Qui Nguyen falters early, but comes roaring back to finish with more than half of the chips in play.
LAS VEGAS (October 31, 2016) – Day 2 of the November Nine began with five players remaining. Qui Nguyen entered as the chip leader after putting on a dominant performance on Day 1 of the final table. In second place was Cliff Josephy, third belonged to Vojtech Ruzicka, Gordon Vayo started in fourth and the short stack was Michael Ruane. Day 2 got off to a blazing start with big pots early and often.
Nguyen got off to a rocky start and doubled up Ruane on the fourth hand of play. Nguyen opened the action with a raise from the button and Ruane three-bet all-in from the big blind. Nguyen thought for about a minute and then made the call. Ruane was in good shape with pocket eights against Nguyen’s pocket sixes. The eights held for Ruane and he doubled up. Nguyen took a hit to his stack, but retained control of the chip lead.
Action didn’t slow down and three hands after Ruane’s double, there was a second double up involving Vayo and Ruzicka. Vayo raised from the button and Ruzicka three-bet from the small blind. Vayo called the three-bet and the two players saw a flop of . Ruzicka bet the flop and Vayo called. The turn was the and Ruzicka bet again. Vayo called and the river came the . Ruzicka moved all-in and only had Vayo slightly covered. Vayo called and turned over for a set of eights. Ruzicka showed for a failed bluff. Ruzicka was left with less than one big blind and Vayo vaulted into the chip lead with 108 million chips. Ruzicka was eliminated on the next hand in 5th place by Nguyen. Ruzicka earned $1,935,288 for his 5th place finish.
Vayo’s lead would not last long because Nguyen stayed aggressive. Nguyen put Josephy to the test after four-betting him all-in preflop. Josephy had to fold to the four-bet and Nguyen regained the chip lead with that hand. The chip lead bounced back to Vayo after he won a big pot off of Josephy. Vayo turned the nut straight and got a value bet in on the turn before Josephy was forced to fold to a big river bet.
Again, Vayo’s chip lead did not last long. One orbit later, Vayo raised under the gun and was called by Nguyen on the button and Ruane in the big blind. The flop came . Ruane checked and Vayo bet. Nguyen called and Ruane folded. The turn was the and Vayo bet again. This time Nguyen responded to Vayo with a huge raise. Vayo mucked his hand and in the process surrendered the chip lead to Nguyen again. This time Nguyen would not give back the chip lead.
Nguyen added to his stack at a rapid pace. He won a few medium sized pots against Josephy to extend his lead. In the meantime, Ruane’s stack was getting shorter as he tightened up looking for good spots to double up. Ruane eventually picked his spot for a chance to double up, but ran into the red hot Nguyen. Nguyen raised from under the gun and action was folded to Ruane in the small blind. He three-bet all-in and when action folded back to Nguyen he called. Nguyen showed and Ruane had . The board ran out giving no help to Ruane. The turn was the and Raune picked up a straight draw. The river was no good for Ruane and he was eliminated in 4th place for $2,576,003. The pot was awarded to Nguyen and his stack swelled to 178 million chips, which was more than half of the total chips in play. Three-handed play continued for another half hour before the night hit its conclusion. Nguyen picked even more chips in the process.
The players bagged their chips and after a few interviews exited the stage. The three remaining players will return tomorrow to play for the $8 million top prize and the Main Event bracelet. One of the three will go down in poker history, while the other two will be remembered only as November Niners. Be sure to catch every bet, fold and raise by tuning in to ESPN at 9:00 pm ET for the conclusion of the 2016 Main Event.
Here are the chip counts heading into Tuesday:
Seat 1: Qui Nguyen – 197,600,000 (164 bbs)
Seat 2: Cliff Josephy - 50,000,000 (41 bbs)
Seat 3: Gordon Vayo – 89,000,000 (74 bbs)