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Final table: Joey Weissman wins the BetMGM Poker Championship

Joey Weissman has made a living playing live and online poker since 2008, after he caught the poker bug watching his grandfather shoot pots at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. He first worked in the family business, then as a salesman, before deciding to try poker as a career.

The Long Island, New York native’s highest scoring came back in 2012 when he won the $2,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em event World Series of Poker for his first bracelet and $694,609.

Post-pandemic, Weissman scored big at the Wynn, finishing second in $1,600 No-Limit Hold’em Spring Classic for $230,090. Later that summer, he won the $10,000 no-limit buy-in event. American Poker Open for another $204,000.

This year was just as successful. In June, he completed the final table of the $3,000 buy-in no-limit event at WSOP. Later that month, Weissman topped a field of 343 in the first BetMGM Poker Classic at Aria, earning the third-highest score of his career of $224,236. He even made a royal flush at the table to knock out one of his opponents.

“That’s what we wake up to,” Weissman told PokerNews after the win. “Every day we wake up, most of the time we lose. Like my good friend [Patrick Leonard] says: “You wake up, you suffer, you fall asleep, you wake up, you suffer, you start again. It’s the day you wake up for, though. Some days you win.

Weissman now has $4.4 million in career earnings. He is grateful for the opportunity to play high-stakes poker tournaments and lives by the philosophy that happiness comes from healthy competition, following one’s passion and focusing on self-improvement.

card player caught up with Weissman, just before his deep run into the $10,000 buy-in WSOP the main event, to get his thoughts on some of his winning hands in Aria.

Event: 2022 BetMGM Aria Poker Classic
Registration: $3,500
Participants: 343
Prize pool: $1,097,600
First Prize: $224,236

Stacks: Joey Weissman – 2,000,000 (100BB) Isaac Kempton – 1,600,000 (80BB)
Blinds: 10,000-20,000 with a big blind of 20,000 ante
Players: 9
Players remaining: 18

Isaac Kempton opens from the hijack to 40,000. Weissman raises to 160,000 from the small blind with QClub Suit tenClub Suit.

Craig Tapscott: What was the dynamic of the table at the time?

Joey Weissman: I covered, but we’re both top three in chips at the table.

Kempton called.
Flops: 9Diamond Suit 8Club Suit 4Spades Suit (jar: 360,000)
Weissman bets 225,000.

CT: What were you thinking with that bet size?

JW: I continue to bet 60% of the pot targeting KQ, KJ, AJ and AQ type hands that dominate us and could call against a small bet, but can become indifferent against a larger size. It helped that we had the backdoor clubs for more fairness.

Kempton called.

JW: When he called, I started removing some of those combos from his lineup.

Tower: QHeart Suit (jar: 810,000)

CT: It was a good turning point for you. Did you choose to continue barreling?

JW: That gave us top pair. We could choose to continue to bet on value even if it seems a little thin given the MIC, but reasonable. This could easily have been the best hand. I thought about it, but I chose to…

Weissman checked.

JW: It allowed him to start bluffing draws like 5-6 suited, 6-7 suited, maybe 10-7 suited or 7-8 suited. And if he had K-10 suited, KJ suited, AJ suited, A-7 suited with a backdoor, it’s conceivable that he sometimes starts bluffing those on the turn. And A-4 suited, 4-5 suited also came to mind, all well within his range.

CT: Have you read his style of play?

JW: Isaac is a special player who I know likes to pressure his opponents, so giving him the rope was a good idea at the time.

Kempton bet 200,000. Weissman called.

JW: We just called, keeping those hands that I stripped in the pot.

River: KSpades Suit (jar: 1,210,000)

CT: It touches on some of the many possible hands you put it on. Now what?

JW: True. The suited K-10, suited KJ get there against me, but he still had the straight draws that missed, other unpaired combos or even 4x and 8x that he might have thought couldn’t win on the river, so maybe he wants to bluff them.

Weissman checked and Kempton moved all in.

JW: He hustled. Although I took this line with the intention of bluffing the take, I still felt it necessary to take a little longer to revise. I wanted to study him a bit and give myself a fighting chance if I convinced myself he was strong. Not because I had thought too much about the place, but rather if I could capture something physical.
It was a huge decision. I used a few time banks but decided I didn’t want to use the last one, and ended up…

Weissman called. Kempton returned 6Diamond Suit 5Diamond Suitand Weissman wins the 3,240,000 pot.

CT: Nice call.

JW: Thank you. It was an incredible feeling.

Stacks: Joey Weissman – 5,000,000 (83 BBs) Noel Rodriguez – 3,000,000 (50 BBs)
Blinds: 30,000 to 60,000 with a big blind bet of 60,000
Players remaining: 6

Rodriguez opened from UTG to 130,000. Weissman called from the big blind with KDiamond Suit 9Heart Suit.

