Bin Weng
Bin Weng's win in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown was his first ever, but could be followed by another inside 48 hours.

Scheduling a World Poker Tour final in Las Vegas the week before the World Series of Poker starts could have been a work of genius or an act of insanity. Proof that the former applies was once again demonstrated this week as Bin Weng, a notable high roller with some very impressive recent results, took down the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown at the HyperX Arena for $1.1 million.

Having waited so long to win his first World Poker Tour event, Weng may only have to wait 24 hours before doing it all over again.

Weng Fast Out of the Gate

Come into a major tour event final table with the chip lead and the weight of expectation can crush some players. Not Bin Weng. In fact, nothing looks like crushing one of 2022 and 2023’s most consistent performers when the pressure is on. Under the heat and bright glare of the lights in the Hyper X Arena venue that hosts a trio of WPT events in Las Vegas, Weng immediately set about using his stack to bully his opponents. Early on, that was a tactic that worked well for him.

The first player to be eliminated at the six-man final table was Rafael Farah. Before the event, the Peruvian had cashed for less than $100,000 in his lifetime. As he made his way from the final table felt to the rail, his dreams had come true as he beamed a smile to his family and friends on his way to collecting his $238,000 prize for finishing sixth.

Farah was more than unlucky to go out, too. All-in with JdJc, he was delighted to see Weng call with the far worse 3h3d. The flop, however, was a heartbreaker. It fell Kc5c3s to set Farah behind, and after the 2s turn, he was calling for one of two outs. Only a jack would save him, and the Ah river was not a ‘fishhook’, so he shook hands with his rivals and bade the good fortune as he departed. Weng, now up to 47.5 million, with Mitch Garshofsky (22,975,000) his nearest rival, was looking something of a racing certainty.

Two Bust in One Orbit

With Farah busting only four hands into the action, the players settled down, perhaps mindful of the steep climb they faced up a ladder that soared up to the seven-figure payout for whoever could win. Weng remained in total control of the table, building his stack to over 71 million after eventually eliminating Jack Thu in fifth place.

Thu shoved with Ac4h and once again it was Weng to make a key decision. Ultimately, his chipstack made the decision for him, with well over 67 million behind him if he lost the pot meaning he could risk the 2,025,000 to call the four big blind shove from the American. It was an easy enough call and couldn’t have worked out better for Weng, whose AhQc dominated and defeated Thu’s hand after the board fell QdTh7dQhAs to send the South Floridian home with $312,000.

Just five hands later, play was three-handed as David Mzareulov busted in fourth place for $413,000. Mzareulov shoved for just over 10 big blinds with Kh8h and was flipping a coin against Weng’s 7c7d. The flop was an absolute disaster for Mzareulov as it came 7s6h6c, killing all hope of a double-up stone dead for the Azerbaijan player.

Weng Loses Lead Then Surges Back to Win

Three players remained, and it looked like a battle for second place between Weng’s opponents. The chip leader had 79,750,000 chips, dwarfing the stacks of Sri Sangannagari (25,700,000) and Mitch Garshofsky (9,125,000), but the average chipstack was still over 70 big blinds, and everything changed.

It didn’t alter until play got heads up, and that meant a swift elimination for Mitch Garshofsky in third place for $550,000. He shoved for his last dozen big blinds with 6d5d. Bin Weng called, and he was leading with AcQc. That never looked like changing on the board of AhJs8h5sTs and play moved heads up, and it was Weng who led. His 186 big blinds were far clear of Sangannagari’s 43 big blinds.

That all changed over the next couple of dozen hands, as Sangannagari took the lead with double of his opponent’s chips when his top pair on the flop was enough to make a crucial call after Weng made a huge bluff on the river. Having had a huge lead, Weng needed to win it all over again.

The chips had levelled up a little before the pivotal hand of the final table, with Bin Weng raising it up with JdTd and Sangannagari calling with Kh4h. The flop of Kd9s3d was always going to provoke some betting action and Weng’s bet of 1.6 million was called by Sangannagari. The turn of a 2h led to another bet from Weng, but Sangannagari wasn’t happy check-calling this time, raising it up and getting a call. The river of a Qh gave Weng the straight, and he called Sangannagari’s shove to double up to around 110 million, with Sangannagari slumping to a micro-stack of 4.2 million.

Sangannagari had doubled once by the time the end came. All-in with Js3h, he started and ended his final hand behind Weng’s Ks9d. The board of As9s5s8hAc sent Sangannagari home in second place with $745,000, with Weng winning the top prize of $1,128,250.

Weng has an unprecedented opportunity to bag his second WPT title in a matter of days, with a return to the HyperX Arena coming in a matter of hours to see if he can see his name etched on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup not once but twice.

WPT 2023 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Final Table Results:

Place Player Country Prize
1st Bin Weng U.S.A. $1,128,250
2nd Sri Sangannagari U.S.A. $745,000
3rd Mitch Garshofsky U.S.A. $550,000
4th David Mzareulov Azerbaijan $413,000
5th Jack Thu U.S.A. $312,000
6th Rafael Farah Peru $238,000