In the early hours on Wednesday, Qui Nguyen outlasted Gordon Vayo in an epic 8-hour heads-up battle, the longest in the tournament’s long and illustrious history, earning $8 million and becoming the latest World Series of Poker Main Event champion.
This was the Las Vegas residents first WSOP Main Event but he played like a seasoned pro at the “November Nine” final table. Nguyen was second in chips with 68 million (130 big blinds) when play recommenced at the Rio Hotel & Casino after a three-month break, and he was always in a fairly comfortable position.
After the first day’s action completed at the final table, Qui Nguyen was leading the chip count with 128 million in chips. The guy with the second biggest stack, Cliff Josephy, had a 2-to-1 chip disadvantage.
Like was the case last year with Joe McKeehen’s Main Event run, Nguyen had the momentum for the majority of the final table. Vayo led at the beginning of heads-up play, but they were both fairly deep-stacked, and his lead didn’t last for very long.
For the final hand, Nguyen raised it up to 8.5 million with and Vayo who would have been frustrated with how things were going in heads-up play, decided to make a stand by moving all-in for 53 million in total with . Nguyen made the easy call. Although the flop of gave Vayo a double gutter, Nguyen was in a good position with top pair in the hand. A 2 and 3 brick on the turn and river didn’t change anything, giving Qui Nguyen his first WSOP title.
Even though he made it look easy, it wasn’t an easy final table by any stretch of the imagination, Nguyen was up again tough competition including several players who heading into this year’s Main Event had already accumulated more than a million in live tournament earnings. As has been the case for the past few years, the Main Event attracted a field of more than 6,000 runners – Nguyen topped a field of 6,737 entrants to be exact.
Qui Nguyen Wasn’t the Only Big Winner
A bit more than a week ago we reported that November Niner Qui Nguyen signed a deal with StakeKings. As part of the deal with the staking platform, the Las Vegan resident and pro offered a piece of his Main Event action. With more than $8 million up for grabs for the winner, StakeKings customers didn’t just get to enjoy the November Nine final table, they won big.