By Donnie Peters
Simon Lam, part poker player, and part ice cream shop owner, entered the final table of the Season XVII WPT Gardens Poker Festival Main Event with the chip lead, sitting atop the final six players from a field of 584 entries with a stack of 6.115 million. Lam’s lead was sizable to start and he went on to scoop the victory for $565,055 and a brand new Mercedes-Benz SLC Roadster.
Lam is the owner of Rollin Deep Ice Cream in Costa Mesa, California.
WPT Gardens Main Event Final Table Results
1st: Simon Lam – $565,055 + 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC Roadster*
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
*First-place prize includes a $15,000 entry into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions.
It took 164 hands at Thursday’s final table for Lam to earn the title, the first of Season XVII of the World Poker Tour. Despite starting with a big chip lead – Lam was more than 2 million chips clear of his closest competitor – Lam’s road wasn’t without a bit of adversity at the table. Early on, Lam’s opponents attacked him enough to knock him out of the top spot. From there, he traded the chip lead several times with others at the table, but never looked anything but calm.
Play lasted 75 hands before Jared Griener was eliminated in sixth place, earning $115,885. After Griener hit the rail, Saya Ono was eliminated in the 88th hand of play at the hands of Men Nguyen. She took home $151,995.
With four players left, Lam had a big lead still, but then Craig Varnell took a chunk out of Lam’s stack before Jake Schindler doubled through him. Lam was able to work his way back to the chip lead, but then Nguyen found a double through him when his came from behind against Lam’s .
Eventually, Varnell was the player eliminated in fourth place, falling at the hands of Schindler. A former WPT500 Las Vegas champion, Varnell scored $201,615 for this fourth-place finish at what was his second WPT final table.
Nguyen’s run came to an end in third place after a rather ambitious maneuver with the against Lam. With the blinds at 125,000-250,000 with a 250,000 big blind ante, Lam opened to 600,000 on the button. Nguyen reraised all in from the big blind for 7.675 million, and Lam made the call with the . The flop, turn, and river ran out to bounce Nguyen out the door in third place for $270,430.
Lam entered heads-up play with a big lead, his 18.7 million to Schindler’s 4.675 million. From there, it took Lam 10 hands to win it all.
On the final hand, Lam and Schindler saw a flop of . Schindler checked, Lam bet 500,000, and Schindler check-raised to 1.5 million. Lam moved all in, and Schindler quickly made the call to commit himself for 4.675 million. Lam had the for top pair against Schindler’s , also for top pair. The turn and river allowed Lam’s kicker to hold and he was crowned the winner.
For Schindler, the runner-up finish earned him $366,740.
With the win, Lam grabbed 1,200 points in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race.
WPT Choctaw Is Next for the World Poker Tour
Coming up next on Season XVII of the WPT Main Tour is the WPT Choctaw $3,700 Championship. The event runs August 3-7, 2018, at Choctaw Casino & Resort in Durant, Oklahoma, and features a $1 million guarantee on the prize pool. WPT Choctaw has consistently drawn big numbers for its event, with an average field size of more than 1,000 for the WPT Choctaw Championship. For more on WPT Choctaw, check out the event hub on WPT.com.
Photography by Joe Giron / PokerPhotoArchive.com
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