Dong Meng Victorious for $200K at World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions

Globally, there aren’t too many people who can say they have won a large tournament exclusively filled with existing champions in their field.

There’s soccer’s Champions League and World Club Cup. Chess has The Candidates. Then there’s Snooker’s Champions of Champions.

There is also the World Series of Poker’s Tournament of Champions. Last week, that got a new star.

559 WSOP circuit or bracelet winners entered the freeroll event at Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, California, on Friday, chasing a guaranteed $1 million prize pool.

Dong Meng, a software engineer from San Jose, California, outlasted them all and scooped the $200,000 top prize late on Friday. 

“It means a lot,” he said in a winner’s interview. “Having two bracelets, especially no-limit bracelets in a consecutive year, I think is amazing. I’m not a professional player. I’m an amateur.”

Meng Calm and Collected

The free-roll, $1 million prize tournament was also the first time the Commerce Casino has hosted a WSOP event. The tournament has, in the past, been held as part of the actual World Series flagship event in Las Vegas. But this year, organizers decided to switch it up and stage it the week before.

Meng took to the field with an outside chance against several multi-bracelet winners. Some had decades more experience than him.

However, he showed his poker chops in the tournament win that got him to the Champions stage. In summer 2023, Meng entered the $1,000 Flip & Go at that year’s flagship WSOP event. 

He beat Hustler Casino Live poker regular and crypto whale Wesley Fei at the final table in that event, giving him confidence as he cruised into the third and final day of the Tournament of Champions. 

“I really like the current situation,” said Meng, speaking to WSOP as he sat down at the final table. 

 “Those guys are great guys to play with. I’m just trying to play the cards I’m dealt and not make too many mistakes.”

The Final Plays 

Meng went into the final table fourth out of the eight players in chip stakes.

Meng slowly built up his stack against his opponents without making any huge moves, until a critical point when he was tested by Ramon Kropmanns. However, a late queen on the flop gave Meng a straight to win a big pot and put him into first place.

From there, he never let his foot off the gas, using his chip lead to dominate Nathan Wasson into third place. The final hand went down to a pair of fives for Kevin Will versus Meng’s queen pair, and he closed out the win. 

Place PlayerCountryPrize
1Dong MengU.S.$200,000
2Kevin WillU.S.$120,000
3Nathan WassonU.S.$87,000
4Rick GebhartU.S.$63,000
5Cody BellU.S.$46,000
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