This Week in Poker: Nguyen Dominates WSOP Main Event
The old tricks still work. Qui Nguyen is the newest World Series of Poker Main Event champion, claiming the gold bracelet and just over $8 million on Tuesday by eliminating Gordon Vayo after an epic heads-up battle. Nguyen’s aggressive play gave him multiple opportunities to win; Vayo, who’s more mathematical, played strong defense, but Nguyen was finally able to put him away on their fourth all-in showdown: King and Ten of Clubs over Jack and Ten of Spades.
It was somewhat shocking to see Nguyen take down the Main Event – his favorite game is baccarat, or at least it was before Tuesday. However, Nguyen was second in chips heading into the November Nine, and he was the second-favorite at +400, behind veteran chip-leader Cliff Josephy at +225. Vayo (+500) was third in chips and third on the WSOP odds list.
Eight Million Miles High
As it turned out, these three Americans were the last three players at the final table. The two short stacks, Spain’s Fernando Pons (+4000) and US-born Hong Kong resident Jerry Wong (+2500), were the first two eliminated on Day 1. Then it was Toronto native Griffin Benger (+900) crashing out in seventh place after getting dealt napkins and not much else. To keep things moving, they played on until Belgian pro and tournament director Kenny Hallaert (+500) was bounced in sixth.
Day 2 saw two more players hit the rail, starting with Vojtech Ruzicka (+900) from the Czech Republic, who had the misfortune of running into a set of Eights on back-to-back hands. Michael Ruane (+900) was next; the New Jersey poker pro got his last 15BB in with King-Queen, only to lose to Nguyen’s Ace-Jack.
And then there were three. Josephy, an online crusher from New York and a two-time WSOP bracelet winner, was well behind starting Day 3, but he doubled his stack on the very first hand, and wound up in four more all-in pots before finally losing his chips to Vayo. Then Nguyen gave the world a clinic on the virtues of basic aggressive play – with the help of a nice run of cards. Born in Vietnam and living in Las Vegas, Nguyen had one WSOP cash of $9,029 to his name before entering this year’s Main Event. His bankroll’s a little bigger now.