LAS VEGAS (19 June 2017) – California's Ben “BYU” Yu has captured his second career World Series of Poker gold bracelet in Event #34 of the 2017 WSOP, $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship.
Yu's win in the deuce-to-seven triple-draw championship was worth $232,738, and was finalized when he eliminated Shaun Deeb in second place.
The triumph moved Yu's career WSOP earnings to $1,084,877. This was Yu's 49th career WSOP cash, among which have been five previous final tables. Yu's prior bracelet win came in the 2015 WSOP's Event #50, $10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship.
Deeb, a Las Vegas-based pro, was searching for his own third career bracelet in this final. He earned $143,842 for the runner-up finish here.
Taking third in the lowball triple-draw championship was New Yorker Nick Schulman, who collected $98,337 in this event.
Yu admitted to running very well in this event's final table, in particular after it was trimmed to three players. Yu started the heads-up duel against Deeb with roughly a 2.5 million to 1.5 million edge, and he increased that lead steadily from there.
In the final hand, with Deeb just north of 500,000, the two players were in for all of Deeb's remaining chips after the second draw. Both players stood pat, and Yu opened up , just a notch better than Deeb's .
In a numerical oddity, this final featured four prior bracelet-winning Americans (Deeb, Yu, Schulman, and Mike Matusow) along with two prominent Canadian pros (Mike Watson and Shawn Buchanan), both of whom arrived with more than $2.4 million in WSOP career earnings but had yet to snare bracelet gold. Unfortunately for Watson and Buchanan, those quests will continue.
However, the early action at this final table centered around four-time bracelet winner Mike Matusow. Matusow started as the short stack, won a large pot early to move up the board, then had a bluff picked off to return to short-stack status. In his last hand's final draw, he took one card with against Yu's made . Matusow found only a , though, to finish in sixth.
Fifth went to Buchanan, bounced here by Deeb's eight-perfect (8-5-4-3-2) when Buchanan could muster only a nine-seven. His fellow Canadian, Watson, followed in fourth. Watson's day ended when he reraised all in for his last 101,000 before the first draw. Yu and Deeb called and checked it down on the remaining draws, with Deeb eventually showing a seven-low to best Yu's eight-low and Watson's ten.
That knockout put Deeb well ahead while Yu and Schulman played catch-up, and Yu did that with success over the next hour while Schulman's stack was trimmed. Schulman battled back from the brink more than once before being eliminated in another three-hand. This time it was Yu showing the eight-perfect, well ahead of Schulman's queen-nine. The pot gave Yu a 5:3 lead as heads-up play began.
"It was actually a very tough final table," Yu told the WSOP. "I think the media overblows it [at times]. Even a lot of the name players, the ones you've seen have some success, aren't always that great. But this final table and this field was actually really tough.
"You have Nick Schulman, who is one of the end bosses of Bobby's Room -- very, very good, winning at everything he plays, good at everything. You have Shaun Deeb, who is one of the few players who can get away with that loose because of how great he is post-flop... . Mike Watson is... I don't look up to many people in poker, but he is definitely one of them [I do]. I always like to brag in my poker chats, my group of poker friends, but I'm often not the best at the things I excel the most in. Mike Watson is ahead of me for sure. Shawn Buchanan is also very tough, very good at everything he plays."
Yu also acknowledged that he was a part of preventing Watson from capturing his own first WSOP bracelet. "Mike has made so many final tables. At some point he's definitely going to get there." Yu added, "I didn't tell him this yet, but if I busted, I was going to be in his bracelet photo. I was going to do the McKayla Maroney 'unimpressed' face, while standing off to the side.
As to the final three, where he had but one bracelet to match up against Deeb's and Buchanan's two each: "Against these two I was either break-even or slightly losing." Yu wasn't paying much attention as to whether he was in command and likely to win, but was certainly aware of the end-game rush, giving plenty of credit to his run of hot cards in the final hour.
Eighty players entered this triple-draw lowball championship event, generating a total prize pool of $752,000.
Finishing in seventh through 14th positions to cash, respectively, were Robert Campbell, Anthony Zinno, Brian Tate, Mark Gregorich, Konstantin Puchkov, and Adam Owen.
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Final Table Payouts (earned POY points in parentheses):
1st: Ben Yu, $232,738 (132.4)
2nd: Shaun Deeb, $143,842 (112.8)
3rd: Nick Schulman, $98,337 (99.4)