Ben Yu is a small but imposing figure at the poker table.
He’s quietly carved a niche as one of the top performers each summer during the World Series of Poker. And, oh yeah, he can dominate the high-stakes cash games as well.
The 2008 Stanford University graduate has over $6.1 million in lifetime live tournament earnings, per Hendon Mob. But that’s a bit misleading and doesn’t show how dominant he’s been over the past few years. Prior to 2015, Ben had just $525,000 in earnings.
Since then, he’s been one of the most consistent performers at the WSOP. In 2015, he won his first of three bracelets in $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship, good for $291,456. Two years later at the summer series, he was a strong contender for Player of the Year before bowing out to eventual champion Chris Ferguson.
During that summer, the Los Angeles native cashed in 12 events, including another bracelet in the $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship for $232,738. Last year, he won his third bracelet, this one in the $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller (Big Blind Antes) for a career-best $1,650,773.
Yu told Poker Central in a 2017 interview that he wasn’t far removed from financial struggles.
“Six years ago, I had just come off being broke and was pulling my life together,” he said. “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.”
Those financial problems are no longer an issue. Yu has developed into one of the most skilled players in the game.