WSOP Main Event Update: Qui Nguyen in Control with Three Players Left

November 1st, 2016 | by Kaycee James
Qui Nguyen WSOP Main Event.

Qui Nguyen is the overwhelming chip leader heading into the final day of the 2016 WSOP Main Event. (Image:

On Day Two at the WSOP Main Event final table Monday night, Qui Nguyen went from chip leader to overwhelming favorite.

With the tournament down to its final three players, the Las Vegas resident is in a commanding position to win his first gold bracelet and $8 million.

He’ll have that opportunity on Tuesday evening beginning at 5:00 pm PST with ESPN picking up the television coverage at 5:30 on a half-hour delay.

Norman Chad, Lon McEachern, and Antonio Esfandiari will be back in the booth for a third and final day. At the end of the night, the 2016 world champion will be crowned.

Nguyen is, far and away, the favorite at this point. He has 197,600,000 chips. Gordon Vayo, a San Francisco resident, is in 2nd place with 89,000,000. Cliff ‘JohnnyBax’ Josephy, the oldest player at the final table (50), will have the smallest stack (50,000,000).

All three players are relatively deep. The day will begin with 600,000/1,200,000 (200,000) antes. Josephy, even with the “short stack,” has plenty of dancing chips.

Josephy, once a feared online poker player, was hoping for a final table performance akin to Joe McKeehen last year. The eventual champ dominated the 2015 November Nine after entering the final table with the chip lead.

At no point during the last three days of play did anyone at the table come close to catching up to McKeehen.

Things haven’t gone as smoothly for Josephy. On the very first hand Sunday evening, he dropped into 2nd place after Nguyen four-bet him out of a pot.

He briefly moved back into the lead later that day but has spent most of the first two days of play in 2nd or 3rd place. Nguyen, on the other hand, spent most of Day Two as the chip leader.

Just Wasn’t His Day

Monday’s play began with five players:  the three mentioned above, along with Vojtech Ruzicka and Michael Ruane. Ruzicka was the first casualty of the evening. He went out in memorable fashion.

No one wants to bluff all their chips off in the Main Event. But the Czech got a bit stubborn. It all started when he lost a large pot to Josephy when his opponent flopped a set of eights. He bet with ace-high on the flop and turn before giving up on the river.

The exact same situation arose a few hands later against Vayo. Again, Ruzicka flopped air and his opponent had a set of eights. This time, he refused to surrender. Ruzicka bet the flop and turn. Vayo just called, disguising the strength of his hand.

With nothing but ace-high and a massive pot in front of him, the Czech couldn’t find a check on the river. Instead, he went all-in and Vayo insta-called.

That left Ruzicka with literally a chip and a chair. On the next hand, he had neither. Once considered the favorite to win, he was sent home in 5th place for $1,935,288.

Couldn’t Catch a Cold

Michael Ruane was card dead for much of the final table. On Monday, he simply couldn’t get anything going. He held the short stack the entire evening. Nguyen sent him to the exits in 4th place ($2,576,003) shortly before the session concluded.

The ESPN announcers were complimentary of Ruane’s demeanor and attitude at the table. All eyes will be on ESPN Tuesday night. One player is merely hours away from becoming poker’s 2016 world champion.


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