Two Final Tables in One Day and a WSOP Circuit Ring for Joseph Cheong
Joseph Cheong is no stranger to success in World Series of Poker events with more than $6 million in career WSOP earnings including a third-place finish in the 2010 WSOP Main Event. While Cheong’s Circuit earnings made up only a small part of his WSOP winnings with eight cashes for under $100,000, he padded those stats during Monday’s WSOP Circuit Planet Hollywood finale.
After a close call in the Circuit event held at the Rio in February, where Cheong had to settle for second place in the $2,200 High Roller that Loni Harwood won, Cheong came back to the very next Circuit in Las Vegas with a bang, finishing in eighth place in the $1,675 Main Event Monday before hopping into the $2,200 High Roller and taking that down for a combined $88,000 on the day.
After telling WSOPC tournament reporters he had recently lost his only other Circuit ring from a 2010 victory in San Diego, Cheong was happy to get one to replace it — "like redemption."
Cheong started the Main Event final table of ten fourth in chips and couldn’t get anything going, four-bet shoving ace-five suited into eventual winner Ben Zamani’s pocket aces to bust in eight for $22,436. He put some of that profit to work immediately to late register on Day 2 of the High Roller, where he got off to a great start early.
High Roller Run
According to the live updates, Cheong had nearly four times the 25,000 starting stack by the end of the first level of Day 2 play. He grinded that stack up to around 400,000 by the start of the final table to put him in the middle of the pack for his second final table of the day.
This one though, Cheong wouldn’t let slip away. He told tournament reporters, “I had a decent stack at the beginning of the final table. Enough that I just sat there and played patiently. And I just got a little heater started. And when I got chips, I just started pushing the action.”
$2,200 High Roller Final Table Results
After the 109 runners were whittled down to just nine, start of final table chip leader Hyon Kim did much of the early work, sending home Ankush Mandavia and Dylan Wilkerson — who joined Cheong at the Main Event final table — in ninth and eighth, respectively.
Cheong got short but found pocket kings to eliminate fellow short stack Patrick Colceri and his pocket tens in seventh place. Michael Benko then ran his queens into the ace-king of chip leader Kim, who got a favorable runout to send Benko out in sixth and move over 1 million chips.
Cheong then added to his stack in a hand against Eric Baldwin, where the latter opened to 30,000 on the button at 6,000/12,000/12,000 and Cheong defended his big blind. Cheong check-called 35,000 on the flop and check-called another 70,000 on the turn. On the river, Cheong shoved into Baldwin who folded his king-ten for a missed open-ended straight draw face up.
Cheong Catches a Heater
Cheong continued to chip up from there, despite doubling up a short-stacked Hassan Tahsildar on two separate occasions.
After Steve Foutty busted in fifth place to Baldwin when his queen-jack went unimproved against Baldwin’s king-queen, short stacks Tahsildar and Kim continued to find doubles to stay alive before Baldwin got the rest of his chips in with pocket nines against Cheong’s aces. Baldwin couldn’t find help and had to settle for fourth place.
Cheong then took care of Tahsildar, shoving ace-queen and Tahsildar looking him up with king-eight for his remaining stack. An ace on the flop was enough to send Tahsildar to the rail in third, leaving Cheong with a more than 2-1 chip lead over Kim to start heads-up.
Cheong tried to end things in short order, shoving ten-five suited, but he got called by king-queen and a queen on the flop gave Kim an early double to even out stacks. Cheong kept the aggression on though, shoving his button often and repeatedly putting Kim to the test for his whole stack.
Eventually, Cheong shoved again with king-ten suited and Kim called for his remaining short stack with queen-jack. A king on the river sealed it for Cheong, who won $65,399 in his second cash of the day for his second WSOP Circuit victory. Kim received $40,422 for his runner-up finish.
Lead photo courtesy of WSOP Circuit