LAS VEGAS (12 June 2017) – Ron "Grumpy" Ware has captured the title in the 2017 World Series of Poker's Event #21, $1,500 8-Game Mix. Ware's triumph on Monday evening at the Rio Convention Center in Las Vegas was worth $145,577, along with his first career gold bracelet.
Ware eliminated Michael Ross during a hand of no-limit hold'em, one of eight different poker formats played during the event. Ross, the runner-up, collected an $89,948 payday.
Finishing in third was France's Fabrice Soulier. For Soulier, who won the coveted $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. title in 2011, it was the second final table of this year's WSOP. Soulier finished fourth on Sunday in Event #9, $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship, and he cashed for $58,968 here.
In the final hand, Ware moved all in on the turn of a board showing ,having a short-stacked Ross well covered. Ross called with for flush and open-ended straight draws, but he still trailed Ware's for top pair. The rive brought another jack, ending the event.
The win was the largest payday of Ware's career, topping his $107,950 cash for a 75th-place finish in the 2005 WSOP Main Event. Ware also owns one WSOP Circuit series ring, earned in a Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better event at the 2009-10 Harvey's Lake Tahoe series. Ware also finished third in this same event in the 2016 WSOP, cementing his reputation as a stellar mixed-games player
Ross's second-place showing was also a career best. Before this event, his largest WSOP cash was for $12,378, for a final-table showing at a major 2013-14 WSOP Circuit prelim tourney at Hammond, Ind.
Day 3 action began with 12 players still in the running. Spots 12th through eighth (Vinicius Collaco, Joseph Couden, Georgii Belianin, Alex Luneau, and Christopher Sensoli, respectively) were determined in the first hour and a half of play. Setting the official final table of six, though, took longer. After nearly two hours, a short-stacked Gregory Jamison moved all in with K-4 in a no-limit hold'em hand, and France's Fabrice Soulier called with A-Q. The flop brought a four to move Jamison ahead, but the turn was an ace and the river blanked, giving Soulier the knockout.
Sixth place went to Ryan Himes soon after. Himes had lost all but 25,000 of his chips in a previous razz hand and put those last few in playing pot-limit Omaha. Ross made a pair of queens to Himes' pair of fives, ending Himes' run.
Ware was in the midst of dominating this stage of the final table's play. Through much of roughly two hours of five-way action, he held more than half of the chips in play. Ware chose patience to bullying, thus forcing the four remaining short stacks to duel each other to survive.
Former bracelet winner Chris Vitch was the first of those to depart. Vitch was down to 350,000 when he moved all in with , only to find Ware waiting with . Ware's jacks held up easily on an eight-high board.
Not long after, India's Achim Barghava exited in fourth. Sarghava's tourney demise came in razz, when he moved the last of his 75,000 chips in behind / . Ware picked up this knockout as well, starting with / . Ware made an 8-7 on fifth and caught a trey on sixth to close out Bhargava, who caught a parade of middle cards to complete his board.
Soulier himself was down to 145,000 chips when he moved all in in back to back no-limit hold'em hands, getting action from Ross both times. Soulier won the first showdown but Ross took the second, at that point having Soulier just covered, thus setting the stage for the heads-up duel. Ware still held a 3:1 edge, though a game Ross fought back to take a thin, short-lived lead before Ware took command again. The lead was Ware's for good after he forced Ross to fold in a large no-limit hold'em pot with two eights on the board by the turn.
Ware had Ross all in on several occasions before the event's final hand. Ross had just doubled up twice to move his tiny stack back up to roughly 800,000 chips before the last hand's top pair versus big draw collision.
"It's a slow grind. You've got to be patient and just wait for chips," said Ware, referring to his continuing success at the eight-game mix format. Ware not only waited for chips but found plenty in the final table's early stages, though he denied doing excessive stealing of blinds and pots. "I still stayed out of trouble and I still waited for good hands," he added.
Ware had praise for his final opponent, "ECM" (East Coast Mike) Ross, though Ware remained confident and quickly reestablished control as the night's duel went on. "I had him pretty much out there, three or four times, and he dug his way back each time. I just had to stay patient and wait for the big hand that worked out for me."
The $1,500 8-Game Mix event drew 472 entrants and built a total prize pool of $637,200. A total of 71 players made the money in this event.
Many well-known players cashed in Event #21 but were eliminated before the end of Day 2. Among them: Daniel Negreanu (15th), Chip Jett (16th), Tom Schneider (22nd), Shaun Deeb (26th), Joe Serock (33rd), Mike Watson (37th), David "ODB" Baker (55th), and Jennifer Tilly (58th).
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Final Table Payouts (earned POY points in parentheses):
1st: Ron "Grumpy" Ware, $145,577 (155.4)
2nd: Michael Ross, $89,948 (132.4)
3rd: Fabrice Soulier, $58,968 (115.0)