Category Archives: WSOP 2016

2016 WSOP Champion - Qui Nguyen

2016 WSOP Champion – Qui Nguyen

2016 WSOP Champion – Qui Nguyen

Of all the eye-catching numbers coming out of Qui Nguyen’s victory as the 2016 WSOP Champion early Wednesday morning — the $8 million first prize, the nine-hour heads-up duel, or even the 6,737-player field he outlasted — perhaps none is more surprising than this:

He is 39.

The former Alaska nail salon owner and failed professional baccarat player is the oldest winner of the $10,000 No Limit Hold ‘Em tournament since 2007, snapping a string of eight straight 20-somethings to grind through the biggest and most prestigious tournament in the annual gambling festival.

“To see somebody like him win, it’s going to give more people hope,” said Ryan Riess, who won the 2013 Main Event at the age of 23. “There’s going to be a lot of guys that may be in their 40s or 50s who may have been discouraged seeing all the younger players win.”

A Vietnam native who lives in Las Vegas, Nguyen eliminated San Francisco poker pro Gordon Vayo on the 364th hand of the final table at around 3:20 a.m. Wednesday to end an 11-hour session that followed an 11-day run in July to winnow the field down to a “November Nine.” Over three straight nights this week, Nguyen played more than 18 hours, including 200 hands from “shuffle up and deal” on Tuesday afternoon to the confetti cannons that celebrated his winning hand.

“It’s absolutely a grueling grind,” said Jason Somerville, who won a $1,000 No Limit Hold ‘Em bracelet in 2011, at 24, and has finished in the money at the Main Event twice. “Remember that you’re not just playing long sessions: You’re on the biggest stage in poker; you’re under the bright lights. That whole thing is a pressure cooker like none other in poker. It’s really unique in life.”

From its origins in barrooms and basements, poker has emerged as a billion-dollar business — the World Series of Poker alone includes 69 events over 51 days in which 107,844 entrants played for $221,211,336 in payouts. As the game grew, it attracted not just older Texans in cowboy hats but young chess, math and computer prodigies who played thousands of hands online in the time it would take traditional gamblers to play one-tenth as much.

That’s enabled younger players to compete with — and even surpass — their more experienced competition. Young player say their age gives them the stamina necessary to outlast fields that now run in the thousands.

Phil Hellmuth was 24 when he won the Main Event for the first time in 1989 (in a field of just 178), but five of the eight winners since 2007 have been younger than that, including 2009 winner Joe Cada, who was about a week shy of his 22nd birthday.

Somerville noted that Nguyen was only 39.

“It’s not like he’s 65, which would really be surprising,” he said.

Nguyen didn’t take the traditional route to the final table. Nor did he make his name playing online like the younger generation of players.

Instead, he used his earnings at the nail salon to finance a baccarat habit that busted him before he turned to poker. With only one WSOP finish in the money and less than $53,000 in career tournament earnings heading into the Main Event, he was one of the least accomplished players at the final table.

But Nguyen used an aggressive style that forced Vayo to fold a better hand dozens of times down the stretch until his stack had dwindled and his choices were limited.

“He kind of played like a 20-something. He was very aggressive, very courageous,” said Somerville, who has more than $6 million in earnings — about one-third online and the rest in live tournaments. “There’s a lot of ways you can be successful in poker. There’s not just one way to do it. But there’s no shortcut to putting the hard work in: studying, practicing training. You really have to put in the hours.”

Nguyen and Vayo did that — all in one night.

More than 10 1/2 hours into the final session, Nguyen held a 5-to-1 chip advantage when he was dealt a king and 10 of clubs. Vayo got a jack and 10 of spades and pushed in his last 53 million chips.

Nguyen quickly called.

The two players stood together at the rail to watch the five shared cards come out.

The flop — the first three community cards — was a king-nine-seven, giving Nguyen a pair and Vayo the possibility of a straight.

Then came an inconsequential two, followed by an equally harmless three.

Nguyen was the winner.

The two players hugged, and Nguyen’s supporters bounced over the rail to celebrate with him.

In addition to one of the biggest prizes in poker, Nguyen receives a $50,000 bracelet made from 427 grams of white and yellow gold and more than 2,000 diamonds and rubies totaling more than 44 carats. The centerpiece opens like a locket to house the hole cards from the winning hand.

“I’m so excited. I don’t know what to say,” Nguyen, wearing his trademark raccoon baseball cap, said on the TV broadcast. “I just tried to remind myself to never give up, to never give up. It was tiring, it was tough, but I wanted to stay aggressive and never give up and thankfully for me it worked out.”

