Bin Weng Leads But WPT Player of the Year is Still Anyone’s Game
Mathematically eliminated. You hear this term used all the time in sports. The point at which a team or person simply no longer has any winning path leading to the biggest award of the year. Whether its a Stanley Cup, or a Lombardi Trophy as the end of the season nears, teams fall by the wayside forced to wait another year to get their shot at ultimate victory.
And, when one looks at the World Poker Tour Player of the Year race and the points accumulated by 2023 breakout star Bin Weng, its understandable to think that you, reading this, have been mathematically eliminated – but, as it turns out, thats just not true. Weng has had an incredible year, one for the history books, but two of the biggest events of the year are taking place at the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas Festival and the points in play from both the WPT Prime Championship and WPT World Championship mean that everything is still up for grabs and on the line.
That said, Weng has the edge – and its a big one. He made headlines earlier this year by not only making back-to-back WPT final tables in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown and WPT Choctaw respectively, but he went to the final table as the chip leader in both of them. In Las Vegas, where the final tables were shot for broadcast, Weng won his first WPT title and the $1,128,250 first-place prize in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown which was good for 1,400 POY points. The very next day he returned to the studio for a fourth-place finish in WPT Choctaw for another $143,000 and 550 POY points. Add to that a deep run at WPT bestbet Jacksonville where he picked up another 100 POY points, and you are looking at the only player with more than 2,000 POY points, a healthy lead over the field.
While its still anyones game, some players have a better shot at catching Weng than others. None more than recent WPT Seminole Rock N Roll Poker Open Istvan Briski who claimed the second-largest Championship Event first-place prize of the season when he picked up $647,300 for his first WPT cash and title. The score was worth 1,300 POY points and puts him in striking distance of Weng. The same could be said for a number of the players who took home a title this year. Jared Jaffee, who ended up as the winner of WPT Choctaw has 1,100 POY points, is now a two-time WPT champ, and clearly has the experience to make a deep run in any tournament hes in. Scott Eskenazi, WPT Thunder Valley champ, and Jeremy Joseph who finished as the runner-up in the same event both have three WPT cashes this season and could roll over some heat into the Wynn to apply pressure to Weng.
It’s not just Championship Event winners who have a path. Every WPT Prime stop, of which there were no less than 14 stops this year, has awarded WPT POY points giving international grinders a shot at the award. Every player who won a WPT Prime stop earned a free seat in the WPT Prime Championship at Wynn Las Vegas. With a $5 million guaranteed prize pool, there will likely be more than 1000 POY points awaiting the winner. Another major score like that would put previous winners, like WPT Taiwan champ Seonguk Huh or WPT Prime Paris winner Fabrice Bigot both of whom already have 900 POY points, needing just more than a min-cash in the WPT World Championship to potentially overtake the lead.
And thats the point – between the two massive guarantees of these two tournaments, there are enough POY points still left to be had that literally anyone who goes on a heater can make a run. And its happened before. An example of this was just last year at the WPT World Championship. While it wasnt the WPT Player of the Year (which was in a heated race between Steve Cuz Buckner and eventual winner Chad Eveslage) the come-from-behind victory took place in the Global Poker Index Female Player of the Year race. Angela Jordison seemingly had both GPI and Female Player of the Year locked up. But with so much action taking place at the Wynn, both races were upended by players who heated up in December. Stephen Song rallied to win the WPT Prime Championship allowing him to take over the GPI Mid-Major POY title while Cherish Andrews final tabled three events (with a win and a runner-up finish) during the WPT World Championship festival to claim the 2022 GPI Female Player of the Year title.
So its possible. But theres still the notion of having to contend with Weng himself. Weng has been a machine at the poker table in 2023, racking up cashes, final tables, and titles throughout the year. Hes fired in high rollers and large field events alike. And the truth is, if the WPT EveryOne for One Drop was a Championship Event as opposed to a special charity event, Weng might have this wrapped up early winning the event and taking home a career-high $2,227,054 score.
To say that Weng has had a good year is an understatement. Hes 25th on Hendon Mobs 2023 Money List – and he doesnt play Triton Events. He accumulated more than $5.6 million of his career $7.6 million in earnings this year and despite being one of the most humble and nicest people currently in the game, hes a beast at the table. Hes unlikely to be satisfied and has already been grinding at the Wynn.
So while Weng is out in front the race is still on. And the fact is that, as of yet, no one is truly mathematically eliminated from one of the biggest Player of the Year prizes in poker.
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