Qui Nguyen Wins the Main Event!

1 year ago
Nguyen Wins the Main Event!
02 Nov

(Photo: WSOP.com)

The WSOP final table produced one of the worthiest winners in recent years when Vietnamese-American Qui Nguyen emerged victorious from a thrilling and fast-paced battle against his nearest rivals Gordon Vayo and Cliff Josephy.

The three contenders for the crown had returned for the 3rd day of play at the Penn and Teller Theater in Vegas’ Aria Casino and it took less than five minutes for the action to begin.

Josephy, known in the poker community as ‘JohnnyBax’ for his stable of players, had sat down with the short-stack but immediately doubled up to 100million chips at the expense of the baccarat-fanatic Nguyen. When his 5-bet shove with AQ was surprisingly called by the A4 of Nguyen and the board bricking for Nguyen, Josephy was seemingly back in the game.

The nightmare continues…

But as with Vojtech Ruzicka the previous evening, things would soon go horribly wrong for Josephy, a set-over-set nightmare continuing the trend for big hands and big showdowns at the final table.

♠ ♦ ♣ ♥

With all three players seeing a flop of K♦ 3♣ 2♠, Josephy had hit it hard with his pocket deuces and was doubtless thrilled to see Nguyen bet out 10million, his call matched by Vayo.

The 4♦ on the turn and the 21million bet by Josephy after the check-check saw Nguyen get out of the way… but Vayo shoved! The 75million bet was barely covered by Josephy, and when he finally decided to call he found Vayo had him all but beat with his set of 3’s. With over 203million in the pot "It's set over set," exclaimed Jack Effel over the microphone to the crowd – a massive blow for Josephy, confirmed by the brick on the river.

If Josephy had visions of an amazing comeback when he doubled not once, but twice shortly afterwards, they were to be dashed when he tried to semi-bluff Nguyen, but the man from Las Vegas had paired his ace on the flop and wasn’t to be moved.

When the end came for Josephy it was a standard affair, his shove with Q♦ 3♦ being over-powered by Vayo’s K♥ 6♦ and with no help from the board Josephy hit the rails. Taking home $3,453,035 for his efforts and leaving the table with his supporters chanting "Johnny Bax."

Heads-up for the bracelet!

With Vayo sitting on 200,300,000 chips and (125 bb) and Qui Nguyen on 136,300,000 (85 bb) it would take 180 hands and many hours to separate the two players! And to be honest, for much of it it seemed that neither player had any idea of how to play heads-up poker at all!

Nguyen’s strategy seemed to be to mix things up way more than necessary, and somehow it worked as Vayo had absolutely no answer to the Vietnamese-born players plays. Slowly but surely Nguyen picked away at Vayo’s stack, the younger man simply unable to find the nerve to bet, raise or shove at the right moment.

As Antonio Esfandiari stated in the commentary booth, it was a "Slow, torturous death," for Vayo, and although he got lucky at times to suck-out on his opponent, when the end came it was a merciful one.

The bracelet winning hand

Nguyen raised to 8,500,000 on the button and Vayo moved all-in for 53,000,000 from the big blind, getting a quick call. When the cards were tabled, Vayo’s J♠ 10♠ was dominated by the K♣ 10♣ of Nguyen.

As the official WSOP website described it, and millions of viewers who had stayed up until 3am to watch it on ESPN witnessed:

"The crowd rises to their feet in anticipation of the flop and the respective cheers begin. The flop is K♦ 9♣ 7♦ and Nguyen flops top pair, but Vayo flops a double gutshot straight draw. Vayo needs to hit an eight or a queen to double up again and continue this heads-up match. 'Pair the board!' yells the fans on Nguyen's rail.”

With the 2♠ on the turn Nguyen was one card away from the $8 million first place prize and the Main Event title and bracelet, and when the river hit with the 3♥ the fans erupted in celebration. Nguyen’s pair of kings sent Vayo to the rail in second place, his $4,661,228 well-earned.

Qui Nguyen richly-deserved his amazing victory and the $8,005,310 which went along with his first WSOP bracelet, his name etched into poker history as the 2016 WSOP Main Event champion!

WSOPC Heads To Kings Casino

The next stop for the WSOPC heads to Kings Casino Rozvadov where the main event will boast a €1,000,000 guarantee and cost just €1650 to enter.

The festival will feature 14 ring events, €millions in cash payouts and attract the most famous players on the circuit. Expect live streams, cash games and their typical 5 star service.

View the full schedule here.

Articles 1488

Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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