Joey Weissman is celebrating after taking the big prize at the first edition of the $3,500 BetMGM Poker Championship main event at the ARIA Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Monday.
The four-day event featured 343 entrants and generated nearly $1.1 million in prize money to surpass the tournament guarantee of $1 million.
With the victory, Weissman took home the most significant portion of the prize pool, winning $224,236. It came following a couple of brutal bad beats at the table that left several players frustrated.
Intense Final Table Action
Six real money poker players started action at the final table on Monday, nearly seven hours before a winner was determined. The first to go down was Joe Kuether, whose A-Q couldn’t hold up against the pocket queens Paul Hoefer as he finished in sixth place and took home $42,709 for his efforts.
Benji Felson was the last participant of the 68 players who qualified online to survive. He was also bested by Hoefer and finished in fifth place to take home a prize of $51,587. It was the biggest cash of his career, as he got more than a decent return on his investment of $500 to satellite into the tournament online from New Jersey.
Michael Wang, a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner, was shocked after going up against Weissman with pocket queens against the Ad-Jd of the eventual champion.
He led until the river when Weissman hit a royal flush to take the win and leave Wang in fourth place, with $65,856 in winnings. Neil Rodriguez was the next to fall, taking third place and a payday of $104,272 and setting up the showdown between Weissman and Hofer.
Champion Had Big Lead To Begin Heads-up Play
Weissman started heads-up play with a significant chip lead over his opponent but allowed Hofer to double-up twice to close the gap. The final hand saw Weissman put Hofer all-in with his A-4 before the flop against the German’s K-2.
Hofer was ahead of the tournament winner after the flop, but an ace on the river gave Weissman the top pair, which was enough to secure the victory.
The win was the fourth final table for Weissman this year, and he earned 720 points towards the Card Player of the Year standings. His 1,346 total points put him in 118th place in the running for the Global Poker Player of the Year award for 2022.
Besides his WSOP bracelet win, worth more than $694,000, and a win in 2021 at the Wynn Spring Classic event, this is the third-highest cash of Weissman’s career. His live poker earnings have now surpassed $4.3 million.
A few other notable players had decent runs at this event, although they didn’t make it to the final table. Four-time WSOP bracelet winner Michael Gathy finished 22nd, winning $10,208, and three-time bracelet winner Norbert Szecsi finished 39th for a prize of $6,586.
Player of the Year contender Isaac Kempton finished in 18th place, winning $14,269, and two-time bracelet winner Shankar Pillai ended the tournament in 14th place, to take home $16,464.