Event 68 – $10,000 MAIN EVENT No-Limit Hold’em Championship

Qui Nguyen Wins 2016 WSOP Main Event

The 2016 WSOP ME Champion, Qui Nguyen.
The 2016 WSOP ME Champion, Qui Nguyen.

Qui Nguyen is the new WSOP World Champion.

Gordon Vayo was closing in but then Nguyen knocked him back a peg with a full house. 

In that hand, Nguyen called from the button and Vayo raised to 8.7million. Nguyen called and the flop came Q♠ Q♦ J♣. Nguyen bet 8.9 million, Vayo called and a K♣ came on the turn. 

Vayo check-called a 10.9 million bet and Vayo called. A Q♣ completed the board and both players checked. Nguyen showed a jack for queens full of jacks and took down the pot. 

The hand left Vayo with 110 million while Nguyen rose to 230 million. 

Then Nguyen took another chunk off of Vayo. Nguyen raised to 7.5 million and Vayo called. Both players checked the 2♣ 4♥ 5♠ flop and a J♥ came on the turn. 

Nguyen bet 11.5 million and Vayo called. The 8♣ came on the river and Nguyen fired off a final bet of 17.5 million. Vayo called and dropped down to 70 million when Nguyen showed J♠ 9♠.

Nguyen kept hammering away at Vayo and got him down to about 30 million. Vayo scored a double up and moved all-in a number of times after that, but Nguyen was being cautious and folding. 

Other times Nguyen would move all-in and Vayo would fold. 

It finally ended when Nguyen raised to 8.5 million and Vayo moved all-in for 54 million. Nguyen called with K♣ T♣ and had Vayo’s J♠ T♠ dominated.

The final board of the tournament fell K♦ 9♣ 7♦ 2♠ 3♥ and Nguyen became the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion. 

Vayo won $4,661,228 for the runner-up finish while Nguyen won the grand prize of $8,005,310.

Vayo and Nguyen hug
Friends till the end
Qui Nguyen interviewed by Kara Scott
Qui Nguyen and his rail

Vayo Doubles and Closes In

Gordon Vayo now within striking distance.
Gordon Vayo now within striking distance.

Gordon Vayo got his double up and the heads up saga continues. 

Vayo moved all-in preflop a few times without getting a call, but he got his call on a flop. 

In that hand, Nguyen raised to 7 million and Gordon called. 

The flop came 7♠ Q♥ 8♦ and Vayo checked. 

Qui bet 9.9 million and Vayo moved all-in. Qui called and showed a dominating A♦ Q♦ to Vayo’s Q♠5♠.

Then something happened that hadn’t really happened all heads-up, Vayo got lucky. 

A 6♠ came on the turn to give him a flush draw and a T♠ came on the river to complete it. 

Once again Nguyen and Vayo watched the hand side-by-side and once again Vayo celebrated with his rail when he won. 

The hand put Vayo up to 119 million while Nguyen dipped to 216 million.

Qui Nguyen and Gordon Vayo
Nguyen and Vayo sweating another all-in together.

 Nguyen and Vayo sweating another all-in together.

Then Nguyen dipped below 200 million. 

Nguyen raised to 7 million a few hands after Vayo’s double-up and Vayo called. The flop came A♥ A♣ 3♦and Vayo checked. 

Nguyen bet 7.4 million and Vayo called. A 4♦ came on the turn and Nguyen upped the bet to 17.9 million. 

Vayo called and a 7♥ completed the board. Vayo checked again, he was hoping that Nguyen would fire off another big bet. 

Vayo had aces full of sevens and showed them when Nguyen checked behind. The pot put Vayo up to 143.8 million while Nguyen dropped to 192.8 million.

Large Lead for Nguyen, Action Slows

Qui Nguyen
Qui Nguyen

Players went on another break and came back to Level 41 and 1.2m/2.4 million blinds with a 400,000 ante. 

On the second hand back, Qui Nguyen raised to 6.7 million and Gordon Vayo called. The flop came 9♣4♣ 2♦ and Nguyen bet 9.7 million. 

Vayo called and a T♥ came on the turn. Vayo checked again and Nguyen upped the bet to 27.7 million. 

Vayo called and a 5♠ completed the board. Vayo threw out one last check and Nguyen moved all-in. Vayo went into the tank, the last time this happened Nguyen had rivered a flush. 

This time, all Nguyen had was a pair of fives with J♦ 5♦. Vayo didn’t know he had him beat with Q♥ 9♥and went for the fold.