CT: Have you considered raising there shorthanded?

JW: Yes. I did it. I would sometimes consider using this hand as a three-bet bluff, but ultimately felt it was a little too weak and peeled instead.

Joey WeismanCT: What do you think of Rodriguez?

JW: At this point in the tournament, Noel and I have played against each other a bit, a three-bet pot here and there, but nothing where a ton of chips have gone in the middle. I considered him to have online experience and he was good at applying pressure. But I also kept in mind that this is currently his highest score yet, at least in live poker.

Flop: JHeart Suit 5Diamond Suit 8Heart Suit (jar: 350,000)
Weissman checked. Rodriguez checked.

CT: Were you surprised he didn’t c-bet?

JW: In no-MIC situations, I would expect this to be a board that gets a continuation bet with a very high frequency, something like 80% of the time. However, given that he faces a player who covers him in a MIC scenario, I expected him to play a bit more passively. And he did it by checking the flop.

Turn: 9Diamond Suit (jar: 350,000)

CT: It seemed like a very interesting turn.

JW: Yes. It’s a fairly dynamic spinning card, bringing in a double flush draw and giving me a second pair. Now I have a decision. I know I want to bet something like a third of the pot or checker. We just needed to figure out what’s optimal for its range and with a 30-second timer no less.

And for me, that’s not a super easy decision, especially since his flop check range isn’t a normal flop check. It’s a check on the flop in a MIC situation. That would imply he has a bit more Jx than average here, and something like 10-10 more often, heart combos and even AA sometimes potentially.

CT: Thank you for sharing your thought process here. This is truly one of the first times a player has articulated this type of checkback MIC scenario in one of our hand failures.

JW: Well, I like asking myself questions in-game. It works better without a timer. I did my best to think about it. “If we bet, what are we accomplishing? »

We charge draws like 10-x and Qx, as well as some diamond/heart combos that may have sometimes checked the flop. We get some value from the A-5 suited type hands as well as 6-6 and 7-7. I would expect these hands to check the flop a very high percentage of the time.

CT: So the plan is to bet now?

JW: Yes. This way we can choose our bet size instead of playing defensively and facing, say, a two-thirds pot bet if we had checked.

CT: What if he raises?

JW: I didn’t expect to be raised very often. The Q-10 raises of course, but I guess that hand would have bet on the flop a lot of the time. Also 9-9 could raise, but there’s only one combo, and I expected two even combos like J-9 suited or 8-9 suited to follow right when I lead. Whereas 5-5, 8-8 and JJ almost always bet on the flop.

CT: And if you had chosen to check behind?

JW: If I had checked, I would also give him the opportunity to play passively by realizing all his equity for free, especially with a KQ, AQ, A-10 type hand. I’m not necessarily strongly opposed to a check here. I just felt that betting small actually simplified the process for me in a way, and it actually has a lot of value for me.

Weissman bets 150,000. Rodriguez called.
River: AHeart Suit (jar: 650,000)

CT: You couldn’t have been too happy to see the ace.

JW: It was a bit of a disaster for me. If he has A-10, AQ, AK, A-8 suited, A-5 suited, or any combination of hearts, we lose. And I actually expected him to have those combos quite often too. My hand can’t bet and bluff without a premium blocker like KHeart Suit just felt too out of line.

Weissman checked.

JW: I checked with the plan to reevaluate if he was betting, based on size and feel. He was quick to announce…

Rodriguez bet 245,000.

JW: It was a bet of just over 40% of the pot.

CT: What did you think of the sizing?

JW: For a while I was a little taken aback by the size choice. People do things for a variety of reasons, but I couldn’t help but feel like announcing a specific number like 245,000, I just felt weird. Why not just bet 250,000?

CT: So you started asking questions again to understand.

JW: Yes. After dismissing that thought, I analyzed where his bluff combos came from. I quickly recognized KQ and recognized that the king in my hand doesn’t bode well for bluff catching, as he reduced his KQ combos from 16 to 12. Suited K-10 is another one, I don’t don’t think he opened K-10 offsuit preflop, so now there were three combos instead of four. He could have bluffed 6-6, 7-7 sometimes, and maybe a hand like K-6 suited or K-7 suited.

I just started running out of potential bluff combos pretty quickly, even considering the price he was putting on me. I came to a relatively quick decision that the hand was just a fold and not to start thinking about it too much, or diving into my time banks.

Weissman folds and Rodriguez wins the 650,000 pot.

JW: I was happy with the decision. I found out later on the stream that he had KSpades Suit QSpades Suit like a bluff combo. It was a hand well played by him.

Follow Joey on Twitter @JoeyWeissman.