HEADS-UP: Sheng Ye on winning the 2023 WPT Prime Gold Coast Main Event

After bursting onto the tournament scene with victory in the WSOP Circuit Gold Coast last December, 41-year-old Sheng Ye made headlines once again, topping a record-breaking field in the WPT Prime Gold Coast Main Event to win more than $350,000 in prize money and a seat into the WPT World Championship in Las Vegas.

The restaurant owner and father-of-one took time out of his busy schedule to chat with PokerMedia Australia and reflect on what has been a whirlwind six months on the grind.

PokerMedia Australia (PMA): First off, Sheng: congratulations once again on your victory in this year’s WPT Prime Gold Coast Main Event! Have you had a chance to take it all in?

Sheng Ye (SY): Thank you, yes, it’s been amazing – all my family are very excited! My mother, my father, my in-laws and especially my wife. I spend a lot of time playing poker, and she see this victory as the achievement and reward for her sacrifice in taking care of our family.

PMA: It’s been an incredible six months for you, first with victory in last year’s WSOP Circuit $5K Challenge, and now WPT Prime Gold Coast, which means you’ve qualified for the WPT World Championship later this year. Are you looking forward to the experience?

SY: Las Vegas is a fun place, and I have lots of things on my to-do list! I’m so excited and looking forward to it, but although I was lucky enough to win [in the Gold Coast], I’ve also seen a lot of leaks in my tournament play, especially in heads-up.

I’m going to invest more time in tournament play before my trip, and hopefully get something in the WPT World Championship in December. 

PMA: What are some of the things that you do to prepare for big tournaments?

SY: A healthy diet, plenty of rest and regular meditation helps. After winning this tournament though, I’m going to develop a better plan and work more with my close friend and tutor [2015 WSOP November Niner] Federico Butteroni.

I first met him in 2017 and we travelled throughout the USA together playing poker. I consider him my biggest influence both in poker and in life.

PMA: Finally, you’ve mentioned before that you are mostly a cash game player, but you’ve adapted to tournaments very quickly.  What are some of the things you like about playing tournaments that are different from cash games?

I mainly play cash and 6-Max HD is my strongest game, but I play all sorts of poker, including Omaha, and other types of card games like Big 2.

Tournaments are very different compared to cash games, and for me and my friends, it’s like a vacation, but the pride you feel in that moment when you’re lifting the trophy is something you will never have in anything else, no matter how much you win.

The WPT World Championship festival returns to Wynn Las Vegas from 29 November to 23 December; for more information, visit WPT.com.

All images courtesy of Enrique Malfavon (WPT Media).

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