Steve Sung Prepares for WPT HyperX Esports Arena Final Table; Addresses Controversial Men “The Master” Nguyen Hand
Back in January, the $10,000 buy-in World Poker Tour (WPT) Gardens Poker Championship played down from 253 players to the final table of six. On Tuesday, they will convene at HyperX Esports Arena inside the Luxor in Las Vegas to play down to a winner, who will walk away with a $548,825 first-place prize.
Steve Sung, a two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner who has more than $5.5 million in tournament earnings, will begin the final table third in chips. If things go his way, he’ll capture his first WPT title.
“It took me some time to get excited about it,” Sung said on Monday just before watching the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table. “I wasn’t really feeling much but then I started to get those good nerves. Now I’m ready, it’s good.”
Sung’s Thoughts on the Delay
The WPT Gardens Poker Championship reached its final table in mid-January, which means Sung and company have waited nearly two months to battle it out. By comparison, the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open had a five-week gap while the LAPC recommenced after less than a week.
“I like the change and when they try out different things."
“I like the delay,” Sung said. “I like the change and when they try out different things. It was a little too long I think, but I enjoyed it.”
Sung was also enjoying his first visit to HyperX Esports Arena.
“I thought it was a 1,500-seat theater for the audience, so it was way smaller than I expected,” he admitted. “But as a past gamer myself I really appreciate how the esports industry has evolved. It’s amazing.”
When asked if he believed poker and esports could enjoy a symbiotic relationship, which seems to be the WPT’s latest mission, Sung expressed a reluctant optimism.
“I hope so, I really hope so,” he said. “I think it’s possible because poker is a sport and a game.”
Sung Weighs in on Men “The Master” Nguyen
Sung’s final table appearance comes on the heels of finishing ninth in the 2018 WPT Gardens Poker Festival for $55,010. It was in that tournament Sung clashed in a controversial hand with Men “The Master” Nguyen, who ultimately finished in third place for $270,430.
The hand began when Sung raised preflop holding ace-jack and Nguyen defended his big blind with nine-seven. The flop gave Sung trip jacks and Nguyen a gutshot straight draw. Nguyen check-raised and Sung called to see a six on the turn, which improved the former to an open-ended straight draw.
Nguyen bet 225,000 and Sung moved all in for 435,000. Nguyen dropped in two 100K chips as if to call and Sung tabled his hand. Nguyen then picked up the chips and claimed he’d accidentally dropped them and hadn’t intended to call.
“You called,” Sung said according to the WPT live updates. “That’s why I turned over my hand.”
“I no do nothing,” Nguyen responded.
“Menski, you really trying this on me right now?” his opponent fired back. “We’ve known each other a long time. Don’t pull this shit on me.”
"I respect all players, and until something is done to me I don’t need to judge."
“I no do nothing. I bet you $1,000,” Nguyen again said.
“I’ll bet the prize pool on it,” Sung answered.
The tournament staff ruled it a call and Nguyen was forced to put in the chips. Another six on the river gave Sung a boat and the double. Nguyen previously addressed the situation in PokerNews’ “Master of One” five-part article series claiming he didn’t remember the hand. That doesn’t surprise Sung.
“I know what the public perception of Men is. I respect all players, and until something is done to me I don’t need to judge,” Sung said of the situation. “I knew what I saw, I was completely focused and sober. I truly believe that he believes that he didn’t [do anything wrong] because he was that drunk. I’d never seen him that drunk before that early. I think he was just too drunk and that was his truth. We have it on camera, but I’ll still give him the benefit of the doubt.”
For now, Sung is focused on the next hand and hopefully capturing his first WPT title.
Images courtesy of WPT.
The WPT Gardens Poker Championship final table will get underway at 4 p.m. local time on Tuesday. PokerNews will not only bring you a recap from that tournament but will also offer continued coverage from the WPT HyperX Esports Arena.
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