The final day of the WSOP Main Event final table started with three players: Qui Nguyen out in front with 197,600,000 in chips, Gordon Vayo in second with 89,000,000, and Cliff Josephy with 50,000,000. On the first hand of play, Josephy doubled through Nguyen to overtake the second place from Vayo, who then doubled up through Josephy with a set-over-set cooler four hands later to nab the overall chip lead.
Josephy was left with less 10 million in chips after losing that big pot, but he managed to double up 2 times in the next few hands to almost accumulate the same stack as he started the day with (50 million). But it didn't take long before he lost a big pot to Nguyen and was left with just under 20 million in chips, and the following hand he was eliminated by Vayo. Josephy earned $3,453,035 for his third place finish.
Vayo had about 60% of the chips in play with 200,300,000 to Nguyen's 136,300,000 when the heads-up started. But Nguyen, who had been the chip leader for the majority of the final table, was back in the lead again within 30 minutes.
The two traded pots over the next 90 minutes with very little change in terms of stack sizes. Then Nguyen took control by moving all in on the river with about 80 million already in play. Vayo went into the tank for about seven minutes before throwing away his cards.
Nguyen now had about 80% of the chips in play, but Vayo doubled up just two hands later. Although the battle continued for another 6 hours after the double up, Vayo never managed to gain much momentum against Nguyen, who scooped the last pot with K10 against J10 on the board K9723.
In total, it took 182 hands over 8 hours of heads-up play to determine a winner. It took the same amount of hands to play down from 9 players to 2 players over three nights!
Gordon Vayo received $4,661,228 for his runner-up finish. Nguyen, a self-proclaimed gambler born in Vietnamn residing in Las Vegas, received his first WSOP bracelet along with $8,005,310. According to PokerNews, Nguyen will donate a portion of his winnings to Wounded Warrior Project, a military and veterans charity service organization empowering injured veterans and their families.
Final table results:
1 - Qui Nguyen - $8,005,310
2 Gordon Vayo - $4,661,228
3 Cliff Josephy - $3,453,035
4 Michael Ruane - $2,576,003
5 Vojtech Ruzicka - $1,935,388
6 Kenny Hallaert - $1,464,258
7 Griffin Benger - $1,250,190
8 Jerry Wong - $1,100,076
9 Fernando Pons - $1,000,000