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Final Table Takedown: Bin Weng Snags Two Wins So Far In 2023

by Craig Tapscott |  Published: May 17, 2023


Bin Weng finished high school in China before moving to the United States in 2001 at 18 years old. About a decade later he was living in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, when he discovered poker. He and his future wife then moved to Long Island, New York, where they had their son and Weng continued to play in cash games.

By 2019, poker had gone well enough for Weng to turn pro. He began to focus on tournaments, making a few decent scores, including a final table at the WPT Rock & Roll Poker Open in South Florida. He then final tabled the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open in January of 2020. The tournament was set to play out in Las Vegas just weeks later, but due to the pandemic which shut down the entire live poker industry, the final table ended up being postponed for nearly 15 months.

By the time he emerged from his study-filled lockdown, Weng had turned himself into a poker tournament machine. He ended up finishing fifth in that event for $187,900, and credits the run as the most memorable experience of his career, but he was far from done at Borgata.

He picked up four side event wins in a span of six months, and then made two big final tables at the 2021 World Series of Poker, taking fifth in the $5,000 six-max event for $113,775, and sixth in the $50,000 high roller for another $202,236. There were three more wins in 2022, including the Wynn Millions $10,000 high roller for $189,800.

In January of this year, Weng earned a career-high payday of $1 million when he topped a massive field of 1,142 players at The Return Championship at Borgata. The next month, he added his first WSOP Circuit ring by winning the Horseshoe main event in Las Vegas for another $227,344. Weng now has nearly $3.2 million in career earnings.

Card Player caught up with Weng, who was nice enough to break down a couple of key hands from his two big wins in 2023.

Event: Borgata – The Return Championship
Buy-In: $5,000
Entrants: 1,142
Prize Pool: $5,538,700
First Place Prize: $1,000,000
Stacks: Bin Weng – 4,200,000 (42 BB) Jonathan Borenstein – 6,700,000 (67 BB)
Blinds: 50,000-100,000 with a 100,000 big blind ante
Players Remaining: 8

Craig Tapscott: What did you do to prepare for this final table?

Bin Weng: I normally do some homework the day before the final table, perhaps some research on all of my opponents’ winnings and experience. Also, I am very aware of each player’s stack size and position relative to where I am at the table. But the most important thing to me is to get some rest and have a good night’s sleep.
It folded to Borenstein in the small blind, who raised to 375,000.

BW: I had JClub Suit 8Heart Suit in the big blind. My thought process was that he had me covered and he was second in chips. In general, he should be opening pretty wide due to ICM (Independent Chip Model) [pressure]. We have a hand that lacks any blockers to three-bet, and due to our middling stack, we should play very cautiously. Our hand is just good enough to defend and more importantly, I have position. I decided to…

Weng called.
Flop: 10Club Suit 5Diamond Suit 4Diamond Suit
Borenstein bet 260,000.

CT: Can you continue in this spot?

BW: I completely missed the flop. My first thought was I should fold, but then I had another idea. Because he should open pretty wide here, he should not have a lot of hands that connect to that flop. Also, I didn’t want to let him or my other opponents at the table think that I’m the type of player who might be super easy to exploit. So, I decided to [float] and planned to make a move on a later street if there were some favorable runouts.

Weng called.
Turn: 9Diamond Suit

BW: The turn is an interesting card. It completed the front door flush draw and gave us an open-ended straight draw.

Borenstein checked.

BW: I thought it over for a bit and put out a bet…

Weng bet 865,000. Borenstein folded, and Weng won the pot of 1,420,000.

CT: Please share your thoughts on when to make these types of floats on the flop and why. Is it player reads, their position, etc. that determine your decisions in these spots?

BW: Normally when I do these types of floats, I always first consider the type of opponent I’m facing, their stack size, and their position. I also consider the frequency of aggression between myself and them. And I do my best to try to pick up some live reads in the moment. 

CT: Can you be more specific and share what kind of live reads you look for at the table?

BW: Poker tells are pretty much unlimited, as almost every player is different and will display many various behaviors you can pick up on. Most poker players tend to react to situations in similar ways. This is why an experienced/educated player will get a read from his/her opponent and figure out whether their opponent is bluffing or has a strong hand.

CT: What’s your main focus when looking for a tell?

BW: I always pay close attention to the type of player I’m facing at the table. There are so many different types of players. Some players are really tight, some really love to bluff, etc. I watch what their tendencies and behaviors show me and proceed from there to make a qualified decision.  

