Sheng Ye has broken through for his second mid-major victory in less than six months after a record-breaking field in the 2023 WPT Prime Gold Coast Main Event at The Star Gold Coast.
The Chinese grinder, who won last year’s WSOP Circuit Gold Coast $5K Challenge, topped a field of 1,224 entries – the most for any WPT Prime tournament ever held outside of the United States – defeating APLPT Tasmania Jackstar Super High Roller Champion Ben Richardson heads-up for the title.
Ye’s performance in the final day of the $2,000 buy-in tournament was bolstered by two eliminations leading up to the final table, but speaking briefly with PokerMedia Australia in the wake of his victory, Ye confessed to treating himself at breakfast this morning to get that extra pep in his step.
“I have a rule when playing tournaments – no carbohydrates, only chocolate!” Ye joked.
In addition to taking home the top prize of $358,453, Ye has also earned himself a seat into this year’s WPT World Championship, plus return flights and accommodation at The Wynn Las Vegas courtesy of The Star Gold Coast.
WPT PRIME GOLD COAST MAIN EVENT FINAL TABLE
Noman Mirza was the first to ship out in ninth place ($35,847) after moving all in for his last 750,000 with K♣7♣, but missed the nut flush draw on the board of 9♠A♣9♣4♦8♠, with Andreas Vasiliou making two pair holding A♥7♦.
Vasiliou was then on the wrong end of a massive three-way all-in pot before departing in eighth place, calling short with A♣9♦ after Ye shoved after a flop of 9♠7♦6♥, only for Ye to snap him off with K♦K♣, which turned a set as the board completed K♥, 10♠.
Shortly after the break, Ye eliminated Slav Rypinksi in seventh place, with Rypinksi ahead pre-flop holding A♦9♦ against Ye’s J♥10♣, but despite turning a pair on the board of 4♣K♥7♦9♣, Ye’s rail went off when the dealer peeled off the river 10♥.
Day 3 chip leader Gary Lin was then put to the sword by Mo Haidary, who made a move with 9♣3♣ and jagged two pair on the board of 5♥3♥K♥Q♦9♥ against Lin’s A♦2♣ to send him to the rail in sixth place.
In action leading to the heads-up phase, New Zealand’s Anita Savage jammed pre-flop from the button and found two callers in Ye and Josh Foster, who checked through a board of Q♦10♦7♦7♠ before Foster folded to Ye’s bet of 250,000 after the turn.
Ye rolled up Q♣8♥ for two pair, but although Savage was leading with K♠K♥, the Q♥ on the river was the proverbial dagger in the heart of 15/15 PLO Champion, ending her Main Event run in fifth place.
Ye then picked up the last of Foster’s chips after his 10♦9♦ flopped a straight and held on the board of Q♠J♠8♣4♣7♦ against Foster’s K♥2♠, resulting in a fourth place finish and a six-figure payday for the birthday boy.
Ben Richardson then found a late rush to overtake Ye for the chip lead prior to the dinner break before eliminating Haidary in third, his A♦7♦ pairing up on the flop against Haidary’s K♣Q♠ on the runout of 8♦7♣4♠9♠2♥, but although the counts were virtually even between the pair, Ye took two big pots early to cut the Tasmanian down to as low as six big blinds.
From there, Richardson did manage to double through Ye three times before the final hand of the night played out before 10pm local time, with Sheng open-shoving with Q♦2♥ before Richardson undercalled with A♦5♦.
Both players paired up on the board of J♦6♠5♣Q♥8♣, but Ye’s hand was best and Richardson was consigned a runner-up finish, good for $238,978: his second-highest career cash behind his final table appearance in the 2018 Aussie Millions Main Event.
2023 WPT PRIME GOLD COAST MAIN EVENT ($2,000 buy-in, 1,224 entries, 156 players paid)
PokerMedia Australia‘s coverage of the WPT Prime Gold Coast series concludes tonight with our Live Reporting of the $10K Super High Roller, before bringing you our final round-up of side event results tomorrow (Tuesday); for more information and to watch the full replay of the final table broadcast, follow Star Poker Gold Coast on Facebook or log onto WPT.com.