The massive pot put Nguyen up to 263.4 million while Vayo dropped to 73.2 million.

The level started big but then slowed down for the first time all tournament. There were lots of unraised pots and a few walks. 

Small bets were taking down pots on the flop and even the boisterous Nguyen rail seemed to lose steam.

Heads-up play has been going on for more than 100 hands and is close to being the longest heads-up match in the past 10 years. 

The only year that has this one beat is 2011, when Piuz Heinz played Martin Stazko for 11 hands. 

The small ball pots went back-and-forth for a bit but they’ve been recently falling in Nguyen’s favor. Nguyen is up to 282 million while Vayo is down to just 54.6 million. 

Vayo moved all-in once already but Nguyen didn’t call. He’ll be looking for another spot soon enough.

Qui Nguyen cap and sunglasses

Vayo Dips and Doubles

Gordon Vayo
Gordon Vayo

Vayo lost about half his stack on a terrifying board, but he had nothing to be afraid of. 

They both had the same hand, but Qui Nguyen made the first move and Vayo flinched.

In that hand, Vayo raised to 5 million with A♥ 9♥and Nguyen re-raised to 14.9 million with A♣ 9♦. 

Vayo called and an 8♣ 2♠ A♠ flop hit the board. Nguyen bet 17.9 million, Vayo thought and called. A 5♠ came on the turn and both players checked. 

The fifth card brought a fourth spade, the 3♠. 

Nguyen moved all-in and Vayo thought again. It was a scary board to have two red cards on and little did he know it was a chopped the pot. 

Vayo folded and was left with about 60 million. Those chips went all-in a few hands later. 

Vayo raised to 5 million and Nguyen made it 14.5 million. Vayo moved all-in for 58 million and Nguyen called. 

Vayo turned over A♠ J♦ for his tournament life and Nguyen showed K♥ 9♥. Both players got out of their chairs and stood side-by-side as they watched the flop hit the felt. 

The board came #38♥ 5♠ Q♣ T♥ and Vayo doubled to about 120 million while Nguyen dipped to around 215 million. 

Vayo has been hovering around the 100 million mark as they keep battling for $8 million and title of world champion.

Nguyen & Vayo smiling
Nguyen and Vayo friendly rivals.

The Final Battle

It's Qui Nguyen versus Gordon Vayo.
It's Qui Nguyen versus Gordon Vayo.

It’s going to be Qui Nguyen or Gordon Vayo. 

Vayo started the heads-up match with a lead of 200,300,000 to Nguyen’s 136,430,000, but Nguyen didn't make it easy for Vayo to keep it. 

Nguyen’s an aggressive gambler who’s pulled some wild bluffs. Nguyen’s been just as aggressive nine-handed as he has three-handed. 

Vayo’s a methodical, disciplined player that’s made some big folds. He held back a bit when the table was full and picked his spots.

This is only Nguyen’s second WSOP cash and his first ever Main Event. Before this, his biggest cash was for about $9,000.

He learned to play in card rooms in Florida and Alaska and loves to play Baccarat.

Vayo learned to play online when he was a teenager. He dropped out of school and became a full-time student of the game. 

He became an online pro and toured the circuit, scoring a few EPT cashes and nearly 30 WSOP cashes before making his November Nine run.

Gordon Vayo in heads-up
Gordon Vayo

We’ve seen opposites collide for poker’s biggest title before. Chris Moneymaker was the Average Joe that qualified to the $10,000 tournament for $39 and took down the old-school Vegas pro, Sam Farha to win the title. 

His win set off the biggest poker boom the world has ever seen. 

The Average Joe faced off the young the internet kid in 2008. Joe Cada was just 21-years-old when he defeated Darvin Moon, a small-time logger in his late 40s. 

Now it’s the gambler vs the machine. 

Vayo has been coached by Tom Marchese the last few months and Marchese is analyzing the broadcast, calculating the best plays. 

Vayo knows the numbers, he knows the odds. He’s one of the best case examples for poker being a game of skill. 

Nguyen is a good reminder that poker’s also a game of luck. You can be good at your home games or at your local casino and still be a contender for poker’s largest title if you get on a good heater and know how to ride it.

Qui Nguyen in heads-up
Qui Nguyen

Nguyen’s been on the attack since the heads-up match started and it’s been Vayo’s choice to fold or call most of the time. Sometimes Nguyen showed him the nuts, other times Vayo caught him bluffing. 

It’s hard to decipher what Nguyen is up to, especially when the pot is large.

