By Sean Chaffin
Most college students know the routine. Maybe those studies and assignments have been neglected throughout the semester. Fueled by coffee or energy drink, reviewing all those missed chapters or notes that sat unread becomes a one-night endeavor, cramming for that final exam the next day.
The goal is to squeeze as much as possible into one’s brain in one night and hopefully, a passing grade is the result. Poker player Simon Lam (pictured) went through a similar ordeal on his way to the Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions. The topic of his study habits even came up at the tables on Day 2.
“It worked out,” he says studying his opponents and making the final table. “We were talking about it when there were still a bunch of players left. I was actually studying while on the flight here from New York. I had a five and a half hour flight and I was cramming for half the time and resting half the time. Once I landed I registered for the event.”
Those efforts continued after making the final table and entering today’s action fourth in chips.
“I looked at some old hands last night,” he says. “I played a bunch with these guys online, so I pulled up some hand histories I had with them.”
Before play got underway Lam was mic’d up and patched up for the Gardens Casino, where he plays cash games regularly. Lam didn’t seem nervous about the environment and situation, taking the entire production in stride.
“It feels pretty good,” he says. “I’m excited and I think I’m ready. It’s pretty cool, I’ve never been in such a huge stadium for poker. It’s like a real sporting event.”
Lam’s win at the WPT Gardens Poker Festival for $565,055 began the season, and he now has almost $2 million in live tournament winnings. In Season XV, Lam also finished fourth at the WPT Borgata Poker Open for $250,970.
Away from the WPT, Lam has several other nice finishes. He plays regularly at the Borgata also and notched a runner-up in 2017 in a $2,500 event during the Spring Poker Open for $219,341.
While he’s quite a poker player, some entrepreneurial interests also occupy much of Lam’s time. He owns the Rollin’ Deep ice cream shop in Orange County, California, with plans to open a second store soon. The shop features a plethora of sweet desserts and gourmet ice cream dishes. He also owns a tire shop in New Jersey.
At HyperX Esports Arena, there wasn’t expected to be a large Team Lam contingency in the crowd – with just a few local friends in the gallery and his sister flying in to support him as well. He prefers to take a low-key approach.
“I told everyone to stay home,” he says. “I didn’t want to make it a big deal.”
If he turns his short stack into a title, opening Season XVII with a win and closing it with another on such a big stage, it will certainly be a big deal. And all that studying will have really paid off.
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas, and his work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.