The 2021 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas has crowned a new mixed game champion as Nicholas Julia prevailed in a field of 319 entries in Event #54: $2,500 Nine-Game Mix 6-Handed. He overcame Kristan Lord in heads-up to claim the biggest slice of the $709,775 prize pool and boosted his bankroll with the top prize of $168,608. Runner-up Lord earned a consolation prize of $104,210 and missed out on a maiden WSOP gold bracelet of his own.
Among the returning 17 players were several former WSOP bracelet winners and three of them made it to the seven-handed unofficial final table. As a matter of fact, two were knocked out in the same hand in what became one of the pivotal hands on the final day. Eventual champion Julia sent Kenny Hsiung and Robert Mizrachi to the rail to form the official final table.
Justin Liberto missed out on a second bracelet and finished in third place while other notables on the final day included actor James Woods, Mike Matusow, Bradley Ruben, Marco Johnson, 2005 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem, and John Racener.
Final Table Result Event #54: $2,500 Nine-Game Mix 6-Handed
|Place||Winner||Country||Prize (in USD)|
|1||Nicholas Julia||United States||$168,608|
|2||Kristan Lord||United States||$104,210|
|3||Justin Liberto||United States||$69,341|
|4||Aditya Prasetyo||United States||$47,164|
|5||Robert McLaughlin||United States||$32,808|
|6||Robert Mizrachi||United States||$23,352|
Final Table Action
When the unofficial final table of this six-handed event began, nobody could have seen how the first two eliminations were to have come. In what may turn out to be one of the most unique hands of the entire WSOP, let alone at a WSOP final table, both Kenny Hsiung (7th Place; $17,017) and Robert Mizrachi (6th Place; $23,352) were eliminated.
The action was picked up with three players involved on a flop of and Hsiung who led out with a bet of about half of his remaining chips. Next, Mizrachi raised all-in for the rest of his stack. Julia, re-raised all-in, and Hsiung snap-called.
All of the hands were turned face-up and it was an incredible analytical sight as Hsuing held for a flopped bottom set, Mizrachi and his for a flopped top set, and Julia was in the lead with the and a flopped nut straight.
Nothing changed on the turn and the river sealed the double knockout for Julia.
It was not until two levels later that the next player was eliminated. Robert McLaughlin (5th Place; $32,808) found himself on the unfortunate end of a blind versus blind confrontation holding pocket nines versus the pocket kings held by his opponent, Kristan Lord. The kings held and McLaughlin exited the tournament.
Next to go was Aditya Prasetyo (4th Place; $47,164). Prasetyo got caught up in the whirlwind of a run by Nicholas Julia, whose nines full of kings on sixth street in Stud Hi-Lo put an end to Prasetyo’s tournament run.
Justin Liberto (3rd Place; $69,341) had been up and down in chips and was attempting to run a short-stack back up in a hand of Limit 2-7 triple draw versus Lord but the eventual runner-up got the best of him. It was the eight-six low held by Lord that pipped Liberto's eight-seven.
Kristan Lord (2nd Place; $104,210) and Nicholas Julia (1st Place; $168,608) began heads-up play with Julia ahead with more than two to one in chips. Although Lord came quite close and even took over the lead for a few minutes, in the end, the night belonged to Julia.
He played well and he ran even better. Nicholas Julia entered the day as the chip leader and he left it the same way with his incredible performance, which netted him a coveted WSOP gold bracelet and $168,608 in first-place prize.
When asked how he felt after winning his first WSOP gold bracelet, Nicholas Julia responded with, “Great! Amazing! Everybody’s sweating; the wife, Suzanne. All these guys from Arizona. You know, everyone? I literally have a hundred people texting me we’re having a great time!”.
As far as key hands that got him here, most would expect the double-elimination at the final table to be the answer, but Julia got into a hand early in Day 2 versus Greg Mueller that resulted in him claiming the chip leader position and never looking back from that point forward.
When questioned about whether or not he plays poker for a living, he laughed out loud before explaining how he plays for fun and has no plans to play any more WSOP tournaments in this series. He is taking his one o’clock flight back home to Arizona on Saturday and plans on celebrating his win by spending time with his wife and kids.