After a fascinating encounter on the final day of the Event #21: $1,500 8-Game Mix 6-Handed, Ron Ware emerged victorious to earn his first WSOP bracelet along with a $145,577 first-place prize. Remarkably, Ware entered the tournament defending his third place result from last year's edition. This time, he left the 472-strong field behind.
Ware explained the importance of staying focused all the way through the long journey that leads to the famous gold: "It's just a slow grind. Just gotta be patient and wait for chips. You can't chase chips that don't belong to you," he said.
"I like the mixed games because usually, you can catch a couple of the games people are weak at. I like the mixed the best because it gives everybody a shot to be bad at something," said the champion.
Event #21: $1,500 8-Game Mix 6-Handed Final Table Results
Ware came back for the final day second in chips but he soared to the chip lead in the fourth level of the day with players already seated on the feature table. Ware won a huge three-way pot in stud hi-lo when Chris Vitch bet-folded on the seventh street and Fabrice Soulier check-raised with two pair on his board. Ware had aces in the hole in addition to his exposed threes, scooping the giant pot to vault over one million in chips.
Since then, Ware controlled the final table, extending his chip lead to sit even more comfortably in his chair. He had nearly half of all chips in play with five players left and with the progressing levels, he was becoming clearer and clearer lock for heads-up.
When asked about whether his approach to the final table changed when he gained the commanding lead, Ware replied: "Not really. I still stayed out of trouble, still waited for good hands."
One of the main stories of the final day was Chris Vitch, who came back with the second shortest stack but he quintupled it during the first level. Arguably the most feared mixed games player on the final table, Vitch couldn't eventually reach better than a fifth place finish. Vitch lost his chips to Ware in a no-limit hold'em hand, shoving from the small blind with queen-ten only to run into Ware's pocket jacks. Vitch collected $27,142 for his efforts, topping his $23,827 payday from last week's tenth place finish in the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship.
Vitch's exit wasn't followed by any elimination for the next hour of play, but Ware took care of Sachin Bhargava soon after dinner break in a razz hand, sending him to the sidelines in fourth place worth $39,545.
While Ware had a paved way to heads up, Fabrice Soulier and Mike Ross were getting short and they battled it out for the other chair for the final showdown. They clashed twice in no-limit hold'em, and while Soulier doubled in the first round, the second belonged to Ross who knocked out the French bracelet winner in third place, leaving him with a $58,968 prize.
Ware was a huge chip-favorite entering heads up with about a five-to-two lead. Ross, however, proved to be a tough obstacle. He managed to narrow the gap and even gained a slight lead at one point, but Ross' tally featured many up-and-down swings and Ware would soon magnify his chips back.
The most remarkable hand during heads-up emerged in stud when Ware called a bet on the seventh street with just ace-king high, correctly picking off Ross' bluff.
"The way I looked at his board, it just looked to me like he was going to have a flush or nothing. I just can't picture him betting a pair in that spot. It didn't look like he was dragging with a pair, it looked like he had some kind of draw. So, I figured he either made his draw and he's getting one more bet, or he missed his draw and I'm gonna get the pot," revealed Ware his thought process during the hand.
Ross, however, remained relentless, bravely chasing his first bracelet. He doubled three times, but the fourth one wasn't meant for him. Ross' fate as a runner-up for $89,948 was sealed in no limit hold'em, with Ross calling all-in on the turn with a flush draw and an open-ended straight draw against Ware's top pair.
The river missed all of Ross' outs to play his swan song and decorate Ron Ware the $1,500 8-Game Champion.