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The World Poker Tour and Aria Casino team together for a third annual WPT500 – an event that’s quickly found favor with players looking for a break from the grind of 2016 WSOP. The $565 buy-in event, complete with a $1 million guarantee, kicks off Monday with the first of nine starting flights. The innovative structure was tweaked a bit this year – the top 11% of each field makes the money and only the top 5% bag up chips and advance to Day 2. Players are allowed multiple entries but players can only move their best stack forward. Players from 8-11% cash for $950, 5%-8% earn $1,200 and the min-cash for all Day 2 survivors is $1,500. The first year featured a $1 million guarantee that it crushed by more than 50% with 3,599 entrants. Organizers bumped the guarantee up to $2 million in 2015 and crushed it again with a $2.55 million prize pool. Players start with a 15,000 stack with late registration open until Level 9 on the traditional Day 1s. There are two Last Chance Turbo events on July 4 where players have until Level 7 to enter. The format was changed in 2015 to allow for a final table on Day 3 – the first year had a Day 2 that didn’t finish until 8 AM. Craig Varnell took down the 2015 event as part of a five-way deal with Lucio Antunes, Alexander Lakhov, Nick Binger and Chad Roudebush. Varnell’s win kicked off a yearlong hot streak where he’s had seven cashes of $15,000 or more. He cashed in the 2015 WSOP Main Event, won an IPT Malta Six Max event for $85,259 and final tabled a $2,000 No Limit Hold’em event in 2016 for $58,569. The inaugural event's final table had Scott Clements and Christian Harder but it was two relatively unknown players, Sean Yu and Kareem Marshall, who battled until sunrise before Yu took down the event. Amazingly, both players qualified from the Last Chance Turbo and spent 24 hours straight in the tournament where they won $260,000 and $180,000 respectively. Yu’s career took a big upswing after his win; a few months later he won the WSOP Circuit Rincon Main Event for $101,881 and the LA Poker Open at the Commerce for $124,590. He also finished runner-up in a LAPC Doublestack Turbo event for $52,020. The event offers a lower buy-in during a stretch of the WSOP schedule that includes two $5,000 events, two $10,000 events and the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. The Aria offers a special poker room rate during the event for $99 + $32 resort fee per night. WPT500 Schedule Day 1A – Monday, June 27 Day 1B – Tuesday, June 28 Day 1C – Wednesday, June 29 Day 1D – Thursday, June 30 Day 1E – Friday, July 1 Day 1F – Saturday, July 2 Day 1G – Sunday, July 3 Day 1H/1I – Monday, July 4 Day 2 – Tuesday, July 5 Day 3 – Wednesday, July 6
[caption width="640"] Sean Yu closed out the WSOP Global Casino Championship in dominating fashion and beat a field of 124 to win the 6,941 first place prize. (WSOP photo)[/caption] Sean Yu started his journey to the World Series of Poker Global Casino Championship last September by winning the WSOP Circuit Main Event at Planet Hollywood along with $170,000. The ring Yu won was his second and Thursday, he took down his first career WSOP bracelet along with $296,941 for winning the $1,000,000 guaranteed GCC in Cherokee, North Carolina. The most-accomplished players at the official six-handed final table for Yu to duel with were Dylan Linde and Jason Mercier, who found themselves eliminated within 10 hands of each other. Linde came into the final table as the short stack and on Hand 28, was busted out by Alexander Lakhov. Lakhov opened the button and Linde shoved for 186,000. Josh Reichard moved all-in from the big blind, and Lakhov got out of the way. Linde’s [poker card="ah"][poker card="qh"] trailed the [poker card="ad"][poker card="kh"] of Reichard and the [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"][poker card="2d"][poker card="2h"][poker card="5h"] board confirmed Linde’s exit. Mercier got in his last 325,000 in against Yu and was on the rail shortly after. Yu raised in the cutoff to 27,000 with [poker card="kc"][poker card="kd"] and was ahead of Mercier’s button shove [poker card="as"][poker card="qd"]. A queen flopped but Mercier did not improve further and was out in fifth. With the blinds up to 8,000/16,000, Reichard felted his second opponent in Jesse Cohen. Cohen moved all in on the button for 312,000 with [poker card="7c"][poker card="7d"] and Reichard called from the small blind with [poker card="td"][poker card="ts"]. Reichard had a straight by the turn and Cohen was eliminated in fourth place. Despite picking up that pot, Reichard did not last much longer and had to settle for the bronze medal on Hand 54. Yu opened on the button to 35,000 and Lakhov called from the small blind. Reichard three-bet to 110,000 in the big blind and both of his opponents called. Lakhov checked the [poker card="8c"][poker card="6s"][poker card="3h"] flop and Reichard bet 180,000. Yu was the only caller and the [poker card="3d"] came on the turn. Reichard bet 245,000 more and Yu stuck with him to the [poker card="4c"] river. Reichard jammed for 391,000 and Yu called with [poker card="ah"][poker card="6h"] to pick off Reichard’s [poker card="kh"][poker card="9d"], sending him to the rail. Yu started heads up play with a sizable chip lead over Lakhov and wrapped up the tournament on the 61st hand of play. Lakhov raised to 35,000 on the button and Yu defended his big blind to see a [poker card="jd"][poker card="4c"][poker card="3s"] flop. Yu check-called for 35,000 and the [poker card="9c"] turned. Yu checked again and Lakhov bet 90,000. Yu called and the [poker card="5c"] hit the river. Yu checked with Lakhov betting 160,000. Yu put Lakhov all in and Lakhov called with [poker card="ah"][poker card="jc"]. His top pair was no good against the flush of Yu [poker card="tc"][poker card="3c"] and Yu officially claimed the GCC title along with the bracelet. Final Table Payouts Sean Yu - $296,941 Alexander Lakhov - $183,527 Josh Reichard - $130,498 Jesse Cohen - $94,459 Jason Mercier - $69,624 Dylan Linde - $52,724