If you haven’t yet bought into the Bin Weng hype, now’s a good time to do so. The Philadelphia area poker pro who has dominated tournament poker all year, on Friday, bagged the chip lead on Day 1a of the $5,000 buy-in World Poker Tour (WPT) bestbet Scramble in Jacksonville.
Weng is one of 165 Day 1a entrants in the first WPT Main Tour event at the Florida card room since 2019, and one of 55 players who survived to Sunday’s Day 2 session. Day 1b, the second and final opening flight, takes place at noon local time on Saturday. Those who busted the first flight are eligible to rebuy.
The tournament guaranteed at least $1 million in the pot, but that clearly was just a starting point. After Day 1a, there’s already $750,750 in the prize pool, meaning even if Saturday’s session has a disappointing turnout (spoiler alert: it won’t), the guarantee will still easily be surpassed. Only 55 more players are needed to reach a seven-figure prize pool.
Just Another Day at the Office for Bin Weng
Weng has been the top tournament performer in poker this year, and there’s little doubt he’ll win Breakout Player of the Year. What has he done so far in 2023? Oh, just two seven-figure tournament wins, a WPT Main Tour title, and a WPT EveryOne for One Drop victory, along with numerous six-figure cashes.
On Friday, the WPT Champions Club member bagged 411,500 chips, more than eight times the 50,000 starting stack. That puts him solely atop the leaderboard from the first Day 1 flight. Sean Cotter (387,500) and Fred Normand (382,500) are the closest to the chip leader.
A decent portion of Weng’s monster stack can be attributed to a hand against Alex Burgos on a board of 7♦6♣4♣K♣6♥. Weng bet 92,000 with 7♠7♥ and received a call from Burgos, who then mucked his cards unexposed and was left with just 20 big blinds at the time. The chip leader, always a loose-aggressive player, won pot after pot nearly all day long.
The session was full of high-profile players. Some advanced to Day 2, others didn’t. Erkut Yilmaz, Jake Schwartz, Maurice Hawkins, and Brad Owen were among those who were unable to find a bag.
Notables moving on: Ian O’Hara, Ray Qartomy, Blake Bohn, Byron Kaverman, Joe McKeehen, Darren Elias, and Andrew Neeme.
Elias, the WPT’s all-time leader in Main Tour wins (4), cashes (48), and final table appearances (13), busted his first bullet quickly on Day 1a, but was able to battle through his rebuy and reach Day 2 with a stack.
Top Day 1a Chip Stacks
*Images courtesy of WPT/Drew Amato