Joey Weissman is the winner of the inaugural BetMGM Poker Championship $3,500 Main Event at ARIA Resort and Casino after defeating Paul Hoefer during heads-up play. Weissman entered heads-up play with a dominant chip lead and finished the job after doubling up his short-stacked opponent twice.
The four-day BetMGM Poker Championship Main Event drew 343 entrants to generate just under $1.1 million in prize money to surpass the guaranteed million. A decent chunk of the field, 68 players to be exact, qualified for the event by playing online at BetMGM Poker in either Michigan, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania.
Weissman, a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner, adds the top prize of $224,236 to his previous $4.1 million in Hendon Mob-reported earnings in addition to the magnificent golden cup.
“This is the stuff we wake up for,” Weissman told PokerNews after the victory. “Every day we wake up, most of the time we lose. As my good buddy Pads (Patrick Leonard) says, you wake up, you suffer, you go to sleep, you wake up, you suffer, you do it again. This is the day you wake up for, though. Some days you win.”
2022 BetMGM Poker Championship Main Event Final Table Results
|PLACE||PLAYER||COUNTRY||PRIZE (IN USD)|
|1||Joey Weissman||United States||$224,236|
|2||Paul Hoefer||United States||$159,152|
|3||Noel Rodriguez||United States||$104,272|
|4||Michael Wang||United States||$65,856|
|5||Benji Felson||United States||$51,587|
|6||Joe Kuether||United States||$41,709|
|7||Zachary Donovan||United States||$34,026|
|8||Todd Ivens||United States||$28,538|
Final Table Action
Day 4 began with only six players and took nearly seven hours to get down to a winner. First out was veteran grinder Joe Kuether, who ran ace-queen into the pocket queens of Hoefer to fall in sixth place for $41,709.
Benji Felson, the last BetMGM Poker qualifier standing who satellited into the tournament for just $500, was next out when he got it in with top pair only to be out-kicked by Hoefer. The payday of $51,587 gave the New Jersey qualifier a greater than 100x return on his investment and biggest score to date.
Bracelet winner Michael Wang bowed out in fourth in heartbreaking fashion when he got it in with pocket queens against the ace-jack of diamonds of Weissman. Wang stayed ahead until the river card, which gave Weissman a coveted Royal Flush to crack the queens full of Wang, who kept a smile on his face as he took the gutwrenching beat.
Noel Rodriguez fell in third when he three-bet shoved with king-queen and couldn’t improve against the ace-jack of Weissman, who entered heads-up play with a dominant chip lead over Hoefer before the German managed to double up twice to stay afloat.
In the final hand, Weissman held ace-four and put Hoefer in for the rest of his stack. Hoefer called with king-deuce and managed to out-flop Weissman before Weissman spiked an ace on the river to win the hand and the tournament. It was quite the spin-up for Hoefer, who began the day as the short stack with just 12 big blinds and managed to ladder to a second-place victory worth $159,152.
Weissman told PokerNews he navigated heads-up play cautiously despite having a big lead. In the same PokerGO Studio last year, Weissman overcame a dominant heads-up lead by Adam Hendrix to take down the U.S. Poker Open Event #5: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em for $204,000.
“So, I know from firsthand (experience) that people come back in heads-up and win,” he said. “So you’ve just got to stay focused, you can’t get too cocky. Anything can happen.”
That wraps up PokerNews’ coverage of the inaugural BetMGM Poker Championship Main Event at ARIA Resort and Casino. Be sure to check out the live reporting portal for coverage of other events.