LAPT7 Peru: More than starting works for Engel

"About 25,000... more than starting. You can never complain about that!"

So said Ari Engel during the last break of the night when asked how things had gone for him thus far on Day 1A, noting how he sat with more than the 20,000 with which he'd begun the day.

Over the course of a lengthy, successful career playing both online and live, Engel has considerably "more than starting" overall when it comes to poker, having amassed close to $1.5 million in live scores and well over $2 million online including a win in last spring's SCOOP series.


Ari Engel

Though his online nick "BodogAri" first connotes a laptop-bound player, in fact Engel is truly a globetrotting grinder, having played on practically every tour there is. So it was logical to ask him -- how does the LAPT compare?

"This is only my second one, so I don't have a great feel for how they play" he began, noting how he'd played LAPT Uruguay a couple of years ago.

"But it's nice to play a tournament with a $1,700 buy-in and lots of satellite players in it. In the U.S. that doesn't really exist right now.... I've been to Asia a couple of times and played similar ones there -- I like them."

Engel did win his LAPT7 Peru Grand Final seat online, but had planned to make the trip regardless.

"It's a country I've never been to before," he explained. "It was like, I could come here or England (for EPT London) which I've been to a bunch, or Foxwoods (for the World Poker Finals). So I thought -- Peru, that's cool."

While he's yet to explore Lima, he's heard -- correctly -- of the great cuisine one can find on every corner, and looks forward to enjoying some good meals during his stay.

Speaking of lower stakes live tourneys, Engel is a good one to talk to on that subject as well. Some might recall this summer during the WSOP he did something he hadn't tried before -- making a video blog in which he voiced concerns about several issues related to low-stakes tournaments and the WSOP schedule. Much like has happened with his many adventures exploring new countries and places to play, his experiment in video blogging proved gratifying as well.

"Overall I got a really positive reaction. A lot of people would just come up to me and say 'Yeah, I liked your video a lot.' There were a couple of points in there that were a little more controversial than others, and that was fine -- not everyone has to agree with everything I say -- but overall it was a really good response."

Engel's speaking out helped draw attention to the sometimes difficult plight of the lower-stakes tourney player, with the response proving to him how doing so had been worthwhile. He encourages other pros to share their thoughts, too -- about whatever subjects interest to them.

"If anything it can help people get through their grind," he added with a grin, referring to the value of offering interesting content for online players to consider while they play. "Jason Somerville is not a low-stakes pro by any means, but his series -- people love that. Just to have people sharing their opinions, it's great to have it out there. I've only done one, but I'd like to do more in the future."

Indeed, one video is more than none, which is where he'd started. And like the stack to which Engel returns, it's something to build upon.

Photography from LAPT7 Peru by Carlos Monti. Check out the start-to-finish live streaming coverage (in both Spanish and Portuguese) at Click here for live updates in Spanish, and here for live updates in Portuguese.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.