Germanys Hossein Ensan outlasted Italys Dario Sammartino to claim the $10m title early on Wednesday at the 50th World Series of Poker Main Event
Germanys Hossein Ensan outlasted Italys Dario Sammartino and Canadas Alex Livingston to claim the $10m title early on Wednesday at the 50th World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas.
The 55-year-old, who was born in Iran but moved to Germany 30 years ago, became the oldest world poker champion in 20 years when he finished off Sammartino after nearly eight hours of play at the final table. Its the first time since 2014 the winner has come from outside the United States and the third time the title has gone to an Iranian-born competitor.
Unbelievable, said Ensan, who now lives in Greven, Germany. He was making his first appearance in the Main Event with a previous total of $2.67m in career earnings. I am so happy. I thank my fans at home in Germany, also in Iran and my fans, my buddies here. This is the best feeling in my life. He claimed the winning hand when Sammartino pushed his chips all in at 1.24am on Wednesday at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
Ensan and Sammartino exchanged numerous smiles and a congratulatory fist bump at one point in a good-natured contest. Sammartino won $6m for second place after the 11-day tournament, which started with a field of 8,569 players. Livingston, a former chess champion, pocketed $4m for his third-place finish.
Ensan, who also won a diamond-encrusted gold bracelet, entered the final night with a commanding lead holding 60% of the chips in play among the three finalists. Sammartino took the lead briefly for the first time late on Tuesday more than three hours into the final round and Livingston was eliminated about 15 minutes later. But Esan stormed back to take the lead and never looked back on his way to becoming the oldest champion since Noel Furlong won the title in 1999 at the age of 62.