February 26th, 2019 (Las Vegas, NV) – Viet Vo is the newest World Series of Poker Main Event winner after topping a field of 952 entries to take home the Rio Main Event title of the WSOP Circuit, along with his second Circuit ring and $274,030. The final day was a roller coaster for Vo, as were his emotions after taking down the tournament.
‘’It feels good. I’ve been wanting this for a long time. I got second in the Main Event in Chicago three years and a half ago. I got 11th last year in the Main Event at the Bicycle Casino. I bubbled the final table. To finally be able to close it out today, it feels good.’’
Vo had to navigate through a very tough field to end up at the finish line. Indeed, with 5 ring winners being part of the final table, the stakes were high.
‘’The final table was tough. I was just my playing my hands. I didn’t want to look at the players’ stats because I didn’t want to be intimidated. I just wanted to play my game and do the best I can and it worked out. I’m just glad I came out on top.’’
The three-handed portion of play lasted for over four levels with chips moving back and forth. Although Vo was the short stack for most of it, he did not give up and put all his confidence in his solid play.
‘’I never counted me out. I knew that if one of them double me up, I would be back in the game. I was just picking the right spot and it happened. After that I was catching some cards here and there.’’
Vo started playing poker professionally three years ago and does his best to follow the Circuit, but for him, family comes first.
‘’I had a job three years ago. Every day I was going to play poker after work, and I was feeling like I was pretty good at it, so I quit my job to play full time. Four months down the line, I didn’t win anything but then I went to Chicago, got second in the Main, and from there, everything started going uphill. Now I just pick and choose the stops. I got a wife and kids so I try to spend most of my time with them and travel to play whenever I can. I travel once a month basically. I just want to give a shout-out to my wife. She’s home with four kids, taking care of the kids, and I just want to thank her.’’
When the heads-up portion of play was reached, Vo was the shortest stack but he quickly managed to even the playing field. He then took the lead when he doubled in a massive cooler after making eights full of sixes against Sohale Khalili's eights full of fives, leaving Khalili with only 14 big blinds. He kept rolling after this and eventually shoved with jack-ten against Khalili’s ace-ten and made trips to take down the tournament.
Other notables who made the final table but couldn’t close it out include bracelet and ring winner Jared Jaffee. Jaffee began the third and final day as the chip leader and managed to stay at the top of the counts for a big part of the day. However, once the final table was reached, things stopped going his way, and he headed to the rail in 7th place when Nick Pupillo turned quads against his flopped nut straight. This was a massive pot and Pupillo was now holding more than half the chips in play. That didn’t last long though, as Peter Lockwood doubled through Pupillo when he open-shoved with tens for 48 big blinds and Pupillo called from the big blind with ace-king but couldn’t hit, becoming the short stack instead and heading to the exit next in 4th place for $93,604. It was Pupillo’s third Main Event Final Table of this Season’s WSOP Circuit. He finished runner-up both times previously.
Depite achieving this poker goal, it’s not over for Vo. He plans to keep grinding.
‘’I’m taking my family on a trip and I’m going to Tulsa next.''
Along with the first-place prize money and the WSOP Circuit ring, Vo will also receive a seat into the Global Casino Championship.
Official final table results
1st place: Viet Vo - $274,030 + 2019 GCC Seat
2nd place: Sohale Khalili - $169,497
3rd place: Peter Lockwood - $125,103
4th place: Nicholas Pupillo - $93,604
5th place: Cylus Watson - $70,917
6th place: Kent Lundmark - $54,403
7th place: Jared Jaffee - $42,244
8th place: Terry Fleischer - $33,216
9th place: Barbara Sargent - $26,423
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