Bin Weng waited for weeks to play in not one, but two World Poker Tour final tables as the chip leader of both. Tonight, half of his job is over.
WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Results
Path to victory
When things were easy
The early play looked like Weng would make quick work of his five opponents. As the table short stack, it was Rafael Farah who got all of his chips in the middle first, holding pocket jacks. Weng made the call with pocket threes. In true Weng fashion, he flopped a set to send Farah home.
He then found himself in a blind-versus-blind battle with Jack Thu. This time, Weng held a dominating ace. Thu took a stand and played for it all. Once more, Weng made the best hand, making a full house. It looked to be the Bin Weng show as he chipped up while the others could only watch while appreciatively laddering their way to bigger paydays.
Next up to take on Weng and his piles of chips was David Mzareulov. He moved all in with K-8 suited and found a call from Weng with pocket sevens. I’m not sure what else we all expected, but Weng flopped a full house to leave Mzareulov drawing nearly dead. It held, and then there were three.
Less the 15 minutes later, Mitch Garshofsky put his short stack in play with the 6-5 suited. Called by Weng with the A-Q suited, Weng was searching to eliminate all four players before heads-up play. Both players made a pair, but Weng’s pair of aces was best, so only Sri Sangannagari stood in the way of the title for Weng.
When things were hard
Weng went into heads-up play with about a 4.5-1 chip lead. It became clear quickly that he wouldn’t steamroll Sangannagari the way he did the rest of the table.
“Heads up is way different than a full ring or six-handed,” said Weng after the match. “I was even more active. Unluckily, I wasn’t making many hands. I was thinking that I needed to make some moves to get lost chips back. Unfortunately, almost all my bluffs were getting called.”
Sangannagari slowly chipped away at Weng’s massive chip advantage. One big hand turned things around in a big way.
Weng check-raised a king-high flop holding J-6 offsuit. That was bad timing because Sangannagari held a king for top pair. Weng then continued with two more barrels on the ace turn and 4 river. Sangannagari found the calls and overtook the chip lead. Weng lost another pot after that, and then there was a much-needed break for him.
“I had a chance to walk backstage,” said Weng. “I did a lot of thinking, reset, and adjusted my strategy. Luckily, I was able to make a lot of hands when I came back and take down the title.”
Back on track
He did make a big hand coming out of that break. Weng raised the button with pocket sevens, then he faced a three-bet from Sangannagari with pocket queens. Weng flopped a set against Sangannagari’s overpair. All the chips got in on the flop and Weng’s set held to bring him back into the lead.
The haymaker to take nearly all of Sangannagari’s chips was when Weng flopped a combo draw with QdJd on the 9sKd3d board. Sangannagari had Kh4d for top pair. After two barrels from Weng, and the 2h turn, Sangannagari check-raised the flop, and Weng called to head to an important river. The river fell the Qh to give Weng the nuts. Sangannagari moved all in and Weng snap-called.
Sangannagari was left with six big blinds. He tried fighting back, winning a few pots to threaten to extend the match. However, it was too steep a hill to climb, and Weng finished the job a few hands later.
“I’m speechless, very very happy, I’m super excited,” Weng struggled for words immediately following his win. Regardless, he’s the newest name on the Mike Sexton Champions Cup.
The job isn’t over
After an over $1 million score, most people may have their eyes on celebrating in Vegas. Weng likely won’t be doing much of that as he gets to come back tomorrow and do it all over again.
“Right now, my head is on tonight,” said Weng as he prepared to head out of the HyperX Arena. “I may do some thinking tonight and tomorrow morning. Tomorrow I don’t have as massive of a chip lead, it’s slight, and it’s a very different situation. I’ll take one hand at a time like always.”
We came into today wondering if Weng would make history as the first person to win two WPT titles on back-to-back days. The history books remain ready, as Weng has done what it took tonight to keep that dream alive.
Sleep well to the newest WPT Champion, Bin Weng.
Let’s do this again tomorrow.
Photos credit: World Poker Tour