Big Bluff-Catch Propels Joey Weissman to BetMGM Poker Championship Victory

In poker tournaments, you sometimes have to go with your gut. This sometimes means having to make big laydowns, while other times it requires making hero calls.

Someone who knows this well is Joey Weissman, who recently took down the inaugural BetMGM Poker Championship $3,500 Main Event at ARIA Resort and Casino for $224,236.

Weissman, who now has $4.3 million in Hendon Mob-reported earnings, made a big call deep in the tournament for nearly his tournament life that ended up propelling him to his eventual victory.

The Hand

The hand in question, which was caught by the PokerNews live reporting team, took place toward the end of Day 3 of the BetMGM Poker Championship Main Event on Level 20 with blinds of 10,000/20,000/20,000.

With only two tables remaining, Isaac Kempton, who was second in chips at the table, started out the action with a raise from the hijack holding {6-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds} before table chip leader Weissman three-bet to 160,000 from the small blind with {q-Clubs}{10-Clubs}. Kempton called to see a flop of {8-Clubs}{9-Diamonds}{4-Spades}.

Weissman continued with a flop bet of 225,000 — a little less than two-thirds pot — with his overcards, gutshot straight draw and backdoor flush draw. Kempton opted to float with his own gutshot and backdoor flush draw.

The turn brought the {q-Hearts} and Weissman checked after making top pair. Kempton took a stab with a quarter-pot-sized bet of 200,000 and Weissman called.

The {k-Diamonds} on the river was no help to either player and Weissman checked. Kempton then put his opponent to the test by moving all in for 885,000 into the pot of around 1,200,000. Weissman intensely stared his opponent down and used a few time banks before putting in the call with second pair for the majority of his stack.

Kempton tabled his bluff in defeat and Weissman earned the massive pot that gave him the big chip lead that helped him win the tournament.

Isaac Kempton
Isaac Kempton bowed out in 18th place after running a bluff against eventual champion Joey Weissman

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Inside the Head of Weissman

The pivotal hand against Kempton helped Weissman finish out the day as chip leader and ultimately steamroll his final table opponents on Day 4 to win the inaugural BetMGM Poker Championship and take home the top prize of $224,236.

After the victory, Weissman took a moment to chat with PokerNews about what went through his mind in the hand against Kempton, an up-and-coming pro who finished second in the Wynn Millions Main Event earlier this year for $1.1 million.

“Isaac’s a great player. I’ve been playing with him a little bit here and there throughout the summer and I’ve gotten some experience with him. So I know he’s going to put me in tough spots,” Weissman said.

When Weissman turned top pair, he told PokerNews he checked to Kempton “with the intention of letting him bluff a lot of these combos.”

“So my plan was to ultimately look to check-call and kind of hang on on most rivers,” he said.

When Kempton bombed the river, Weissman said he tanked and “used a few time banks because I really wanted to be sure, I wanted to look at him.”

“And I made a big call for … maybe not (my whole) tournament life but most of it,” he reflected. “And (I’m) obviously super happy with it.”

What do you make of Weissman’s call? Could you have made it? Let us know in the poll below.

Joey Weissman
Joey Weissman

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