Sean Yu Wins Inaugural WPT500 at Aria in Marathon Final Table

Sean Yu won the inaugural WPT500 at the Aria. (Photo courtesy of WPT)

Sean Yu won the inaugural WPT500 at the Aria. (Photo courtesy of WPT)

The inaugural WPT500 event at the Aria Casino held six starting flights over five days with the top 5% of each field advancing to Day 2. The $500 buy-in tournament attracted 3,599 total entrants, of which 176 returned for Day 2, which combined to build a prize pool of $1.79 million.

The final table ran into the wee hours of the morning and approaching dawn Sean Yu outlasted Kareem Marshall for the largest cash of his career, $260,000, and the inaugural WPT500 title. Marshall was a virtual unknown entering the final table and was in Las Vegas with his friend former NFL lineman Richard Seymour while Seymour was in town to play the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event.

Yu is a salesman in the Biotech industry in California and made the trip for this event. He played his first flight on Friday and busted, but made his way into the money on Saturday and bagged up to return for Day 2. “It feels amazing,” Yu said. “It was amazing with the players here.”

“I enjoyed the tournament at Aria,” Yu said. “There was a hand where I was all in and got two calls. I tripled up holding ace queen and at that point I was pretty short with about 15 big blinds.”

The 8:30 am Wednesday morning Turbo event slightly delayed the start of Day 2. It took until just after midnight to reach the final table. Scott Clements held the chip lead with 13.9 million, Marshall held 9.8 million and Jeffrey Ray held 7.5 million. Luis Nargentino (4.7 million), Christian Harder (4.4 million) and Yu (4.2 million). Messadek Soufiane and Terry Fleischer both had 4 million and Brian Benhamou (3.1 million) rounded out the final table.

Clements and Marshall had an especially long day after advancing from the morning’s Turbo event.

Two orbits into the final table Soufiane opened, Marshall three-bet from the big blind and Soufiane called with pocket tens. Marshall turned up pocket aces and watched the board run J 6 3 7 Q and Marshall held the A for the nut flush.

A half dozen hands later Harder opened in middle position and Fleischer moved all in from the small blind. Harder called with A Q and Fleischer had him out-kicked with A K. But the dealer spread Q T 6 2 9 and Harder paired his queen to eliminate Fleischer.

On the very next hand Clements opened, Marshall three-bet and Benhamou moved all in. Clements kicked his cards back to the dealer, Marshall called holding pocket kings and Benhamou tabled A Q. The board ran J T 4 6 8, Marshall’s kings held and Benhamou was out in seventh place.

The table settled in for 25 hands before Nargentino open-shoved and Clements called from the big blind holding A J. Nargentino turned up pocket jacks and had to hold for a double up. The board ran A K 2 8 5, Clements paired his ace straight away and Nargentino was sent to the cashier cage.

The table settled in for another 45 minutes before Ray open-shoved, Clements moved in over top and Marshall called both players having them covered. Marshall tabled A J, Clemens showed A Q and Ray had the worst of it with A 8. The board ran out 9 4 2 5 A and Clements dragged the huge pot with his queen kicker. Ray was eliminated in fifth place and Clements moved into the chip lead.

The table played four-handed for a little over an hour before Marshall limped under the gun, Yu limped from the button and Clements called from the small blind. Harder checked from the big blind and the flop came 9 7 4. Clements led out, Harder moved all in, Marshall called and Yu folded. Harder tabled 9 8 and Marshall turned up pocket kings. The board completed A A and Harder was out in fourth place.

After about 30 minutes Clements and Yu got their stacks in preflop with Clements at risk holding A 4. Yu flipped up pocket jacks and watched the dealer spread Q T 3 9 Q. Clements didn’t improve and was eliminated in third place after playing approximately 21 straight hours.

Heads-up play began with Yu holding 33.6 million to Marshall’s 20.8 million. In one of the early goings Yu kept the pressure on Marshall and he stopped the bleeding by earning a big double to get back to where they started heads-up.

The final hand began when Yu opened and Marshall re-raised and Yu called. The flop came T 8 7, Marshall moved all in and Yu insta-called holding T 7 for two pair. Marshall needed help after tabling A K but he bricked when the board finished J A. After a quick count of stacks Yu had Marshall covered by just a slight margin and won the tournament.

Final Table Payouts*

  1. Sean Yu – $260,000
  2. Kareem Marshall – $180,000
  3. Scott Clements – $120,500
  4. Christian Harder – $90,000
  5. Jeffrey Ray – $70,000
  6. Luis Nargentino – $55,000
  7. Brian Benhamou – $45,000
  8. Terry Fleischer – $35,000
  9. Messadek Soufiane – $26,000

* Each player at the final table received a buy-in to the 2015 WPT500 and hotel accommodations. The winner also received a $2,000 package for the WPT500 Dusk Til Dawn in Nottinham, UK in November.

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Paul Oresteen

Senior Writer: Paul Oresteen originally joined BLUFF in 2008 as an intern. He covered two World Series of Poker’s before leaving to join PokerNews.com. After a two year hiatus Oresteen returned to BLUFF in November 2012. Since starting as a poker journalist Oresteen has covered the World Series of Poker, WSOP Circuit, World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour. He graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Communications in 2008.
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