In one hand, Vayo raised preflop with A♦ 9♥ and Nguyen called with Q♣ 5♣. Nguyen checked the 9♣T♠ A♣ flop, but raised to 9.7 million after Vayo bet. 

Vayo had two-pair and Nguyen check-raised his flush draw. A K♠ came on the turn and Nguyen fired off a 27.7 million bet. Vayo thought, then he called. 

A K♣ completed the board and Nguyen hit his flush. He didn’t hesitate to move all-in, Vayo hesitated to fold. 

His two-pair could very well be good, Nguyen could literally have any two cards. But was it enough to risk his tournament life and $3.5 million?

Vayo thought for a few minutes, his head collapsed into his hand. He looked sick. It was sick. After a few more minutes, Vayo folded. At least he now knows it was the right move.

The hand left Vayo with about 100 million while Nguyen’s lead grew to 230 million.

Pile of cash and WSOP bracelet

Cliff Josephy Finished 3rd

Cliff Josephy during his exit interview with Kara Scott.
Cliff Josephy during his exit interview with Kara Scott.

Despite constant chants of “Comeback Cliff!” Cliff Josephy wouldn’t survive his next all-in. 

Josephy had gotten back up to about 50 million but then he got halved by Qui Nguyen in the last hand of the level. 

In an unraised pot, Nguyen bet 1.9 million on a T♠A♣ 3♠ flop and Josephy called. A 9♥ came on the turn and Nguyen bet 3.9 million. 

Josephy raised to 9 million and Nguyen called. A 6♣completed the board. Josephy bet 16 million and Nguyen called.

Josephy turned over J♥ 3♥ for air and Nguyen turned over a pair of aces with A♦ 8♦. 

The hand left Josephy with 18.7 million in it went all-in the following hand with Q♦ 3♦. This time it was Gordon Vayo that called with K♥ 6♦.

Josephy’s final board ran K♣ 8♣ 3♥ 4♣ 2♣ and the 2016 WSOP Main Event went heads-up. Josephy on the other hand got a hefty $3,454,035 payday for the third-place finish.  

“All the support I've gotten was wonderful,” Josephy said. “My coaches were awesome and I tried my best. I gave it my all, but it is what it is.”

The next WSOP Main Event champion will either be Qui Nguyen or Gordon Vayo, and Josephy refuses to say who he thinks will prevail.

Cliff Josephy eliminated
The moment of doom
Josephy talks to his fans
Josephy addressed his legion of fans
Cliff Josephy
Josephy was all smiles though

Double, Double, Double, Double

Cliff Josephy during one of his many doubles.
Cliff Josephy during one of his many doubles.

Well that didn’t take long.

Qui Nguyen raised to 2.7 million on the first hand of play and Cliff Josephy fought back with a re-raise to 8.5 million.

Nguyen threw in a four-bet to about 20 million and Josephy moved all-in for 50 million. 

Nguyen came here to play and play he did. Nguyen called with A♠ 4♣ and Josephy had him dominated with A♦ Q♦.

The flop came A♣ Q♥ 7♣ to give Josephy a pair of pairs and then a Q♠ filled him up on the river. 

Josephy doubled up to 101 million while Nguyen dropped to 147 million.

Josephy needed a double up and got one. But then things went south for Josephy. 

A few hands later Josephy opened to 2.5 million from the button and Vayo called from the small blind. 

Nguyen made it 7.7 million from the big blind and both players called. 

The flop came 3♣ K♦ 2♠ and Nguyen bet 9.9 million when checked to. 

Both players called and a #4 came on the turn. Action checked to Josephy and he bet 21 million, Vayo moved all-in, Nguyen folded and Josphey called. 

Set over set. 

Josephy had a pair of deuces while Vayo showed a pair of threes. The river brought a six and Vayo doubled up to 200 million and took a massive lead while Josephy was left with about 10 million.

Gordon Vayo
Gordon Vayo calmly jumped into the lead with a double up

Josephy managed to double up through Nguyen the following hand and now sits with 19 million while Nguyen dropped to 115.6 million. 

Six hands have gone by and Josephy has been all-in 

But wait, there’s more. Josephy moved all-in again and got no callers, then he moved all-in the hand after. Nguyen had just raised to 2.9 million and then called the all-in. 

This time Nguyen was ahead with A♦ Q♦ while Josephy showed K♠ 9♦.

The flop came Q♠ T♠ 7♦ and Josephy’s rail went quiet. Then a 9♠ came on the turn to give Josephy a flush draw. The river brought a 3♠ on the river to complete it and Josephy’s crowd exploded.

