Scott Ball emerged victorious in the 2021 World Series of Poker $5,000 no-limit hold’em six-max event, defeating a field of 578 entries to capture his first gold bracelet and the top prize of $562,667. This was by far the largest live tournament score of the 35-year-old’s tournament career. Ball was reportedly one of the key factors in establishing the Twitch Poker channel, making a big push to have the game added to the popular live-streaming platform. He went on to head the channel for several years.
While Ball has been celebrated for his involvement in bringing poker to new audiences, he was also been at the center of some controversy. Earlier this year Mike Matusow released a podcast in which he claimed that Ball had committed various wrongdoings, including allegedly ‘scamming’ Phil Hellmuth’s private poker game for $800,000. Ball was quick to bring up the topic when asked about what this win meant to him.
“I’ve worked really hard on my game for a long time. I’ve had really difficult last year and gotten a lot of flack that was not warranted at all, with a lot of not-great things said. I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to prove that I can play this game at a high level and compete with anyone,” he told Card Player after securing the title. “To come in here and win one of the big six-max events was soo important to me.”
Ball earned 1,680 Card Player Player of the Year points as the champion of this event. This was his second POY-qualified score of the year, having made a final table in a $10,000 high roller at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open in August. Ball now sits in 62nd place in the 2021 POY race standings as a result.
The final table began with Eric Tsai in the lead. Bracelet winner and 2010 WSOP main event runner-up John Racener was the first to fall. He got all-in preflop with AQ facing the KK of bracelet winner Galen Hall. The flop came down AK9 to give Racener top pair and Hall middle set. Racener picked up the nut flush draw when the 8 hit the turn, but the A river gave Hall a full house for the win. Racener took home $81,736 as the sixth-place finisher.
Hall had started the day as the short stack but continued to climb up the leaderboard by doubling through Bin Weng and then securing his second knockout of the day. Hall opened with A10 to 320,000 and Weng three-bet shoved for 2,850,000 with KQ. Hall called and made the nut flush by the river to send Weng to the rail in fifth place ($113,775).
A preflop cooler spelled the end of Eric Tsai’s run in this event. He got all-in with pocket queens, only to find himself up against the pocket kings of Ball. The runout changed nothing and Tsai earned $161,756 for his fourth-place showing.
With that, Ball took the lead into three-handed action. All three players spent some time at the top of the chip counts as they continued to battle. World Poker Tour main event winner Jonathan Jaffe was the shortest stack when the next big hand arose. Hall kicked off the action with a min-raise to 600,000 from the button holding 88. Jaffe three-bet all-in for 7,925,000 out of the small blind with A10.
Hall made the call to set up a classic preflop race for a chip-leading pot. The 872 flop gave Hall top set and a massive lead in the hand. The 2 on the turn gave him eights full to leave Jaffe drawing dead. The 4 on the river was a mere formality, as Jaffe was eliminated in third place ($234,781). He also took home 1,120 POY points for his fourth final-table finish of the year, climbing into 26th place in the overall standings as a result.
With that Hall took roughly a 3:2 chip lead into heads-up play with Ball. The two battled on for another hour and a half, with Hall extending his lead early on only to have Ball come roaring back. By the time the final hand was dealt, Ball sat with nearly three times as many chips.
Hall limped in for 400,000 on the button with K10 and Ball checked his option with A2. The flop came down J76 and Ball checked. Hall bet 400,000 and Ball unleashed a check-raise to 1,600,000. Hall moved all-in with his king-high flush draw, and Ball quickly called with his nut-flush draw.
The 4 on the turn completed both flush draws, but Hall was left with no chance to win. The 10 on the river locked up the pot and the title for Ball, while Hall earned $347,757 as the runner-up finisher. This was his fifth-largest career score, and his second-biggest payday in a WSOP event behind the $888,888 he earned for taking down the 2018 $888 buy-in ‘Crazy Eights’ event.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table: