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Bin Weng Runs Away With 2023 Card Player Player Of The Year Award

Breakout Performance Included Six Wins And 16 Final Tables

by Erik Fast |  Published: Feb 21, 2024

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Bin Weng has been putting up results on the live tournament circuit since 2015. While Weng had become more of a factor on the scene in recent years, with back-to-back top 100 finishes in the Card Player Player of the Year race in 2021 (35th) and 2022 (93rd), he came into 2023 without a marquee victory to his name.

That all changed this year, as the 40-year-old Chinese-born player based out of Philadelphia reeled off six massive wins and 16 final-table finishes to dominate this year’s POY race presented by Global Poker.

The honor came as a surprise to Weng, who told Card Player that it wasn’t something he was gunning for.

“I really didn’t think too much about chasing Player of the Year,” Weng admitted. “Honestly, I really didn’t even think about if I had a shot or not. I always just be myself. I just play the game that I love.”

Weng’s top five tournament scores were all recorded in 2023, including two big wins in World Poker Tour events. Weng secured three seven-figure victories over the 12-month stretch, with the first coming just over a week into the new year. He didn’t just start strong, though. He also finished strong. Weng bookended his run with a win worth almost $1 million in a high roller event in December.

Weng’s $6,652,433 in total cashes across 52 in-the-money finishes during the year account for 78 percent of his overall lifetime total of $8,570,015.

All told, Weng accumulated 12,256 POY points and more than $6.4 million in POY earnings this year. His 2,243-point lead over the second-place finisher (Isaac Haxton, 10,013 points) in the final standings was the second-largest margin of victory in the past 20 years of the race.

Perhaps most impressively, he did it with limited high roller appearances. In recent years the POY award has gone to one of the top nosebleed-stakes tournament grinders who focus on events with buy-ins of $25,000 or higher. While Weng did manage a few big runs in high rollers this year, the majority of his points were earned at the ‘main event’ price point.

Of his 16 final tables, 14 of them sported a buy-in of $10,500 or less. As a result, the average buy-in of the events that he final tabled was $6,519. All three of his seven-figure scores came in events with buy-ins between $3,500 and $10,500.

Bin WengWeng’s consistency this year is made all the more impressive by the fact that he managed to battle his way through massive fields again and again. The average number of entries in the six tournaments that he won this year was 1,174.

The journey to this accomplishment began for Weng in the early 2010s. He was working in a restaurant after moving to the U.S. and saw WPT final tables on television. It’s only fitting, then, that the WPT was the tour on which Weng managed some of the most impressive accomplishments during his red-hot run.

He had come close in 2020, making the final table of the delayed WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open before the pandemic made him wait more than a year to finish it out. He would ultimately take fifth for $187,900, giving him a taste of success but leaving him wanting more.

“It is my biggest dream to put my name on the Mike Sexton [Champions] Cup,” Weng revealed in an interview with the WPT.

In 2023, Weng lived out that dream and many more. Now, his name has also been added to the prestigious list of Card Player POY award winners. Let’s take a closer look at his standout year on the live poker circuit.

Off To A Fast Start

The Return Championship $5,300 main event at The Borgata was the first tournament of the year to award a seven-figure top prize. The event ran from Jan. 4-8, with a massive field of 1,142 entries made by the time registration closed. The strong turnout resulted in a $5,538,700 prize pool, blowing away the $3 million guarantee.

After two starting flights and three more days of action, Weng emerged victorious with the title, the $1 million top prize, and 1,920 POY points. Weng overcame a final table that included two-time bracelet winner Justin Saliba and 2015 WSOP main event champion Joe McKeehen.

Weng and eventual runner-up Sundiata Devore hashed out a heads-up deal to redistribute the remaining prize money a bit, with Devore ultimately taking home $926,128 for his efforts when his A-Q was unable to come from behind against Weng’s A-K.

Weng made another final table in January, placing fourth in a $600 buy-in turbo event at the Lucky Hearts Poker Open for $3,520 and 48 points.

From a field of 833 entries in the WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Las Vegas $1,700 main event a month later, Weng emerged victorious with the title, his first gold ring, $227,344 in prize money, and another 912 points.

Weng had to overcome a tough final table, including defeating bracelet winner and high-stakes regular Alex Foxen heads-up.

“This tournament meant a lot to me. I have won four or five titles, but never a WSOP tournament. Getting a ring means a lot to me, I’m kind of speechless right now because I’m just so excited,” Weng told reporters. “Alex Foxen is one of my poker idols. We are originally from the same area, Long Island. I just feel so thankful to take this down and get the chance to play with Foxen. He is one of the best players right now.”

A Historic WPT Performance

Weng wins WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Las Vegas main eventIn early May, Weng managed the unprecedented feat of making the final table in two WPT main events as the chip leader in the span of a single week.

Weng started off by navigating a field of 2,290 entries in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown $3,500 main event in South Florida. The huge turnout resulted in the $3 million guarantee being more than doubled, which meant a top prize of $1.1 million for the eventual champion.

Weng bagged up more than 40 percent of the total chips in play heading into the delayed final table, which would play out a few weeks later on May 25 at the HyperX Arena located in Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Just six days after making that first final table, Weng cemented his spot at the WPT Choctaw $3,800 main event. This time around the field was made up of 612 entries, resulting in more than $400,000 up top.

The WPT Choctaw final table would play down to a champion the day after the WPT SHRPS in Las Vegas, which meant that Weng had to play massive final tables on back-to-back days with more than $1.5 million in potential prize money to be won.

Before heading to Vegas, however, Weng made a stop in Texas at the Lodge Championship Series, making two final tables including a runner-up finish in the $25,000 high roller to none other than Alex Foxen, who he defeated heads-up months earlier. His two deep runs at that series added 322 points and nearly $165,000 to his totals for the year.

Weng converted his first WPT final table opportunity into the title, closing out the win during a final table that lasted roughly five hours. He earned $1,128,250 as the champion and added his name to the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup in the process, and in doing so achieved one of his major poker goals.

He credited his prior experience back in 2021 at the WPT final table, saying that it gave him the “experience and confidence” to cross the finish line this time around. “I didn’t have much emotion about going back to back, and there was no pressure for sure. I was just focused on playing my best game and trying to win.”

Weng had 19 hours to rest before returning the following day for another title shot. He ultimately finished fourth in the WPT Choctaw, earning $143,000 to increase his haul to nearly $1.3 million across the two events. He also earned 630 points, bringing his total to 5,505.

But despite his rapidly growing bank account, Weng insisted that his life didn’t change much at all.

“I’m able to fire some higher buy-in events at a little more frequency, but it’s the same person, same lifestyle, and same passion for poker,” he said. “I never celebrated any of my wins. My wife and I are both low-key people.”

The Heater Continues

Weng had a relatively quiet June, with five cashes but no final-table runs during that month. He got back to his winning ways in July, though.

Wynn Las Vegas hosted a new series that month that included the $10,500 buy-in WPT EveryOne For One Drop $10 million guaranteed event. With a sizable field of 1,676 entries, the guarantee was surpassed by more than $6.2 million, while still raising over $300,000 for the One Drop Foundation.

After three starting flights and two more days of action, that sea of players was narrowed to just six hopefuls. You can probably guess about who bagged up the chip lead. Weng converted that advantage into his second WPT title of the year, securing a career-high payday of $2,227,054 as a result.

“I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t sleep all that well last night because I was too excited,” Weng said after the win. “I don’t know what to say right now. I mean, I’m really, really happy for sure, and I’m really grateful right now for being this far in a short period of time.”

The large buy-in and field size in this event led to a massive haul of 2,700 POY points.

Closing Strong

Weng wins WPT EveryOne For One DropWeng added four more final-table finishes in August and September, with those four deep runs contributing another 1,030 points and $214,004 in POY earnings. The largest of those scores was a third-place showing in a $10,100 buy-in event at the Poker Masters for $116,400 and 360 points.

The next time Weng posed for a winner photo, though, came in the middle of October. He outlasted a field of 860 entries in the $1,600 buy-in mystery bounty event at the Wynn Fall Classic for another $159,078 and 912 points. This fifth title helped Weng keep some distance between himself and several high-roller regulars who were threatening his hold on the top spot in the POY standings.

Weng fell just shy of another title in mid-November, placing second in a $2,500 buy-in event at the Fall Mini-Series at Borgata for $134,897 and 900 points. He didn’t have to wait too long to find himself heads-up again, though.

On Dec. 18, Weng earned his sixth and final title of 2023. He beat out a field of 194 entries in the $25,700 buy-in high roller at the WPT World Championship Festival at Wynn Las Vegas, earning $958,279 and 1,176 points after striking a heads-up deal with Thomas Boivin.

But despite the $25,000 event win, Weng doesn’t see himself jumping on the high roller circuit any time soon.

“2024 will be the same for me,” Weng said. “I’m not going to play more high roller events. I’ll mainly play mid-stakes events, and only fire a few high rollers when there’s good value.”

Weng’s lifetime earnings now sit at nearly $8.6 million. It was a fitting finale for a dominant performance on the live felt in 2023.

“I’m just a normal person who loves poker,” Weng said. “I’m glad I chose the game that I truly love as my career.” ♠

Weng’s Top 10 Scores Of 2023

Date Event Place Payout POY Points
July 14 WPT EveryOne for One Drop $10,500 Main Event 1 $2,227,054 2,700
May 2 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown $3,500 Main Event 1 $1,128,250 1,620
Jan. 8 The Return Poker Championship $5,300 1 $1,000,000 1,920
Dec. 18 WPT World Championship $25,700 High Roller 1 $958,279 1,176
Feb. 21 WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Las Vegas Main Event 1 $227,344 912
Oct. 15 Wynn Fall Classic $1,600 Mystery Bounty 1 $159,078 912
May 12 Lodge Championship Series $25,000 High Roller 2 $145,000 210
May 8 WPT Choctaw $3,800 Main Event 4 $143,000 630
Nov. 18 Borgata Fall Mini-Series $2,500 No-Limit 2 $134,897 900
Sept. 16 Poker Masters $10,100 No-Limit 3 $116,400 360