Josephy is now back up to around his starting stack with 46.2 million while Nguyen dropped to 91 million.

Josephy doubles up
Josephy hopped up on double ups

Day 10 Begins

Qui Nguyen
Qui Nguyen

The final day of the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event starts now and Qui Nguyen is the man the beat.

He’s got nearly 60 percent of the chips with 197,600,00. He’s also got the gamble in him. He started the November Nine second in chips but then came out swinging and took down the first pot with a four-bet preflop. 

That set the tone for Nguyen and he hasn’t slowed down since. 

Last night he said he wasn’t going to change his play either, despite the fact that more than $4.5 million separates third and first place. Not to mention the title of World Champion.

A good run of cards could end things quickly, but Nguyen has some stiff competition. Gordon Vayo, an seasoned pro with more than $1.5 million in tournament earnings before the November Nine. Vayo is second in chips with 89 million. 

Then there’s also the online legend, Cliff “JohnnyBax” Josephy. Josephy has been tearing through the poker scene since the mid-2000s but comes in as the tournament short stack with 50 million. 

Blinds are 600,000/1,200,000 with a 150,000 ante and there’s about an hour left in Level 39. 

Cards are in the air.

Gordon Vayo and a dancer

Day 9 Ends, Michael Ruane Busts in 4th

Michael Ruane
Michael Ruane

Michael Ruane moved all-in a number of times but was receiving no callers. 

He came back from break with under 20 big blinds and kept hovering around that point, winning the blinds every round or two. 

But then there was a caller, and it was none other than our chip leader, Qui Nguyen. 

In that hand, Nguyen opened to 2.7 million from under the gun and Ruane moved all-in for 15.7 million from the small blind. Action folded back to Nguyen and he called. 

Ruane showed K♥ Q♥ for his tournament life and Nguyen was ahead with A♥ J♠. 

The 9♥ 9♠ 2♠ flop wasn’t much help for Ruane but and neither was the J♣ on the turn. Ruane had a few outs but the 8♦ that landed on the river wasn’t one of them.

That was it, Michael Ruane’s Main Event was done. Ruane’s rail exploded and cheered one last time before they flowed out of the tournament area along with him. Ruane’s rail also accounted for the vast majority of costumes in the field. 

Ruane left with a $2,576,003 payday while Nguyen’s lead increased to 178.4 million. 

Play went on for a bit though. 

It was scheduled to stop at three but tournament staff allowed for another 30 minutes of play. Nguyen’s lead only increased during that time. 

When tournament staff finally called it for the night Nguyen was closing in on 200 million.

Michael Ruane bust

Chip Counts

  1. Qui Nguyen - 197,600,000
  2. Gordon Vayo - 89,000,000
  3. Cliff Josephy - 50,000,000

Nguyen Keeps Rising, Ruane Dips

Qui Nguyen
Qui Nguyen

Gordon Vayo and Qui Nguyen were sitting comfortably atop the chip counts while Cliff Josephy and Michael Ruane battled it out near the bottom. 

Then the two little ones got involved in a big one. 

Ruane opened to 2.3 million from under the gun and both Josephy and Vayo called. 

The flop came J♦ T♦ 8♠ and Josephy bet out 4 million. 

Both players called and a J♥ came on the turn.

Josephy upped the bet to 8 million and Ruane called. Vayo folded and a 6♥ completed the board. 

Josephy was holding A♦ J♣ and moved all-in with trip jacks. Ruane had Q♦ 8♦ for a few missed draws.

2016 Nov9 Ruane Josephy
Cliff Josephy and Michael Ruan 

He couldn’t call, and he didn’t. 

Ruane dropped to 28 million while Josephy chipped up to about 78 million. 

Ruane slowly dipped back down to about 20 million and Josephy also dropped down to about 65 million. 

The chips have gone to Nguyen.

Nguyen has been consistently aggressive and has chipped up to about 155 million. 

Gordon Vayo, who was in shooting distance of Nguyen when four-handed play started, is now lagging behind with 104 million. 

Players also took the first break of the day and will came back to Level 39, which features 600,000/1,200,000 blinds and a 200,000. 

Play will continue until we lose one more player. 

Ruane is short but Nguyen is aggressive and Josephy and Vayo are still in it to win it. 

Ruane Doubles, Ruzicka Busts

Vojtech Ruzicka
Vojtech Ruzicka

It’s a weird time to be in the Penn & Teller theater. 

Hulk Hogan is here. So is Yoshi. 

