Simon Lam Triumphs at WPT Gardens Poker Festival Main Event

Simon Lam Triumphs at WPT Gardens Poker Festival Main Event

Simon Lam has triumphed at the WPT Gardens Main Event, after overcoming a field of 584 players on his way to claiming a top prize of $565,000, not to mention a brand new Mercedes-Benz SLC Roadster worth more than $50,000. The Main Event lasted six days, and brought to a conclusion the WPT Gardens Poker Festival, which took place from July 13-26 at the Gardens Casino in Southern California.

WPT Gardens Main Event

The $5,000 WPT Gardens Main Event featured a prize pool just short of $3 million, and paid 73 money places. Amongst the recognizable pros seeing a return on their buy-ins was David Pham in 59th ($10,095), Alan Engel in 55th ($11,295), Joe Kuether in 39th ($14,705), Aaron Massey in 20th ($24,040), and Marvin Rettenmaier in 18th ($24,040).

Final Table Action

The final table of six was reached on Day 5, and was stacked with some of the game’s best talent. This included high roller specialist Jake Schindler, WSOP legend Men “The Master” Nguyen, Craig Varnell, who picked up his first bracelet at this year’s WSOP, and other notable pros such as Jared Griener, Simon Lam, and last woman standing Saya Ono.

Four hours would then elapse before Griener became the final table’s first victim after shoving his last 10bbs holding J-J into the A-K of Varnell. Forty minutes later, he was joined on the rail by Saya Ono, who had also been reduced to less than 10bbs before deciding to move all-in preflop holding Q-J, only to be picked off by Nguyen with A-J.

Nguyen followed up by winning a big hand against Varnell, after which the latter was reduced to a short stack and compelled to shove his remaining chips holding A-J. Unfortunately for him, Schindler made the call and got lucky with his Q-10 holding to send Varnell to the rail in 4th place.

As three-handed play got underway, Lam, Schindler, and Nguyen were all fairly even in chips. An another hour and a half would then pass before a crucial hand was played in which Lam (A-K) made a raise from the button, leading to a bold 30bb all-in shove from Nguyen holding just 10d-7d. After making the call, the dealer laid out a Kh-Js-8h-5c-6c board to eliminate Nguyen in 3rd place, leaving Lam and Schindler to battle it out for the WPT title.

Simon Lam vs Jake Schindler

Heads-up play started with Lam holding a 4.5-1 chip lead over Schindler, and 10 hands later the winning moment arrived after Lam ( Jc-9s) raised preflop and received a call from Schindler holding a slightly inferior Jd-8d hand. The Js-7c-2c flop promised plenty of action, and after Schindler checked, a raising war erupted which eventually led to both players being all-in, but with Schindler’s tournament life on the line. A 3h and 2d on turn and river subsequently ensured Lam’s 9 high kicker would play, and so Schindler had to then settle for a runner-up finish worth $366,740, while Simon Lam was crowned the WPT Gardens Poker Festival Main Event champion.

Lam received $565,055 for the win, representing his biggest score to date, and now boasts $1,953,027 in career earnings since his first live cash back in 2009.

Final Table Results

1st: Simon Lam $565,055
2nd: Jake Schindler $366,740
3rd: Men Nguyen $270,430
4th: Craig Varnell $201,615
5th: Saya Ono $151,995
6th: Jared Griener $115,885

Men “The Master” Nguyen Mischief

While Lam was applauded for his winning performance, Men “The Master” Nguyen, on the other hand, received flak from his fellow competitors related to unsportsmanlike behavior, including angle shooting, making illegal raises, and generally trying to disrupt the flow of the game. Having consumed many adult beverages on Day 4, Nguyen was also seen napping at the table on a few different occasions, once against contravening what is considered acceptable behavior at the poker tables.

Nevertheless, Nguyen collected $270,430 for his third place finish, in the process boosting his career winnings to an impressive $10,934,911. Between 1992 and 2010, the 63 year-old Vietnamese-American also captured 7 WSOP bracelets, with four of his bracelets coming in seven-card stud games.