Vayo earned $4,661,228 for finishing second. He’s 27 — the youngest player at the final table.

Cliff Josephy, a 50-year-old former stock broker who was the oldest of the “November Nine,” was eliminated in third place and collected $3.45 million.

Daniel Negreanu, a six-time bracelet winner who is 42 but known as “Kid Poker,” said older winners could become more common because of laws against online poker in the United States.

“Without the ability to play poker online, younger players have a more difficult time amassing the experience necessary to be competitive at the highest levels,” he said. “The barrier for entry for younger players is more significant today as a result. Until that changes, you can expect the average age of the winners to increase along with it.”

But Riess said he didn’t think the presence of two older players among the final three was an indication that the trend toward younger winners is going to reverse any time soon.

“It’s definitely wide open,” Riess said. “There are a lot of great players that are older and a lot that are younger. But as a whole, I think the younger players are still ahead of the game.

“If the over-under was 30,” for next year’s Main Event, he said, “I would bet the under.”

Source: ABC News

WSOP Main Event

27 Players Left in WSOP Main Event

Czech poker pro leads WSOP Main Event with 27 players left

Vojtech Ruzicka of the Czech Republic leads the final 27 players in the WSOP Main Event $10,000 buy-in No-limit Texas Hold ’em World Championship.

Ruzicka had 26.415 million chips when action on Day 6 was halted late Sunday at the Rio Convention Center. The Main Event continues Monday at noon with Day 7 and will run until the field reaches nine players.

The final table begins Oct. 30 at the Penn & Teller Theater with the $8 million first prize up for grabs.

Ruzicka, a professional poker player with 17 previous WSOP cashes, opened play Sunday in the middle of the pack but scored three knockouts after the dinner break to seize the chip lead.

Michael Ruane of Maywood, New Jersey, is second with 24,565,000. Ruane might be best known as one of three poker players to have more than $26,000 seized by authorities in the Bahamas in 2012 after they failed to declare their winnings from a poker tournament while going through customs.

Two-time WSOP bracelet winner Cliff Josephy, an online poker legend and well-known poker financial backer, is third with 23.86 million after leading at the dinner break. He is the lone bracelet winner remaining in the field.

Australian James Obst is fourth (19.56 million) and continues his torrid summer. Obst has cashed in seven previous events and was second in the $10,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. championship.

France’s Antoine Saout is in 24th place as he tries to become only the second player to reach two Main Event final tables since the “November Nine” format was adopted in 2008. Saout was third in the 2009 Main Event.

Also in contention are eight-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Valentin Vornicu, who is sixth, and high-stakes poker pro Tom Marchese, who has more than $13 million in career live tournament earnings.

Among the eliminations Sunday were two-time bracelet winner Brian Yoon and bracelet winners Michael Banducci, Dietrich Fast, Tony Gregg and Daniel Colman. Highly regarded pro Chris Klodnicki also was sent to the rail on Day 6.

Two-time bracelet winner Paul Volpe went out in 29th place, clinching the Player of the Year award for Jason Mercier.


1. Vojtech Ruzicka (Liberec, Czech Republic) 26,415,000

2. Michael Ruane (Maywood, New Jersey) 24,565,000

3. Cliff Josephy (Muttontown, New York) 23,860,000

4. James Obst (Adelaide, Australia) 19,560,000

5. Mike Shin (Milwaukee) 19,345,000

6. Valentin Vornicu (San Diego) 17,450,000

7. Fernando Pons (Spain) 17,270,000

8. Thomas Miller (East Hampton, New York) 17,185,000

9. Kenny Hallaert (Hansbeke, Belgium) 15,465,000

10. Tom Marchese (Boonton, New Jersey) 15,420,000


Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables at Cafrino and get all the practice you need while winning real cash. Good luck!


Local players excel in World Series of Poker

Local poker players excel in World Series of Poker

Tens of thousands of players from virtually every state and a multitude of countries around the world have descended upon Las Vegas, Nevada for the greatest competition in professional poker, the 2016 World Series of Poker.

The non-stop action began on May 31 for the 47th edition of the poker world’s longest running tournament series and will continue through July 18. There are 69 official gold bracelet events spread over 50 days with buy-ins ranging from $565 all the way up to $111,111.

A month into the competition there has been one striking trend: Four major event winners hail from the Chicago area, a remarkable statistic and a true credit to the caliber of players who frequent the poker rooms in this region.

The competition at the annual extravaganza is branded so indelibly around the world that it is considered an honor and a rarity to have multiple winners of events come from the same country let alone the same relatively small geographical region.

