The 2023 World Poker Tour (WPT) Gardens Poker Championship $5,250 buy-in no-limit Hold'em main event attracted 346 players who created a prize pool of almost $1.7 million.
It had two starting flights, and players continued playing for four extra days before Ky Nguyen emerged as the winner. The 37-year-old player, popularly called 'Suited Superman,' won a $357,380 top prize and his maiden WPT title.
It was his biggest cash out in a poker tournament, exceeding the $53,303 he won in the 2016 Liz Flynt Fall Poker Classic $240 buy-in tournament. He informed WPT journalists that he has played in many events but has never won any.
His recent victory thrilled him as it increased his poker event earnings to more than $700,000. Still, he garnered 960 Card Player Player of the Year (POY) points in the tournament. He is among the top 150 players in the 2023 POY race that Global Poker presents.
The Gardens Casino hosted the tournament. But Luxor Hotel & Casino hosted the final table on May 25. The last six players visited Las Vegas and started playing on May 27.
The Final Tables' Prizes and Points
- Ky Nguyen – $357,380 and 960 points
- Ryan Salunga – $230,000 and 800 points
- Chris Lee – $169,000 and 640 points
- Brad Owen – $125,000 and 480 points
- Joey Deluca – $94,000 and 400 points
- Josh Lachman – $71,200 and 320 points
Nguyen's Journey to Victory
Ryan Salunga had the largest stack when he advanced to the final table, while Nguyen was the fourth player. Josh Lachman had only three big blinds at the table when its action kicked off. He used 8-3 suited to make an all-in call from the big blind on the day's second hand against Salunga's A-9 suited.
Both players didn't improve, but Lachman's run ended in sixth place. Deluca followed Lachman in the fifth position after using J-10 suited to call all-in from the big blind and losing to Chris Lee's pocket jacks. The big pair dominated and sent Deluca packing.
Brad Owen exited the tournament in fourth place after getting K-6 suited on the button while holding 15 big blinds. The player made an all-in move against Nguyen's A-J. Yet, an ace on the turn made Owen draw dead and leave the table.
Nguyen improved his position in the chip standings to second place, and Lee had the fewest chips. Still, Nguyen beat Salunga in a multi-street bluff and got the stack lead.
Lee used A-4 to move all-in against Nguyen's pocket pair after several hands. The former landed a four on the flop but left the table in third place.
His exit set up heads-up action between Salunga and Nguyen, who had a 10,350,000:7,050,000 chip advantage over his opponent. Nguyen used QClub Suit8Heart Suit to make a button shove in the event's final hand, while Salunga used JHeart Suit10Diamond Suit to make a ten big blinds all-in call.
The board ran out 8Diamond Suit8Club Suit4Diamond Suit6Heart Suit2Diamond Suit, earning Nguyen the title and pot. Salunga finished second with $230,000.