Qui Nugyen has carved out a successful poker career in Las Vegas, frequenting Aria cash games ranging from $1/$2 blinds up to $10/$20. But despite his success and diligence in these games, his bankroll always took a hit in WSOP events. That isn’t the case now, though, since Nguyen is one of nine players who’ll compete on the WSOP Main Event final table.
The 39-year-old racked up three eliminations in six hands at one point in the final day. This helped build his chip stack to the point where, with just nine players left, he holds the second-most chips (69.925m).
“Today I was running hot,” Nguyen said after the final table formed.
With the 2016 WSOP November Nine now official, Nguyen has one of the best chances at the $8 million top prize. Only Cliff Josephy holds more chips (74.6m) right now. Even if disaster stuck and Nguyen quickly fell down the chip count, he’d still be guaranteed a $1 million payout for ninth place.
In either case, Nguyen is just happy that something has went right for him in tournaments.
The Vietnam native has been playing cash games for 10 years after moving from Florida to Las Vegas in the mid-2000s. He quickly learned the ropes of cash games and became successful, but tournament accolades have always alluded him.
“Usually I try to get in the money and never get in the money,” Nguyen told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Known as “Tommy Gun” in the Aria poker room, Nguyen’s best WSOP payout was a $9,029 prize for taking 54th in a 2009 WSOP $1,500 NLHE event. But his best cash is already guaranteed to be $1 million, and it should be a lot higher based on his impressive chip stack.
Nguyen’s road to entering this year’s WSOP Main Event was a difficult one. He busted out of $565 and $1,100 satellites in pursuit of a $10,000 seat. It wasn’t until his third satellite, worth a $1,100 buy-in, that he earned his seat.
Family members tried to convince Nguyen to sell his seat and make a profit. But the Vietnamese-born pro didn’t think the sale price was worth what he stood to gain.
“It’s just $10,000,” he said. “I lost a lot more in baccarat.”
Nguyen and the rest of the 2016 November Nine will take the felt on October 30th to battle for over $25 million of prize money.