Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions: Meet the Final Table

By Sean Chaffin After two days of action from some of the best poker players in the world, the Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions has reached the final table. The six players remaining will battle it out on Monday in front of the cameras in HyperX Esports Arena and streamed live on PokerGO. The…

Matt Clark
Jun 2, 2019

By Sean Chaffin

After two days of action from some of the best poker players in the world, the Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions has reached the final table. The six players remaining will battle it out on Monday in front of the cameras in HyperX Esports Arena and streamed live on PokerGO.

The champion takes home first-place money of $440,395, which includes an added $50,000 in prize money, and adds his name to the WPT Tournament of Champions trophy. The champion also takes home a $15,000 entry into this event next year, a special edition Hublot watch, a handcrafted Baccarat Crystal Tornado Vase, a Baccarat Crystal Champagne Flute set, and a custom-made BBO Poker Table.

This year’s prize pool also included an extra $100,000 in added cash. Here’s a look at those returning for the final table and hoping to win the lion’s share of the $1.29 million prize pool.

Seat 1: Simon Lam – 359,000

Simon Lam

This part-time player from Orange County, California, helped kick off Season XVII with a win at the WPT Gardens Poker Festival for $565,055 in July. He’s also now hoping to bookend things with a title to close out the season. This marks his seventh tour cash and third final table. In Season XV (2016), Lam finished fourth at the WPT Borgata Poker Open for $250,970.

A part-time poker player who owns an ice cream shop back in Orange County and a tire shop in New Jersey, Lam also does plenty of business at the tables. He has almost $2 million tournament winnings and that includes a runner-up finish in a $2,500 event at the Borgata Spring Poker Open in 2017 for $219,341. While Lam may not be a full-time player and admits he hasn’t been playing a lot of poker lately, he’s certainly doing a lot of things right and is a savvy player with a big opportunity.

Seat 2: Nick Schulman – 239,000

Nick Schulman

One of two poker commentators at this final table, Schulman has become well-regarded for his insight on PokerGO live streams and other broadcasts. With $11.2 million in live tournament winnings, Schulman certainly knows of which he speaks. On the WPT, his win came in Season IV (2005) in the WPT World Poker Finals at Foxwoods for a massive $2.2 million. He came close to winning the same event two seasons later, finishing runner-up for $864,652.

This marks Schulman’s fifth WPT final table appearance and he has plenty of big finishes in other tours as well. In 2017, he won a $50,000 Poker Masters event for $918,000 and a $50,000 Super High Roller in the same year at the Seminole Hard Rock for $440,000. His poker record includes numerous six-figure scores and final table appearances. His most recent came in February when he won a $25,000 Mixed Game event at the U.S. Poker Open for $270,000. He’ll start the day on the short stack, but no one should rule him out.

Seat 3: Ole Schemion – 1,871,000

Ole Schemion

This German poker star comes to the Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions after winning the WPT European Championship in Season XVI for $255,352. That’s the tip of the iceberg in a storied poker career that now totals more than $15 million in live tournament winnings. That includes nice finishes and wins on some of the game’s biggest stages: EPT, PCA, Aria High Rollers, Aussie Millions, and more.

With a long list of six- and seven-figure scores, Schemion has plenty of experience, and chips, to take down his second WPT title. A few of his biggest wins include: the € 8,500 Partouche Poker Tour Main Event in France in 2012 for $1.4 million; the Aria $100,000 Super High Roller in 2014 for $1 million; and the €100,000 EPT Super High Roller Monte Carlo in 2016 for $1.8 million. Fresh off a string of nice finishes at the EPT Monte Carlo and PCA in the Bahamas, Schemion will be looking for yet another bullet point for his illustrious record. With chips and talent, he’ll be tough to beat.

Seat 4: Griffin Paul – 308,000

Griffin Paul

This is Paul’s first WPT cash since 2016, but he’s doing it in a big way with a shot another career-defining title. This player from Northridge, California, won his WPT title in Season XIII (2014) at just age 22 when he took down the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for $1 million. This marks his fifth WPT cash and third final table for a total of $1.3 million.

Another nice finish came in Season XIV when he took fifth at the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars for $231,310. Those scores on the WPT make up a huge majority of Paul’s $1.4 million career live tournament winnings. But Paul seems to excel in big situations on the WPT, and the final table of the Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions certainly qualifies in that regard.

Seat 5: Ryan Tosoc – 549,000

Ryan Tosoc

Mr. Five Diamond may have only three WPT cashes on his resumé but it a pretty impressive record. In Season XV (2016), Tosoc finished runner-up in the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $1.1 million. A year later, he finished one better – taking first for $1.9 million. Now with another tour cash, he’ll be looking to close the show again and add his name again to the Champions Cup in what is the toughest field of the season.

Tosoc now has more than $4.3 million in live tournament winnings. Beyond the WPT, he won a WSOP bracelet in 2018 in a $1,000 online tournament for $238,779. In March, he came close to adding yet another championship when he finished runner-up in the Bay 101 Shooting Stars for $ 336,500. A tough player with a proven record of success, if Tosoc can accumulate chips and have some things go his way he could be the new champion of champions.

Seat 6: Tony Dunst – 475,000

Tony Dunst

WPT viewers have grown accustomed to seeing and hearing Dunst call the action on FOX Sports broadcasts. After his run here at ARIA, he now has the cameras trained on him at the tables instead. The former host of the “Raw Deal” segment joined the lead commentary duo with Vince Van Patten at the beginning of Season XVI after Mike Sexton’s exit. Beyond his poker commentary work, Dunst has been playing high-stakes poker around the globe for years and has more than $3 million in tournament winnings.

Dunst added his name to the Champions Cup at the WPT Caribbean at Casino Royale in St. Maarten in Season XII (2013). He followed that up in the same season with a third-place finish at the WPT World Championship at Borgata for $452,729. In total, Dunst has an impressive 18 tour cashes, six final tables, and $1.1 million WPT winnings. He’s had several other nice finishes away from the WPT including a runner-up in the A$10,600 Aussie Millions Championship in 2016 for $700,000. With plenty of WPT experience, Dunst will be happy to be off-mic for this one.

Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas, and his work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.