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WPT Celebrity Invitational: A Nguyen-win situation
Men "The Master" Nguyen may have been the L.A. Poker Classic Best All Around Player this year, but his wife Van Nguyen jumped ahead of him on one leaderboard by taking down the 2008 WPT Celebrity Invitational.
After three days of turbocharged freeroll poker, Van Nguyen's win officially gives her one more Billy Baxter, $1,250,000
Seat 2: Van Nguyen, $760,000
Seat 3: Justin Marchand, $815,000
Seat 4: Ethan Ruby, $910,000
Seat 5: Elias Madias, $710,000
PokerListings.com celebrity tournament reporter Owen Laukkanen described the final table, whose most recognizable face was seven-time WSOP bracelet winner Billy Baxter, as "full of the kind of head-scratching play that would make any online gamer's head explode."
Medias was the first of the five to take his leave. With blinds up to $40,000-80,000 he moved all-in for his last $425,000 holding A-5. Marchand called from the small blind with 8-8, and the pair held up to eliminate Medias, who took home $10,000 for finishing in fifth place.
After pulling the trigger on Medias, Marchand was the next to be terminated. After flat-calling Nguyen's $250,000 bet before the flop, Marchand elected to move all-in when Nguyen bet out on the A-8-2 flop. Her call with A-8 was easy and left Marchand in desperate shape. The deck brought no help and he exited in fourth place with $15,000.
Knocking Marchand out gave Nguyen all the momentum she would need to close things out, beginning with her elimination of Baxter. The legend moved all-in before the flop for $460,000, just under four times the big blind. Nguyen called with J-7, which held up against Baxter's 9-4, sending him to the rail with a $20,000 cash.
The heads-up match was heavily stacked in Nguyen's favor as she entered with $3,695,000 in chips to Ruby's $750,000, and she took advantage of her lead by turning up the pressure. Ruby folded until he had enough to cover the big blind and then doubled up a few times to stay alive.
Nguyen finally dealt the coup de grace with K-4 against Ruby's Q-J. Ruby took home $50,000, while the champion claimed $100,000 for the win.Owen Laukkanen's missives from the WPT Celebrity Invitational trenches are preserved for posterity in the Live Tournaments section.
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