The five remaining players stepped up to the plate last night for the second day of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event final table. The hopes of two more players were dashed as the field was narrowed to three. Vojtěch Růžička and Michael Ruane saw their chance at the $8 million grand prize go out the window, while Qui Nguyen remains the far-and-away chip leader.
Chip stacks at the beginning of Day 2:
Qui Nguyen, United States – 128,625,000 chips
Cliff Josephy, United States – 63,850,000 chips
Vojtěch Růžička, Czech Republic – 62,250,000 chips
Gordon Vayo, United States – 58,200,000 chips
Michael Ruane, United States – 23,700,000 chips
The short-stacked Ruane managed to double-up against Nguyen on just the fourth hand of the day when his pocket eights bested the chip leader’s pocket sixes. The extra chips helped him get back in the game and avoid being the first elimination of the day.
Růžička was the first to go on the second day after butting heads with Nguyen just three hands later. Růžička’s stack was dented in a hand with Gordon Vayo. An ill-timed A, 7 vs. A, Q against Nguyen was the final nail in his coffin and Růžička made his exit in fifth-place for a whopping $1,935,288.
All in all, the Czech player seemed happy with how his WSOP run went.
“I just felt like, on the turn, that I was ready to bluff the river,” Růžička told ESPN. “And it was a good river for my range – I just walked into his best possible hand.”
The action got even hotter after the first elimination and, despite his early double-up, Ruane was the next to go. A big hand against Josephy saw him down to 25 big blinds. Then he moved all-in with a suited K, Q and was called by Nguyen (A, J). A board full of blanks saw the ace-high stay ahead and Ruane was the first to break $2 million when he went home in fourth ($2,576,003).
Nguyen was originally thought to be one of the final table’s wild cards – he doesn’t boast the same impressive poker resume as many of the other players and qualified for the Main Event through a series of satellite tournaments. But by picking up big hands in the most important moments, the Vietnamese player has given himself a huge lead and sits in a comfortable spot going into the third day.
“I’m playing the best [poker] of my life, that’s true,” Nguyen told ESPN. “Anything can happen at the table, but I can only play the best that I can, for all of my friends and family.”
The last three players will return to the Penn & Teller Theater at 4:00 p.m. local time to play down to a winner.
Featured photo credit: Jayne Furman, WSOP.com.
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