On the third and final day of the 2021 World Series of Poker Event #56: $10,000 6-Handed NLH Championship, a champion was crowned as Ben Yu defeated Nikita Kuznetsov in heads-up play for $721,453.
The event attracted 329 entries to create a prize pool of $3,067,925, with the majority of that money awarded to the remaining players today. There were 50 players who cashed and 19 of them returned today looking for gold, but only Yu was able to bring the bracelet home.
Event 56: $10,000 6-Handed No-Limit Hold'em Championship Final Table Results
|1||Ben Yu||United States||$721,453|
|4||Mike Sowers||United States||$198,205|
|5||Steve Yea||South Korea||$137,303|
"Every time you win one of these it's pretty special," Yu said after his victory "This one, in particular, was a fairly tough event… and a fairly large field too. I don’t think I’m able to process this yet."
Along with his four bracelets, Yu has finished on the podium in bracelet events on six occasions — including three runner-up spots.
“I do think we put too much emphasis on winning. The difference between second and first place is just one coin flip essentially. I think we overvalue winning as opposed to other good finishes like second or fifth. The tricky part is there’s nothing better than when you win. There are no regrets and all the mistakes you made are washed away. You still made those mistakes and feel bad about them but it kind of doesn’t matter, you got lucky and they just got erased. That’s kind of how I feel about winning these things.”
On his eventual heads-up opponent Kuznetsov, Yu had some words of praise: “He was really tough actually. I’ve played with people who play in these events a lot, but I don’t think I’ve played with him before. We actually played yesterday on the bubble where he had the chip lead. We were just bantering back and forth actually… and we actually had a lot of fun bantering yesterday and today. He is very tough to play against for sure, he’s very aggressive… very tough to guess what he’s doing in some spots.”
Action of the Day
With nineteen players returning for the final day, it took over an hour for the first elimination to occur as nobody wanted to be the first one gone and miss out on the pay jump. Eventually, Eli Ross hit the rail and the eliminations quickly followed. Pavel Plesuv, Sam Grafton, and JJ Liu were a few of the eliminations before two tables were set. When eight players remained, Matt Berkey and Boris Kolev both busted almost simultaneously and the remaining six players converged on one final table.
With the final table set, all six players had somewhat similar stacks and plenty of chips to play with. At this point, Yu was the shortest stack but still held nearly 50 big blinds. Asi Moshe was the first to go when getting his chips in with the best hand but had no chips left when his opponent rivered a flush.
Steve Yea was gone not too long after when his kings couldn’t hold, with four players remaining at the dinner break. When play resumed it was Mike Sowers who hit the rail next after he got his short stack in against Yu, only to come out second best.
The three remaining players had fairly similar stacks and battled for over an hour while Yu started to become a clear frontrunner. Eventually, Ariel Mantel headed to the payout desk after he called off his stack with jacks against the king-seven of Yu, and a king came on the flop to the delight of both Yu and Kuznetsov.
Heads-up play began with Yu having a large lead over Kuznetsov, and Kuznetsov quickly got his chips in against Yu when both players held pocket pairs. Yu’s jacks were a clear favorite over Kuznetsov’s deuces, and although the Russian and his rail tried to spark some magic for a possible comeback, the board ran out blanks. Yu fist-pumped several times and even jumped up and down a bit while celebrating and giggling at the same time, as he was officially the winner of the tournament, and the owner of his fourth WSOP bracelet.
As for what the future holds for Yu, “I’ve been feeling a little bit burned out by poker. I didn’t really play much poker during the pandemic, I only played the online event that the World Series had, and I really enjoyed that break. I realized it’s been like ten years and I had never taken a real break, maybe I’d take a month off.”
“When you win obviously everything feels great and you’re happy and everyone who has a piece and your friends are all really happy for you and it’s really easy to celebrate. I’m going to finish the World Series and I’ll still probably play a lot of the major events that are here but I definitely want to take a little step back and just do other life stuff. Not feel like I have to play events over going to see my friends or going to weddings and stuff like that.”
“I realized that I love music more than anything. I’ve been going to dance class. I love going to music festivals. During covid, I learned to play electronic keyboard and I just want to do more of that and I’ll probably play a little less poker after the World Series ends.”
For now though, he’ll still be showing up to the WSOP and be looking for maybe even yet another bracelet, saying “I am going to be playing every tournament pretty much for the rest of this series. I’m just going to keep playing, firing the rest of these four weeks. It definitely makes it feel like a breeze, like it just feels like I’m freerolling.”
This concludes the PokerNews coverage of this event but check out the WSOP Live Reporting Hub to follow all the exciting action here at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.