Event: WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Main Event 
Buy-In: $1,700
Entrants: 833
Prize Pool: $1,261,995
First Place Prize: $227,344

Stacks: Bin Weng – 7,200,000 (60 BB)
Alex Foxen – 5,000,000 (42 BB) Big Blind – 5,500,000
Blinds: 60,000-120,000 with a 120,000 big blind ante
Players Remaining: 5

Weng raised from UTG+1 to 250,000 holding ASpade Suit KSpade Suit.

BW: As the chip leader, we should open a wide range of hands.

Foxen called from the small blind, as did the big blind.

CT: Alex is a great player. I am sure his call from the small blind concerned you a bit, but you do have a huge hand.

BW: Yes. When Foxen flat calls in the small blind that immediately put me on alert, because he should be flatting from there with a very tight range due to ICM. And he was well covered by me.

CT: You spoke about a tight range regarding Foxen’s call. When you’re in the small blind in this situation, what is your list of considerations when deciding to call or not, especially when playing shorthanded?

BW: The hand range is a type of hand that either you or your opponent might hold in a particular situation. I think it’s a basic, but important element most players will study when they start playing poker. Especially for tournament players. 

For ICM reasons, my stack covers Foxen’s stack (I can bust him, but he cannot bust me). He just flat called my open raise out of the small blind (worst possible position in poker, and always first to act). 

Normally we would like to fold, or raise out of the small blind. That’s because it’s always the worst position when going to post-flop. And being always first to act, it’s hard to navigate and to be profitable every time. This is true especially when you’re on the shorter stack and facing aggression from a bigger stack with ICM considerations.

So that being said, you want to defend with a pretty tight range of hands from the small blind. That makes it easier to play post-flop because you don’t want to get exploited easily by calling from the small blind with marginal holdings. 

One more thing. Because the big blind is behind us and has not yet acted, you should play very cautious from the small blind when you decide just to flat call. 

CT: How about from the big blind? How does that position change your decision to call or not?

BW: We should defend wider from big blind due to the awesome pot odds, and we’re almost always last to act and close the action. But with ICM reasons, we should be more cautious, especially if we are short. 

CT: What are you considering because of ICM?

BW: The Independent Chip Model (ICM) is a mathematical model used to approximately calculate a player’s overall equity in a tournament. The model uses stack sizes alone to determine how often a player will finish in each position, first, second, third, etc.

ICM allows players to estimate the value of their stack at any given point in a tournament. This is very important as ICM can (especially in the late stages of the tournament) have a very significant impact on the decisions you make. We all know the biggest payouts are always for the few top finishers in a tournament, and the final table pay jumps are significant compared to earlier stages of the tournament.

Flop: AHeart Suit QDiamond Suit 9Heart Suit
Foxen and the big blind both checked.

CT: A great flop for you. How did you decide what bet sizing to slide out?

BW: The ace high board texture favored our opening range, so we should continuation bet this flop a very high percentage of the time. And due to the wet and somewhat connected board, if we chose to c-bet, it would be a bigger sizing.

That would have been my favorite option. But because our strong opponent flatted from the small blind, I chose a low-frequency line to check it back this time.

Weng checked behind.
Turn: 2Spade Suit
Foxen bet 350,000 and the big blind folded.

CT: What now?

BW: I’m thinking by leading out on this board texture Foxen’s hand range should contain a lot of suited A-x, suited Broadway cards, some of them with a heart flush draw. Also, perhaps some middle pair like nines which hits a set on the flop. So, with this pretty tight range of hands from Foxen, I decided to just call and see what happenned on the river.

River: ADiamond Suit
Foxen bet 1,550,000.

CT: What do you make of this bet, now that the board is paired? It looks pretty damn strong.

BW: It does. Alex led out for a full pot-size bet. I ran through the entire hand again in my head. First off, I had the top of my check-back range in the hand, so that means I don’t think I’m going to fold here. The question became for me – can I get more value by raising? Due to the pretty polarized size of his bet, I gave it pretty careful consideration.

Most of the hands I can get more value from are A-x type hands, such as A-J, A-10, and maybe some A-5, and A-4 hands. But we lose to A-Q, A-9, and pocket nines. Finally, I just decided to go for the call.

Weng called. Foxen revealed 9Club Suit 9Diamond Suit and won the pot of 4,670,000.

BW: Alex showed us the bad news. I was down to 5,200,000 after the hand. But luckily, I was able to make a comeback later and won my first WSOP Circuit ring. ♠

*Photos courtesy of World Poker Tour.