After enduring 101 hands and a little more than four hours of heads-up play on Tuesday night, Germany's Hossein Ensan closed out the 2019 World Series of Poker by claiming his first Main Event bracelet along with the tournament's top $10 million prize.
Ensan entered the final day of the tourney as a potential wire-to-wire winner considering his significant chip lead over fellow finalists Dario Sammartino and Alex Livingston, and while that didn't come to fruition thanks to early gains by Sammartino in heads-up action, the 55-year-old Meunster resident sealed his big win with pocket kings in the evening's climactic hand. With both he and Sammartino all in, and the latter touting a flush draw and inside-straight draw, Ensan took the hand after the river was a blank and officially became the WSOP Main Event champion.
"This is the best feeling in my life," Ensan said afterward. "Unbelievable! I am so happy I'm here with the bracelet in hand. What can I say?"
Ensan, who topped the second-largest field in WSOP history (8,569 entrants), became the oldest player to win the Main Event in two decades as well as just the second German to claim a Main Event bracelet. He's also only the third Iranian-born Main Event winner, following Monsour Matloubi (1990) and Hamid Dastmalchi (1992). Now up to more than $12 million in career poker earnings, Ensan dominated throughout the final stages of the tournament, finishing Monday night's final-table cut-down with a sizable chip lead.
Sammartino, an admitted friend of Ensan, officially finished second to earn $6 million, while Livingston, a top-15 finisher in 2013, ended in third place with $4 million.
As the WSOP noted, this year's tournament drew rave reviews not only for its near-historic entrant pool but for a number of big-name runs leading up to the culmination of the Main Event. Former NFL star Richard Seymour, for example, finished in 131st place after lasting through Day 5. Former back-to-back Main Event champ Johnny Chan, 2016 winner Qui Nguyen and 2003 champ Chris Moneymaker all threatened deep runs as well.