He didn’t bring a coach, he wore a raccoon baseball cap at the final table, and he was up against the best poker players in the country, but underdog Qui Nguyen pulled out a win yesterday at the World Series of Poker Main Event – taking home $8,005,310 and securing his place in poker history.
The native of Vietnam and former nail salon owner qualified for the Main Event through satellite tournaments and didn’t come in with high hopes.
“The first day, I just tried to get in the money,” Nguyen told the Las Vegas Review Journal when the final table was decided. “No way did I think I’d go to the final table. No way I’d say that.”
Not only did he go to the final table, he dominated the play over the first two days and eventually came out on top of 6,737 competitors to claim victory.
Let’s look back at how Nguyen’s win was consummated.
Chip stacks at the beginning of Day 3:
When the third day began, the action started quickly and Cliff Josephy (a two-time WSOP bracelet winner), doubled-up on the first hand through Nguyen when he shoved with an A, Q against the eventual winner’s A, 4.
But just four hands later, Josephy lost 90-percent of his stack when all three players got in on a huge pot that saw two sets up against each other. After calling Vayo’s all-in, Josephy felt confident with his set of 2s, but Vayo showed a set of 3s, putting Josephy on the brink.
After trying to bluff off a top pair unsuccessfully against Nguyen, Josephy was eliminated in third-place for $3,453,035. Coming into the final table, Josephy was the odds-on favorite to take home the first-place prize.
Heads-up play between Nguyen and Vayo lasted nine hours – the longest in tournament history. When the one-on-one began, Vayo had managed to battle his way on top of Nguyen – who held the chip lead for virtually the entire final table.
Chip stacks at the beginning of heads-up play:
Gordon Vayo, United States – 200,300,000 chips (125 big blinds)
Qui Nguyen, United States – 136,300,000 chips (85 big blinds)
The final hand saw Vayo push his last 18 big blinds on a J, 10 suited but was called by Nguyen’s K, 10. The flop gave Vayo two inside straight draws, but blanks on the turn and river saw him eliminated for $4,661,228.
Final table results:
Nguyen said he plans to donate a portion of his winnings to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Featured photo credit: WSOP.com.
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