Son of Orthodox Rabbi Wins $1.6 Million In Millions Poker Tournament

Ari Engel became the 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event champion inside Crown Poker Room on Sunday and walked away with $1.6 million dollars.

Engel’s win was the most remarkable of his career, but he’s not new to winning either. Engel, a Canadian, has spent eight early years of his life living in Melbourne and he returned to the city for the 2016 Aussie Millions.

“Thanks so much,” Engel said with a smile upon receiving congratulations after his win. “It feels awesome!”

Over the last 10 years or so, Engel has grossed about $5 million playing poker.

The son of an Orthodox rabbi, Engel, 32, has become one of the world’s best professional poker players and probably the only top-tier player who wears a kippah.

Though traditional Jewish law frowns upon gambling, Engel, who keeps kosher and often wears his kippah while playing, says poker isn’t gambling but a learned skill. He says that the element of chance in the game is no different than with stock picking.

Though he sometimes plays into Shabbat, he always takes off the Jewish holidays, when he usually goes to visit his parents in South Florida. He also has a sister in New York and a brother in Israel.

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