Dong Meng Wins First Bracelet of the Year in WSOP Tournament of Champions

The World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions (WSOP ToC) is an exclusive invitational poker freeroll event that began in 2004, paused after 2010, and was reintroduced in 2022. Initially, players competed for glory, money prizes, and a big WSOP logo trophy. In its current format, the Tournament of Champions is an official WSOP bracelet event.

In its early days, the qualification rules changed yearly, ranging from purely invitational to a mix of qualifications, sponsorships, and public voting. However, the last two editions have followed a clear qualification criterion: players who won either a WSOP bracelet or WSOP ring in a given season received an automatic invitation to the $1,000,000 freeroll event.

This year followed the same structure, inviting players who won a WSOP bracelet in either Vegas, Europe, the Bahamas, Online, or who were Ring winners in the 2023/2024 season. Unlike previous years when the WSOP ToC was held during the WSOP series in Vegas, the organizers decided in March to move the event to Los Angeles to coincide with the WSOP Circuit at Commerce at the end of May. This made it the only live event in the US outside of Las Vegas to award an official WSOP bracelet.

The decision to move the event to LA was met with mixed reactions from the players. Out of almost 1,200 qualifiers, only 559 entered the event at The Commerce Casino & Hotel in Los Angeles, a notable drop from last year’s 741 participants out of 989 champions.

In the end, Dong Meng emerged victorious, claiming $200,000 and the first 2024 bracelet. This marked his second career bracelet and his best result to date. “This bracelet means a lot,” Meng said in the winner’s interview. “Having two bracelets, especially No Limit Hold’em bracelets, in a consecutive year, I think, is amazing. I’m not a professional player, just an amateur.” Meng earned his spot in the ToC by winning the $1,000 Flip & Go event at last year’s WSOP for $160,490.

2024 WSOP Tournament of Champions Final Table Results

1 Dong MengUnited States$200,000
2 Kevin WillUnited States$120,000
3 Nathan WassonUnited States$87,000
4 Rick GebhartUnited States$63,000
5 Cody BellUnited States$46,000
6 Ramon KropmannsBrazil$35,000
7 Scott DulaneyUnited States$26,000
8 Alan MerditaUnited States$20,000
9 John WestUnited States$16,000
Final Table of Eight

Out of 559 entries, 100 players ended in the money prizes, and eight players returned for the final day of the 2024 WSOP Tournament of Champions, including three bracelet winners: Dong Meng, Cody Bell, and Scott Dulaney. The other four finalists were ring winners seeking their first bracelet.

Alan Merdita, the most decorated player at the final table with four online bracelets from WSOPC Online Michigan, was the first to be eliminated. Dulaney, who has a PLO bracelet, finished in seventh place. Ramon Kropmanns, the only international player at the final table and a ring winner on GGPoker, exited in sixth place. Bell, who started the day as a joint chip leader with Kevin Will, bowed out in fifth place.

Meng then eliminated Rick Gebhart in fourth place with ace-jack against pocket nines and Nathan Wasson, who pushed all-in with pocket deuces against Meng’s pocket queens.

Kevin Will

Meng began the heads-up match with a substantial chip lead over Will. After Will folded ace-jack when Meng pushed all-in, he went all-in the next hand with king-five, running into Meng’s ace-queen. A five on the turn gave Will a brief lead, but a river queen secured Meng’s victory in the 2024 WSOP Tournament of Champions.

WSOP Tournament of Champions Winners

200410Annie Duke$2,000,000
2005114Mike Matusow$1,000,000
200627Mike Sexton$1,000,000
201027Huck Seed$500,000
2022470Benjamin Kaupp$250,000
2023741Ronnie Day$200,000
2024559Dong Meng$200,000

Images courtesy of WSOP and GGPoker

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