Veteran pro Ronnie Day was the last WSOP champion standing at Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas. Day earned his first gold bracelet, $200,000 in cash and the title of Tournament of Champions after four days of play.
“It’s so surreal right now, it’s unbelievable, I don’t even know how to explain it,” Day told PokerNews after posing for photos with his newest piece of jewelry.
This unique invitation-only event provided a $1,000,000 guaranteed prize pool and was open to WSOP bracelet or WSOP circuit ring winners in the last year. Just last month, Day won his way into the field by earning his first circuit ring in Elizabeth, Indiana. The Ohio native had three previous WSOP cashes on his resume, but this top prize represents more than his previous WSOP career earnings combined.
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Final Table Payouts
|1||Ronnie Day||United States||$200,000|
|2||Brent Gregory||United States||$120,000|
|3||Patrick White||United States||$87,000|
|4||Hunter McClelland||United States||$63,000|
|5||Wissam Gahshan||United States||$46,000|
|7||Barry Schultz||United States||$26,000|
|8||Daniel Marx||United States||$20,000|
|9||Zachary Gruneberg||United States||$16,000|
Final Table Action
A total of 741 players entered the freeroll event out of 989 qualifiers, with the final seven returning for an added fourth day to battle for WSOP glory.
Barry Schultz won his way into the field by taking down the senior’s event at Horseshoe Tunica in January. Schultz entered the day as the short stack and was the first to exit after seeing his pocket jacks cracked on the turn.
The lone Canadian at the final table, Justin Hotte-McKinnon, was the next to go in sixth place. Hotte-McKinnon earned his spot in the Tournament of Champions field by winning a ring on WSOP.ca in March. Wissam Gahshan qualified with a win at The Bicycle Casino in December and the start of the day chip leader collected a career-best score with a fifth-place finish.
As Day was vaulting his way up the leaderboard, the eliminations continued around him at the table. Hunter McClelland was the next to go, earning a nice payday after taking down two ring events on WSOP PA. Patrick White followed in third place at the hands of Day, adding a nice score to his resume to go along with a win at the WSOP circuit stop at Turning Stone.
Crowning a Champion
Heads-up play did not last long, as Brent Gregory’s significant chip disadvantage provided a path to victory for Day. Gregory earned a career-best score with the runner-up finish after qualifying with a win at the WSOP Circuit event in Tulsa in March.
As for our champion, Day says his next challenge will be looking for a third career cash in the WSOP Main Event. “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?”