Bin Weng has had a monstrous run thus far in 2023. In just over four months, Weng won $1 million in ‘The Return’ at Borgata in January, took down a World Series of Poker Circuit main event for $227,344 in Las Vegas and now, just a few days ago, locked up a major chip lead heading into the final table of the 2023 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown.
Only three days out from locking up a date to play for $1.1 million at HyperX Arena Las Vegas at the Luxor, Weng was back at the table in a WPT event at Choctaw Casino & Resort Durant in Oklahoma.
The 40-year-old Weng, who was born in China and now lives in Philadelphia, gave little thought to returning to the Northeast to take a few days to recover, even after playing four full days of high-stakes tournament poker in Florida.
“I really didn’t think that much about it,” said Weng. “I’m just sticking to my same schedule and playing what I planned – right now I’m in another [tournament] here at Choctaw. Normal day, normal life. I’m not going to change much.”
Weng is chasing a piece of WPT history. Since WPT started conducting final tables at HyperX, no player over the last five years has booked multiple final tables in the same session. The only comparable performance in WPT history was accomplished by Qing Liu. Liu won the non-televised WPT Venetian title on March 9, 2021, and then played the COVID-delayed Season 18 WPT Gardens final table two days later at the PokerGO Studios, more than a year after making that final table. Liu ultimately finished sixth at that second final table.
Regardless of how things play out in Oklahoma, Weng has already positioned himself well to clear $2 million in tournament earnings in the first five months of 2023. Weng credits a few different factors for his recent success, but perhaps most important was a short break to reassess his game late last year.
“I ran really well in a couple of events [this year], for sure. I’m very thankful,” said Weng. “I was not doing so great in 2022, especially the second half of that year. I stopped playing for a little over a month, right after Thanksgiving. I stayed home, studied more and tried to find where my biggest leak was. I did change my strategy a little bit, so hopefully that continues to work.”
Weng sees his progress as having happened in stages. Things started to get more serious in late 2019 and early 2020 as Weng started to play more regularly on the World Poker Tour. In September 2019, Weng cracked the top 100 in the WPT Borgata Poker Open. Then came a pair of results that played a key role in locking Weng onto his current path of success – ninth in the 2019 Seminole Rock & Roll Poker Open, and then his first WPT final table at the 2020 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, where Weng finished fifth.
“That was [an important turning point],” said Weng. “I started playing more poker in 2019, I would say I was a semi-pro. I didn’t win big events, but I ran deep in a couple of them. That gave me a lot of confidence to move into playing as a full-time pro.”
Weng started peaking as a tournament player right as the world shut down due to the COVID pandemic. Like a lot of players enjoying success over the last few years, Weng took advantage of the time at home by going into the lab and studying poker.
His results over the last few years speak for themselves. For the moment, Weng’s focus is on making another deep run here in Oklahoma. But when play resumes in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown later this month, there will be more on the line than the obvious monetary prize at the top. Putting his name on the WPT Mike Sexton Champions Cup would have a particularly special meaning for Weng, because the WPT has been in the picture at each stage of his progress in the world of tournament poker.
“That is one of my biggest dreams. I spoke to my wife about it when I did my last final table interview,” said Weng. “That’s going to be mean a lot to me, because that’s how I got started playing poker more, because you guys [at WPT} were at Borgata. That’s when I really started playing poker tournaments. I really want to put my name on that Mike Sexton Champions Cup. That would be great.”