Men Nguyen was on his best behavior at the WPT Gardens Poker Festival main event final table on Thursday, a day after inappropriate actions disrupted the game, but it wasn’t enough for “The Master” to take down his first World Poker Tour title. That honor went instead to New York grinder Simon Lam — also a WPT first-timer — booking the biggest score of his career, a victory worth $565,055.
Lam will have his name inscribed on the WPT Champions trophy alongside every other World Poker Tour champion of the past 17 years. He receives entry into the season-ending Tournament of Champions in the spring.
More than $50,000 of that 1st place prize money includes the value of a 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC Roadster, a luxury automobile awarded to the winner.
It was the biggest score of Lam’s career and his first major tournament win. He now has over $1.9 million in lifetime winnings.
Lam ended up heads-up against Schindler, one of the most well-known high stakes pros in the world, after an impatient Nguyen shoved all-in pre-flop with 10-7 into his A-K, which held up.
The 15 million-chip pot gave Lam a 4-1 advantage over Schindler when heads-up play began. Even though Jake, who has now surpassed the $20 million lifetime mark, is the more accomplished player, it’s tough for anyone to overcome such a massive chip disadvantage.
It took just 10 hands before Lam finished his opponent off when both players flopped a pair of jacks, but the eventual champion had Schindler out-kicked (J-9 vs. J-8).
Good Behavior Credit
Men Nguyen disrupted the flow of play on Wednesday with questionable behavior that forced the floor manager to come over to his table multiple times. Things got so testy at the table that he was handed down a one-round penalty for making illegal raises in a hand and tournament staff cut off his access to alcohol.
But on Thursday, he was quieter and sober. Nguyen didn’t slow down the action or cause any commotion on the tournament’s final day. Perhaps, he was embarrassed with his behavior the day before.
WPT Gardens Final Table Results
1 Simon Lam ($566,055)
2 Jake Schindler ($366,740)
3 Men Nguyen ($270,430)
4 Craig Varnell ($201,645)
5 Saya Ono ($151,995)
6 Jared Griener ($115,885)
If you looked at Jake Schindler’s Hendon Mob page without knowing the facts, you’d probably think he has made a ton of money this summer. Since the Super High Roller Bowl in late May, he’s cashed for $1.2 million.
But that’s a misleading number because it doesn’t factor in buy-ins. We don’t know exactly how much he’s bought in for in tournaments this summer, but it likely exceeds $1.2 million. It wouldn’t be beyond mathematical reason for him to be down six figures.
Schindler played in numerous high rollers this summer including the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl, $50,000 WSOP High Roller, WSOP $100,000 High Roller, and numerous $10,000 WSOP and $25,000 Aria High Roller events, along with many lower buy-in events such as the $5,000 WPT Gardens.
It just goes to show how the tournament winnings figure that seems to be poker’s standard measurement is often misleading.