World Poker Tour History Comes Calling for Bin Weng

Chipleading back-to-back WPT final tables, Bin Weng is looking to make WPT history.

Jeff Walsh
May 9, 2023
Bin Weng is in the midst of making WPT history.

“I really want to put my name on that Mike Sexton Champions Cup. That would be great.”

It must seem surreal for Bin Weng. It was just a week ago that the 40-year-old poker pro from Philadelphia (by-way-of China) amassed a massive final table chip lead at WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. And now, he’s done it again. Weng’s rock-solid play paired with a healthy dose of rungood has propelled him to the final table of WPT Choctaw, making it back-to-back final tables, and even more impressive – he’s captured the chip lead once again.

“I am speechless right now to be honest. I don’t know what to say,” Weng said immediately after reaching the WPT Choctaw final table. “Obviously I’m running so hot right now, running good. I’m not thinking that much before I play. Just trying to play every hand right and now I’m here, I’m speechless now…I’m so happy, so excited right now.”

Both televised final tables are paused so the participants can reconvene for filming at the HyperX Arena at the Luxor in Las Vegas. It’ll be then when Weng will not only have two shots at his dream of capturing a WPT title, but a real shot at history – winning two WPT titles in two consecutive days.

“I haven’t given deep thought about the strategy I’m going to use right now,” Weng continued. “It probably depends, because I have been in this spot quite often. Not at the WPT, but I have been to [a final table] quite a few times. I know mostly what I am going to do. But I don’t think about the details, the exact strategy that I am going to input.”

As amazing as this feat is, it’s actually not the first time a player has booked back-to-back chip leads in WPT events. In 2013, Paul Volpe, who also hails from Philly, made the final table of both the LA Poker Classic and WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star in back-to-back fashion. Volpe narrowly missed out on taking down his first WPT title in these events, finishing as the runner-up and third place respectively. Five years later, Darren Elias followed suit. After first taking down the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic for his record-setting fourth WPT title he immediately had his shot at title #5, taking the chip lead to the WPT Tournament of Champions final table where he ultimately finished in third place. Weng becomes just the third player in 21 years of the WPT to join this club.

Not quite the same situation as Weng, but worthy of comparison is Qing Liu’s 48 hours back in 2021. While waiting to resume the 2020 WPT Gardens Poker Championship, a televised final table that was delayed due to the COVID pandemic, Liu took down the non-televised final table of WPT Venetian for his first WPT title. The very next day, Liu had his shot at going back-to-back as the Gardens final table finally played to a winner. Liu finished in sixth place, for a two-day total of more than $860,000.

Weng’s performance is not only remarkable for the history that is already made, but the possibilities of what could be. There have only been three times in WPT history when a player has won back-to-back titles. Elias was the first to accomplish it in the same season, for his first two trophies, back in 2014 winning WPT Borgata Poker Open and WPT Caribbean in succession. Anthony Zinno won a pair in 2015, winning WPT Fallsview Poker Classic and WPT LA Poker Classic one after another. Marvin Rettenmaier has done it as well with the caveat being that he won the WPT World Championship, the final event of Season X, and then three months later was victorious at WPT Merit Cyprus Classic, the first event of Season XI. Not the same season, but back-to-back nonetheless.

When asked to handicap the pair of final tables, Weng understands the difficulty of the assignment that’s ahead of him.

WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown will be the first of the recorded final tables, with the action taking place on May 25. There Weng holds a commanding chip lead, more than double that of second in chips and 10x that of the short stack, and what looks to be an experience edge.

“At [WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown], I will be honest…the other five remaining, they are not in this spot that often.”

The WPT Choctaw final table, which goes down on May 26, he says “is much harder”. It’s an understandable statement as it includes two WPT Champions Club members in Jared Jaffee and Erkut Yilmaz plus a very experienced Mike Vanier who finished as the runner-up to Robert Mizrachi at WPT Venetian in Season 20. As mentioned, Weng again will enter with the chip lead, but it’s within striking distance for a number of talented players.

No matter how it plays out, Weng has already insured that 2023 will be a career year for him. A million-dollar score at the Borgata in January, a WSOP Circuit victory in Las Vegas in February, and now he’s etched his name in the WPT history books with his historic heater.

The only thing that’s left is to see what history has in store for him.