spent a lot of time and energy building a state of the art training center. Literally every person that walks through the door is seeing something they've never seen before, it's fairly breathtaking (if you enjoy computers over views). I'm very happy to note the progress of our students has been amazing, and I'm proud in watching them grow into legit stars.

Speaking of spectacular achievements, congrats to The Maven for winning the 2008 Bluff Magazine Online Player of The Year. It was awesome having the pleasure of watching Maven play 10-28 tables throughout the year, maintain a highly profitable pace, train countless students and all make it look easy.

I tried to mimic Maven and move up from my standard 3-4 tables, so November was spent 6-11 tabling while I lost 5 figures. I've since tried 5 or 6 on occasion, but virtually all my success has occurred while 1-3 tabling. I still realize the theoretical value of mass multi tabling online tournaments, so I haven't given up on the dream. Still, for now I'll stick with my comfort zone and intend to play no more than 5 tables at one time.

Hope you enjoyed,


To find out more info about coming to my training center email: BodogAri (at) gmail (dot) com