There are a few other characters in the crowd too. They’re not here to put on a show though, they’re here to watch it. 

It’s Halloween and Day 9 of the WSOP Main Event. The usual November Nine excitement and atmosphere is peppered with an extra serving of weird and booze. 

There’s also been plenty of action.

We had our first all-in early on. Michael Ruane was our short stack and three-bet all-in for 23.1 million from the cut off after button raise from Qui Nguyen. 

The blinds folded and Nguyen called with a pair of sixes. Ruane showed pocket eights and was hoping to dodge any nasty surprises. 

Luckily for him the A♥ 9♣ 7♠ Q♣ K♥ board acquiesced. Ruane doubled up to 47.5 million while Nguyen dropped back down to eight digits with 94.9 million.

Michael Ruane
Michael Ruane sweating the board

Then we had another all-in sooner than expected. 

Gordon Vayo raised to 2.3 million from the button and Vojtech Ruzicka made it 8.15 million from the small blind. 

Vayo called and the flop came Q♣ 8♦ 3♣. Ruzicka bet 6.2 million, Vayo called and a 7♦ came down on the turn. 

There was another bet, another call and a 5♠ on the river. 

Ruzicka moved all-in for just 27.9 million and Vayo called. Ruzicka had a whiffed A♠ K♦ while Vayo tabled 8♣ 8♠.

Eights won again.

The hand put Vayo up to 108.9 million while Ruzicka was left with less than a big blind.

Ruzicka put his few chips in from the button the following hand and Qui Nguyen raised to 5 million from the small blind. Cliff Josephy folded his big blind and players tabled their hands.

Vojtech Ruzicka
Imminent doom for Ruzicka

Ruzicka showed A♦ 7♠ and Nguyen had him dominated with A♥ Q♥. The board 6♦ 4♠ 2♠ 5♠ 4♦board gave Ruzicka a straight draw on the turn, but nothing with showdown value. 

Ace-queen high took down the pot and the tournament shrunk again. 

Ruzicka won $1,935,288 for the 5th place finish while the rest of the players made the jump to $2,576,003.

Chip Counts

1. Qui Nguyen - 127,700,000

2. Gordon Vayo - 116,300,000

3. Cliff Josephy - 50,050,000

4. Michael Ruane - 42,600,000


Fan with Mario and Yoshi costume
Strange hats

Day 9 Ready to Go

The Halloween November Nine
The Halloween November Nine

This tournament started 114 fourteen days ago and it drew nearly 7,000 players. 

Now only five remain. 

Qui Nguyen is at the top of those handful of players with 128.6 million. Nguyen was in the lead for a large portion of play yesterday and then got a big bump in chips when he eliminated Kenny Hallaert on the last hand of the day. 

Cliff Josephy started with the lead yesterday but finished in a distant second with 63.9 million. Vojtech Ruzicka is right behind him with 62.3 million and Gordon Vayo isn’t far behind with 58.2 million. 

Michael Ruane is the short stack with 23.7 million. Play will resume at Level 38 with 500,000/1,000,000 blinds and a 150,000 ante so Ruane still has some room to maneuver. 

There’s still an hour and 40 minutes left in the level and play will continue until we get down to three players.

Players are in the room and fans are starting to flow in. Cards will be in the air at 4:30pm PST.

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All Poker News
Reed Hensel
2016-07-17 17:11:46


melinda harris
2016-07-17 16:06:35

Tyler Hancock update please … the wsop site just showed a huge chip up !!! thank you very much

Heather Sinclair
2016-07-16 18:24:50

Thanks for all the updates! I hear Dan Cheater is out

2016-07-16 00:53:43

Yeah he did. We’ll keep an eye on him.

Heather Sinclair
2016-07-15 20:48:57

I hear he is moving to the feature table after the break??

Heather Sinclair
2016-07-15 18:07:54

Where’s Dan Cheater at now?

2016-07-15 00:36:05

And Penn & Teller, are they on a break during this tournament ?

2016-07-15 00:35:24

not sure if you saw my post on 2C… You don’t get a lot of request, so I’m putting it again, if you don’t mind.

Could you please tell us about the logistic behind all this ?
Like, about the rush of thousands of players going to eat and to the bathrooms at the same time.
Waitresses, are they dealing OK with the water deliveries, etc.
Any tension between players, or between players and hotel tourists, about that ?

Thank you for your incredible work.

Heather Sinclair
2016-07-14 19:57:27

I hear Dan is up to 300,000. Any news??

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