Simon Lam Takes Down Inaugural WPT Gardens $5,000 Main Event

Simon Lam is the brand new member of WPT’s club of Main Tour Main Event champs. The player outlasted the 584-strong field of the inaugural edition of the WPT Gardens Poker Festival $5,000 Main Event for his first title from the popular poker series.

He collected a payout of $565,055 and a brand new 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC Roadster (valued at around $50,000). The player also secured a $15,000 ticket into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions.

The final day of the WPT Gardens Main Event was played on Thursday at the Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens, California. Lam came into that final day as the chip leader among a total of six survivors who comprised the official final table.

The first levels of the day saw poker pro Jake Schindler take the lead and extend the gap between him and his fellow contenders. Schindler then lost some of his momentum and what followed next was a fierce war for the chip lead between Men Nguyen and Lam. That war lasted hours and extended into three-handed play.

During that key and lengthy stage of the final table, the chip lead exchanged hands between Nguyen and Lam, and Schindler occasionally managed to double through his two remaining opponents to get ahead of them for a while. It was the elimination of Nguyen in third place that put an end to the mad three-handed race. The player collected $270,430 for his performance.

Heads-Up Duel

Lam was the chip leader at the time heads-up between him and Schindler kicked off. And the player never really lost his momentum, despite his opponent’s efforts to improve.

The two-handed match began with Lam holding 19.2 million in chips to Schindler’s 4.175 million. The two players battled it out for 11 hands until Hand #164 of the six-handed final table was dealt. It saw Lam raise to 600,000 pre-flop and Schindler call.

The [Js][7c][2c] landed on the flop. Schindler checked, while Lam bet 500,000 to see his opponent check-raise to 1.5 million. Lam spent the next 30 seconds thinking what to do next and eventually shoved. Schindler snap-called for his last 4.675 million, tabling [Jd][8d] for a pair of jacks. Lam turned [Jc][9s] for pocket jacks but with a higher kicker. Blank [3h] on the turn and [2d] on the river sealed it for Lam and sent Schindler to the rail. The tournament’s runner-up finisher collected $366,740.

Craig Varnell finished fourth in the WPT Gardens Main Event for $201,615. Saya Ono took home $151,995 for her fifth-place finish. Jared Griener went out in sixth place for $115,885.

The first ever WPT Gardens Main Event saw 584 entries who created a prize pool of $2,944,800. The top 73 finishers received a portion of the money.

The WPT is next heading to Choctaw Casino & Resort in Durant, Oklahoma for the second poker festival on its 2018/19 schedule. That festival’s Main Event take place on August 3-7. It features a $3,700 buy-in fee and a guaranteed prize pool of $1 million.

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