Bin Weng entered Memorial Day weekend with an opportunity to achieve something extraordinary. Having already reached the final tables of two separate main events in the World Poker Tour earlier in May as the chip leader, the Philadelphia-based poker player had a shot at playing for both titles and a combined prize pool of up to $1.5 million over consecutive days. The first leg of this remarkable poker journey culminated in triumph as Weng capitalized on his chip lead to claim victory in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, a $3,500 buy-in main event held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Outlasting a massive field of 2,290 entries, Weng emerged as the sole survivor, clinching his first-ever WPT title and a career-best payday of $1,128,250.
“(Winning a WPT title) was one of my main goals, when I started to play poker (full time) back in 2019,” Weng told WPT reporters after coming out on top. “It means a lot to me, definitely.”
Following about five hours of intense gameplay, Weng secured the victory, granting him approximately 19 hours of rest and preparation before his next challenge: the final table of the WPT Choctaw. This event offered a chance to vie for the title and an additional prize of $400,740.
In addition to the title and monetary rewards, Weng earned 1,620 Card Player Player of the Year (POY) points as the champion of the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. With this win, his third title and seventh final-table finish of 2023, Weng amassed over $2.5 million in POY earnings even before factoring in potential winnings from the WPT Choctaw main event. Currently, he holds the impressive rank of third place in this year’s POY standings, presented by Global Poker, further solidifying his prowess.
The first elimination of the final table occurred within four hands. Rafael Farah, holding pocket jacks, went all-in against Weng’s pocket threes. A fortuitous three on the flop reversed their fortunes, granting Weng a lead that he maintained throughout the turn and river. Farah earned $238,000 for his sixth-place finish.
Shortly after, Naing Thu’s run in the tournament concluded in fifth place. Thu chose to make a three-bet shove with A-4 against Weng’s small-blind open. Weng called with A-Q, leaving Thu in a precarious situation. As the community cards unfolded, Weng secured queens full of aces, further solidifying his dominance. Thu, primarily a cash game player from Florida, received $312,000 for his impressive performance in the event.
The subsequent pivotal moment materialized when David Mzareulov made an open shove with K♥8♥ from under-the-gun, having only 11 big blinds left. Weng, sitting in the small blind, opted to isolate with 7♦7♣. The remaining players folded, and the flop displayed 7♠6♥6♣, granting Weng an unbeatable hand with sevens full. With the J♥ on the turn, Mzareulov was officially eliminated, and the 10♠ on the river merely confirmed his fate. Mzareulov’s fourth-place finish rewarded him with $413,000, surpassing his previous highest cash of $205,000 earned as the runner-up in a Millionaire Mayhem Poker Series event at The Lodge Poker Club in 2021.
Mitch Garshofsky, holding fewer than 13 big blinds, made a button shove with 6♦5♦. Unsurprisingly, Weng called from the big blind
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table: