Mixed-max events seem to belong in the favorites category for many players. The changing pace of the game as the tournament progresses makes for interesting dynamics and creates new challenges as tables get shorter.
Event #58 of this year’s WSOP attracted quite a number of players, as 1,475 of them gathered to play on the first day of action. It started with nine-handed tables and transitioned to six and four-handed phases before eventually getting down to two heads-up matches to determine the two finalists.
Mike Watson squared off against Mark Herm, while Jared Jaffee played Joseph Alban. Jaffee made short work of Alban, as their match ended after only two hands. Alban moved all-in from the button and Jaffee made the call with #9h#9d. Alban’s #qs#8c was in trouble, but the turn gave him both straight and flush draws to go with his Queen. However, a brick on the river forced his elimination, albeit $126,882 richer.
Watson and Herm took a bit longer to determine the winner, as their stacks were much closer with Herm holding a slight lead at the start. Eventually, however, Watson found a way to get ahead and managed to strike the finishing blow when his #kd#2h held against Herm’s #jh#8h, sending him to the rail with winnings equal to that of Alban.
After a break, Watson and Jaffee were ready to start what turned out to be a long heads-up battle for the title, with Jaffee holding a nearly 2:1 chip lead over Watson. Watson fought with all he had and was able to capture the lead at one point in the match, leading many to believe that he might be able to turn it around.
But things took a turn for the worse once again and Watson’s stack started dwindling. This time, he could not find a way to recuperate and soon found himself all-in for his tournament life. Watson was well ahead with his #jh#jd facing the #ac#6c of Jaffee. Fading an Ace would get him right back in the match. The bullet did not appear, but a straight did on fifth street when the board ran #10c#8h#5h#7c#4h. Watson’s pocket Jacks were second best, resulting in a runner-up finish and a $246,000 prize.
Jaffee binked the Mixed-Max event, claiming $405,428 and his first gold bracelet. His previous best WSOP finish was 3rd place in last year’s four-handed event. The results further solidified Jaffee’s claim that short-handed play is his forte. Going into the last day of play, Jaffee had a good feeling about this tourney and that feeling proved to be right as he finally claimed a bracelet in his 11th WSOP cash.