By Sean Chaffin
After four days of action, the final six players in the WPT Gardens Poker Fest return on Thursday to play to a winner. Some big things await the champion including adding his name to the Champions Cup, $368,475 in first-place money, a 2019 BMW X1 worth an extra $40,000, and a $15,000 seat in the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions.
The winner also becomes the leader in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year standings, earning 1,000 points. Here’s a look at the final table.
Seat 1: Roger Teska – 2,970,000
This marks Teska’s third WPT cash and he’s looking for his first title. He came close in his last cash in Season IX, when he finished fourth in the $25,500 WPT World Championship at Bellagio for $371,665. A native of Bloomington, Indiana, the 34-year-old has $2.9 million in live tournament winnings.
The majority of that total came in November at the partypoker LIVE Caribbean Poker Party, where he won the $25,500 Millions event for a massive $2 million payday. Teska is a regular in high-stakes cash games but also has some other nice tournament scores. In a $2,000 event in 2017, Teska finished sixth for $85,003 and took sixth in 2018 at a A$25,000 high roller at the Aussie Millions for $99,366. With one big WPT finish already under his belt, Teska will be looking to close it out this time with a win.
Seat 2: Lior Orel – 3,245,000
After finishing chip leader after Day 2, Lior Orel is also making his first WPT cash with a final table appearance. A native of the Los Angeles area, Orel has $240,275 in live tournament winnings and is a full-time cash game player at casinos around L.A. While he may not have the tournament experience of others in the tournament, some nice instincts for the game have helped him reach the final table.
Some of his Orel’s tournament bullet points include five cashes at this summer WSOP, the best coming in a $3,200 online event where he finished seventh for $45,429. His best tournament score came in 2016 when he took runner-up in a $160 event at the Legends of Poker for $207,000. Orel will be looking to parlay his big chip stack and deep run into a WPT Champions Club membership
Seat 3: Lars Kamphues – 2,540,000
When the final table gets underway, Kamphues will be another player at his first WPT final table making his first tour cash. With about $265,000 in live tournament winnings, Kamphues has a chance to add to that considerably here at the Gardens. This 25-year-old German player has been playing for three years and has plenty of experience online as well.
Kamphues’s best live tournament finishes came in the last few years. In 2017, he won a $1,280 WSOP International Circuit event in Holland for $40,917. This summer at the WSOP he scored the biggest cash of his career when he finished fifth in a $5,000 event for NLHE event for $130,544. He now has a chance to top that. This poker young gun will be looking for a big score and has a shot at the title.
Seat 4: Laszlo Molinar – 2,865,000
This 31-year-old player from Hungary is making his first WPT cash with a final table appearance. Molnar has $102,000 in live tournaments cashes and is hoping his deep run here at the Gardens translates into a WPT title. Molnar has been a professional for 10 years and specializes in high-stakes online cash games. He may not have the live tournament experience as some others at the final table, but does have a few nice cashes.
This summer he scored a few nice finishes at the WSOP and some other tournaments in Vegas. That included finishing 41st the $10,000 NLHE Six-Handed Championship for $15,111, and 24th place in a $3,500 event at the Venetian for $14,742. Laszlo’s biggest finish came in September at the EPT Barcelona, where he took third in the €1,625 Turbo event for $26,808. While he may not have the experience on this stage, Laszlo has some chips to give this title a run.
Seat 5: Cord Garcia – 2,880,000
After bagging the chip lead on Day 1A and a big stack on Day 2, Garcia has ridden that wave all the way to a final table appearance. Originally from Katy, Texas, and now living in Los Angeles, the 29-year-old poker pro has one World Series of Poker bracelet and $2.7 million in live tournament winnings. Garcia told WPT.com earlier in the series that he had been looking to make some Hublot Player of the Year points wagers to serve as some motivation this season
The betting seems to have worked. While he may have only three cashes on the WPT, he now has a legitimate chance to add his name to the Champions Cup. His best tour finish came in 2017 when he took second at the WPTDeepstacks Championship at Thunder Valley for $152,872. Garcia is the most experienced tournament player at the final table, and should be a tough opponent if he can accumulate some chips.
Seat 6: Andrew Wisdom – 1,435,000
This player from San Diego has several nice five- and six-figure wins and now has a shot at the biggest win of his career. Wisdom has more than $800,000 in live tournament winnings and that only includes one small tour cash at the WPTDeepstacks Thunder Valley in April. A 24-year-old poker pro for two years now, Wisdom formerly worked as a pizza deliveryman.
The biggest win of his career came in a $1,100 event at the Bicycle Casino in 2017, when he topped a field of 550 for $165,025. He also has several other wins in California including winning a WSOP Circuit ring in a $3,250 event at the Bike for $72,420. Wisdom already has four tournament wins this year, including three titles at the L.A. Poker Classic at the Commerce Casino. That run was capped by a win in a $10,000 Turbo event for $114,025. Adding yet another win this year is certainly on his to-do list.
Photography by Joe Giron / PokerPhotoArchive.com
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas, and his work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.