Qui Nguyen is the star of the show on Day 1 of the final table and will head to Monday with a big chip lead.

LAS VEGAS (October 30, 2016) – The first day of the final table is complete. The day saw the field reduced from nine players to five. Fans, friends and family packed the Penn and Teller Theater at the Rio. The audience wore specialty designed shirts representing the player they supported. ESPN started the night by showing the last hand from July. It was the 10th place elimination of Josh Weiss. After that short clip, the players were introduced to the stage and play got underway.

Fernando Pons was the first player eliminated from the final table. He moved all-in for his final eight big blinds with   . Cliff Josephy called from the big blind with   . The flop came     giving Josephy the lead. The turn was the   and the river brought the  . Josephy’s three kings sent Pons to the rail in 9th place. Pons earned $1 million for his ninth place finish.

Jerry Wong started the day 8th in chips and became the short stack with Pons’ elimination. Shortly after becoming the short stack of the table, Wong doubled up through Kenny Hallaert. The double up didn’t prevent him from being the next player eliminated though. A couple orbits later Wong ran his pocket jacks into Vojtech Ruzicka’s pocket queens to be the next player eliminated. Ruzicka opened the pot with a raise from early position and was three-bet by Gordon Vayo on the button. Wong four-bet all-in from the big blind and left only 1.5 big blinds behind. When the action got back to Ruzicka he stuck in a five-bet. Vayo folded and Wong called for his last few chips. Ruzicka showed    and Wong flipped over   . The flop, turn and river did not bring any help to Wong and he exited in 8th place for $1,100,076.

Eight hands after Wong’s elimination another player hit the rail. Finishing in 7th place was Griffin Benger. After his elimination, Benger admitted he was card dead and his chip stack was whittled down to 10 big blinds. His bustout hand began with Gordon Vayo opening the pot with a raise from the button. Benger moved all-in from the big blind and Vayo called. Vayo showed    and Benger showed   . Vayo’s hand held and Griffin was eliminated in 7th place for $1,250,190.

The remaining six players were left fairly deep stacked. Kenny Hallaert was the short stack with about 30 big blinds. Ruzicka started six-handed play with the chip lead, but ended up losing it after a failed bluff against Vayo. Vayo held    and checked-called the flop with a flush draw. He then check-called the turn after he hit his flush and the action on the river went check-check after the board paired. The updates don’t show it, but it was later found out through the ESPN coverage that Ruzicka had   .

The night ended with the biggest pot of the evening. Hallaert opened the pot with a raise from under the gun. Action folded to Nguyen in the cutoff and he three-bet. Action folded back to Hallaert and he four-bet all-in. Nguyen instantly called and both players showed down their hands. Nguyen had    and Hallaert had   . The flop came     helping Hallaert a little bit, but the turn and river were blanks and Hallaert became the 6th place finisher. His 6th place finish earned him $1,464,258.

Play ended for the evening with Hallaert’s elimination. Action will resume again Monday at 4:30 pm PT. The remaining five players are all guaranteed at least the 5th place prize money of $1,935,288.

Here are the chip counts heading into Day 2 of the final table:

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

  • 1 hour and 42 minutes remain in Level 38: 500,000/1,000,000 with a 150,000 ante