Part One of the Ben Yu feature can be found here.
That week of action put Yu in the conversation as a contender for WSOP POY but remains undecided as to traveling to WSOP Europe to chase down poker pariah and current POY leader Chris Ferguson.
“The math isn’t on my side – I’m 132 points behind,” he said. “Which is three or four min-cashes or one very good finish with only 11 events to make up the gap.”
“I enjoyed pursuing POY but I was exhausted the second half of the summer,” said Yu. “But it was great battling every day and multi-tabling for the first time in my career. Like most things, poker is not as intellectually stimulating as when it was new and I hadn’t played millions of hands, but figuring out how to multi-table without lighting too much money on fire was a new one.”
“Instead of just typical strategy, I’d also be thinking about how much I was blinding off, what order and time I should register the day’s tournaments, and which tournaments it made sense to multi-table,” he added. “I’ve never had so much fun losing money.”
The change in the WSOP POY formula was controversial amongst players and many were unhappy with it. The formula awarded min-cashes much higher than the past, which contrasts greatly with points formula used in the $25K Fantasy League. Yu finished high in both – a feat that poker players strive towards.
Ben Yu is equally serious and funny at the tables. (Photo: PokerPhotoArchive.com)
It’s also something that Yu never imagined when he first caught the poker bug. “Fourteen years ago I refused to miss any episodes of WSOP on ESPN, would cover all the clocks in our living room so I didn’t get spoiled on when the telecast was ending and didn’t have any idea how POY worked, said Yu. “I would have thought you were messing with me and been ridiculously dance-in-the-streets excited.”
“Six years ago, I had just come off being broke and was pulling my life together,” he continued. “My poker goals for the year were often WSOP-directed – playing the $10K Limit events and the Players’ Championship – so I wouldn’t have been that surprised, but glad I hit my goals,” he said. “I had just finished digging myself out of a hole and it wasn’t so certain I’d make it in poker.”
“The last few years I would not have been surprised to be in contention for POY,” Yu said. “I spent the last decade learning new games and formats, every year adding at least one new event to my schedule.”
“As such, I’ve played a complete schedule in all the recent WSOPs,” he said. “I know I’d have to run really well and have a monster year that I had not demonstrated before, but it’s not out of the question when you put in that kind of volume.”