Simon Lam wins WPT Gardens Poker Festival main event

Simon Lam claimed his first World Poker Tour title this week, taking down the inaugural WPT Gardens Poker Festival main event at The Gardens Casino in California.

The $5,000 main event had 584 entries, compiling a prize pool of $2,944,800. For the win, Lam received $565,055 and a 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC Roadster. The prize money bumped his lifetime live-poker earnings to just over $1.5 million.

Lam faced a strong final table when only six players remained at the tournament. Also making the final table were 2018 World Series of Poker bracelet winner Craig Varnell and seven-time WSOP bracelet winner Men “The Master” Nguyen. Varnell bowed out in fourth place to collect $201,615, while Nguyen was knocked out in third place, cashing $270,430.

Lam vs Schindler heads-up

It came down to Lam and Jake Schindler heads-up for the tournament title. Schindler has been one of the most successful poker players in the world in 2018 with six tournament wins, two dozen final tables and $5.6 million in winnings.

When heads-up play began, Lam was in a great position with a near 4-to-1 chip lead on Schindler. Lam was able to use the large chip lead to finish off Schindler quickly, as heads-up play lasted only 10 hands.

On the final hand with blinds at 125,000/250,000, Lam raised 600,000 pre-flop and Schindler called. The flop showed Js-7c-2c. Schindler checked and Lam bet 500,000. Schindler check-raised to 1.5 million and Lam came back at him with an all-in bet. Schindler called and showed Jd-8d, giving him a pair of jacks. Lam had Jc-9s, also giving him a pair of jacks, but his 9 outkicked Schindler’s 8. The turn card was the 3h, providing no help to Schindler, and the river was also no help when the 2d dropped. For second place, Schindler received $366,740.

The next stop for the WPT main tour is the WPT Choctaw at the Choctaw Casino & Resort in Durant, Oklahoma. The $3,700 main event has a guaranteed $1-million prize pool and will run from August 3-7. At last year’s WPT Choctaw, Jay Lee outlasted a 924-player field to cash $593,173.