That said, with many major events still to be held, here is the honor roll of recently crowned Chicago area and Northwest Indiana gold bracelet winners:

Benjamin Keeline of Oswego, Illinois, who won Event #2, the Colossus II No-Limit Hold’em Tournament. Sporting a relatively small $565 buy-in, this competition attracted no less than 21,613 entries which created an incredible $10.8 million prize pool. Keeline outlasted them all to claim the $1 million first prize in epic comeback fashion.

Kyle Julius of Naperville, Illinois, who captured Event #4, the $1,000 Top Up Turbo No Limit Hold’em Tournament. His prize was $142,972.

Jean Gaspard from Evanston, Illinois, who now calls Chicago home. He won Event #11, the $10,000 Dealers Choice 6-Handed Championship and a check for $306,621. The former professional basketball player at one time attended camp for the Chicago Bulls.

Alexander Ziskin won Event #29, the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Tournament. The native of Vernon Hills, Illinois collected $401,494.

All four of the champions are veterans of competition in the World Series of Poker Room at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond with a collective bevy of prominent performances in World Series of Poker Circuit events through the years.

We’ll soon find out who’ll win the biggest poker tournament of them all, the $10,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em World Series of Poker Main Event Championship? The globally recognized world championship of professional poker will run over 10 consecutive days from July 9 through July 18 on which day the final table participants, or “November Nine” as they have been come to be called, will be announced.


Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables at Cafrino and get all the practice you need while winning real cash. Good luck!

WSOP 2016 Las Vegas

Day 24 of the WSOP 2016 at the Rio

Day 24 of the WSOP 2016 at the Rio in Las Vegas

Here’s what to expect this weekend at the WSOP 2016 World Series of Poker.

Friday’s schedule:

10 a.m. — $1,500 “Monster Stack” No-limit Hold ’em (5-day event)

Noon — $1,500 Pot-limit Omaha (Final table); $1,500 “Summer Solstice” No-limit Hold ’em (Final table); $10,000 Six-handed No-limit Hold ’em Championship (Day 2)

2 p.m. — $3,000 Six-handed Limit Hold ’em (Final table); $2,500 Limit Mixed Triple Draw Lowball (Day 2)

3 p.m. — $3,000 Shootout No-limit Hold ’em (3-day event)

Saturday’s schedule:

10 a.m. — $1,500 “Monster Stack” No-limit Hold ’em (Day 1B)

Noon — $10,000 Six-handed No-limit Hold ’em Championship (Final table)

2 p.m. — $2,500 Limit Mixed Triple Draw Lowball (Final table); $3,000 Shootout No-limit Hold ’em (Day 2)

3 p.m. — $10,000 Seven-card Stud Hi-Low/8 or Better Championship (3-day event)

Sunday’s schedule:

11 a.m. — $1,000 No-limit Hold ’em (3-day event); $1,500 “Monster Stack” No-limit Hold ’em (Day 2)

2 p.m. — $3,000 Shootout No-limit Hold ’em (Final table); $10,000 Seven-card Stud Hi-Low/8 or Better Championship (Day 2)

3 p.m. — $1,500 Mixed No-Limit Hold ’em/Pot-Limit Omaha (3-day event)

Players to watch:

* Reigning WSOP Main Event champion Joe McKeehen is one of eight players remaining in the $3,000 buy-in Six-handed Limit Hold ’em event. The resident of North Wales, Pennsylvania, is second in chips behind Matt Matros of Brooklyn, New York. Also alive is Russian sports commentator Mikhail Semin, who made his fourth final table of this year’s WSOP.

* Tommy Le of Tustin, California, owns the chip lead with 16 players left in the $1,500 buy-in Pot-limit Omaha event.

* Koray Aldemir of Vienna holds a slight chip advantage over Spain’s Adrian Mateos during heads-up play in the $1,500 “Summer Solstice” No-limit Hold ’em event. Action was halted after 1 a.m. Friday, and the Europeans will return to play for the $409,171 first prize.

Thursday’s highlights:

* Las Vegas resident Hani Awad, 65, won the $2,500 buy-in Mixed Omaha/Seven-card Stud Hi-Low event ($213,186) for his first career bracelet. The Israeli-born Awad, who owns a local taxi cab company, finished second in this event last year and dedicated the victory to his 93-year-old mother living in Nazareth, Israel.

“I promised her I was going to win it for her,” Awad said. “It was my dream to win this, and it means the world.”

* Michael Gathy, a professional poker player from Brussels, won the $5,000 buy-in Six-handed No-limit Hold ’em event ($448,463). It is his third career bracelet, tying Davidi Kitai for the most by a Belgian player.


Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables at Cafrino and get all the practice you need while winning real cash. Good luck!