Nguyen won his first WSOP bracelet and $8,005,310 while Vayo received $4,661,228 for his monumental efforts.
The pair played heads-up poker for more than eight hours in the longest final table in WSOP history.
From nine to five
It didn’t take long for the eliminations to roll in when play began last Sunday.
Short stack Fernando Pons was eliminated on the sixteenth hand of play and earned $1 million for his ninth place finish.
A few hours later, professional poker player Jerry Wong followed suit, running his J-J into Q-Q and finishing in eighth for $1.1 million. Former esports champion Griffin Benger was out the door just 30 minutes later, having lost a lopsided race with A-9 versus T-T.
The last hand of the night saw Belgian tournament director and poker pro Kenny Hallaert eliminated by Nguyen, closing the action for our five survivors to return the next day.
Playing down to three
On Monday, the five remaining players reconvened for a short session to play down to a final three. Nguyen began the day with more than twice as many chips as second-place Cliff Josephy, and the action was fast and furious.
Czech professional Vojtech Ruzicka picked the wrong time to bluff and lost most of his chips to Vayo, being eliminated in fifth place for $1.93 million the next hand. He was followed a couple of hours later by Michael Ruane, who earned $2.57 million for his fourth-place finish.
A WSOP win for Nguyen
The final three players returned to the felt for what would prove to be a marathon session of poker.
Josephy doubled up through Nguyen on the very first hand before then losing a huge set-over-set pot to Vayo.
Josephy would be eliminated by Vayo within a dozen hands, earning $3.45 million.
This left Vayo and Nguyen to play an epic eight-hour heads-up match that was almost entirely one-sided. Nguyen ran over Vayo in pot after pot, and despite the American making something of a comeback after five hours, he was fated to be defeated.
The final hand saw Vayo all-in with J-T against a dominating K-T, with a king-high flop all but sealing the deal. Qui Nguyen joins Poker Hall of Fame member Scotty Nguyen as one of two Vietnamese-born WSOP champions.
WSOP Main Event final table standings
- Qui Nguyen – $8,005,310
- Gordon Vayo – $4,661,228
- Cliff Josephy – $3,453,035
- Michael Ruane – $2,576,003
- Vojtech Ruzicka – $1,935,388
- Kenny Hallaert – $1,464,258
- Griffin Benger – $1,250,190
- Jerry Wong – $1,100,076
- Fernando Pons – $1,000,000