The final winner of the WSOP Tournament of Champions, which was hosted at the Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas, was the seasoned professional Ronnie Day. Day won his first gold bracelet, a monetary prize of $200,000, and the prestigious Tournament of Champions championship following four days of hard play.
An overjoyed Day voiced his shock in a post-event interview with PokerNews, saying, “I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s so surreal right now, it’s unbelievable.” The winner couldn’t contain his happiness as he posed for pictures wearing his newest piece of jewelry.
A Unique Invitation-Only Event
With a prize fund of $1,000,000 guaranteed and a special invitation-only format, the Tournament of Champions was an exciting event. Only those who had recently won WSOP bracelets or WSOP circuit rings were eligible. Day earned a berth in the contest by taking home his maiden circuit ring in Elizabeth, Indiana, only a few weeks ago. He had previously placed in three WSOP events, but the top prize he won has now surpassed all of his previous WSOP winnings combined.
Thrilling Final Table Action
Out of the 989 qualifiers, 741 players participated in the freeroll tournament, with the top seven players returning for a fourth day to compete for WSOP gold.
Barry Schultz, the short stack who won the senior’s event at Horseshoe Tunica in January to earn his entrance, was the first player to leave the table after his pocket jacks were busted on the turn.
Only one Canadian was present at the final table, and Justin Hotte-McKinnon finished sixth. By winning a ring on WSOP.ca in March, Hotte-McKinnon qualified for the Tournament of Champions. The chip leader at the start of the day, Wissam Gahshan, qualified for the event by winning at The Bicycle Casino in December. He finished sixth, a career-high placing.
Eliminations carried on as Day moved up the standings. The next elimination earned Hunter McClelland, a winner of two ring events on the WSOP PA, a sizable payoff. Patrick White, who had won at the Turning Stone stop of the WSOP circuit, ran into Day and fell to third.
Crowning the Champion
Heads-up play was short-lived as Day ultimately prevailed against Brent Gregory due to Gregory’s large chip disadvantage. Gregory qualified with a victory at the WSOP Circuit event in Tulsa in March, and he achieved a career-best result by coming in second.
Day discussed his goals for the future, saying that his next goal was to win his third career cash in the renowned WSOP Main Event. Day said, when asked about his experience at the Tournament of Champions, “I was sitting there thinking, this is very good practice for the main instead of just jumping right into the fire,” Day said after reflecting on his experience this week.
The winning hand was J-5 offsuit, to which Day quipped, “Motown is back, right?”
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