WSOP Main Event: Qui Nguyen Takes Massive Chip Lead with 5 Remaining


The 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event has new chip leader with five left: Qui Nguyen (WSOP photo/Joe Giron)

All eyes were on chip leaderCliff Josephy as the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event final table got underway in Las Vegas on Sunday night, but it took just one hand for another player to let it be known that this wasn’t simply going to be a coronation for one of online poker’s most dcorated heroes.

On the first hand of play action folded to Qui Nguyen in the hijack and he raised to 1,250,000 with Ah4d. Josephy, to Nguyen’s left, re-raised to 3,200,000 with Qh9s. The rest of the table got out of the way and Nguyen put in another raise to 8,250,000. Josephy folded and Nguyen assumes the chip lead.

The two players swapped the chip lead back and forth over the next three hands.

It didn’t take long for the first elimination. Fernando Pons, who started the final table as the shortest stack, managed to get all in once with no callers on the tenth hand of play. He wasn’t so lucky the next time. Pons moved all in from the button for 4,652,000 and Josephy called from the big blind. Pons was ahead with Ad6c to Josephy’s KhJc but the KsQc3s flop changed that. The 9d turn was no help and the Kc river gave Josephy trip kings and sent Pons, the €30 satellite winner, home in ninth place.

As if following some sort of script, the player who started the day as the next shortest stack was the next to go. Jerry Wong had managed to build up stack to just under 30 big blinds at one point but wasn’t able to build any further momentum and eventually found himself in a hand that basically played itself. Vojtech Ruzicka raised to 1,825,000 wiht QhQd before Gordon made it 5,100,000 to go with As3s from the button. Wong woke up in the big blind with JhJs and raised to 8,500,000. Ruzicka raised to 13,500,000, Vayo folded and Wong called his last million or so. The board ran out 9c8c6s4hQc to give Ruzicka a set of queens and eliminate Wong in eighth place.

After that hand Ruzicka took over the chip lead with 82,300,000.

Just eight hands later another player was eliminated. Gordon Vayo raised from the button with ThTs to 2,200,000 and Griffin Benger moved all in from the big blind with As9s for 7,235,000. Vayo called quickly and watched as the flop came 9d8d8h to give Benger extra outs. The 2h turn and 6h river weren’t any of those outs and Vayo busted Benger in seventh place.

The original plan called for play to stop once just six players remaining but ESPN producers and WSOP floor staff made the decision to play two more hours following Benger’s elimination out of concern for how long Monday and Tuesday could run with players so deep.

As the night was winding down another player was sent packing. From UTG Kenny Hallaert raised to 2,300,000 with AcQc before Nguyen raised to 5,700,000 from the cutoff with AdAs. Hallaert wasted no time in moving all in for 35,625,000. Nguyen snap-called and tabled his hand. The Qs5h4s flop gave Hallaert some hope but the 7d turn and 4h river ended his run in sixth place and halted play for the night.

That final hand gave Nguyen an astonishing 128,625,000 of the 336,625,000 chips in play. Action resumes Monday night on ESPN at 830 PM ET with 1 hour and 42 minutes left at 500,000/1,000,000 (150,000 ante).

Chip Counts

  1. Qui Nguyen – 128,625,000 (128 bbs)
  2. Cliff Josephy – 63,850,000 (63 bbs)
  3. Vojtech Ruzicka – 62,250,000 (62 bbs)
  4. Gordon Vayo – 58,200,000 (58 bbs)
  5. Michael Ruane – 23,700,000 (23 bbs)


  6. Kenny Hallaert – $1,464,258
  7. Griffin Benger – $1,250,190
  8. Jerry Wong – $1,100,076
  9. Fernando Pons – $1,000,000


    • Josephy: I would have just sat back and watched everyone else. like forever if needed…he knew better getting all pushy bluffy with q9…then….dumb da dumb dumb

    • Not a bad “amateur”! Dude’s playing VERY well. Saw him on day 5-6 lowstacked and all in. Now he’s on the cusp. Congrats!