Tommy Nguyen has become the ninth millionaire crowned at the 2018 World Series of Poker, after taking down Event #48: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em MONSTER STACK for $1,037,451.
After a rollercoaster ride of emotions at the final table, Nguyen was nearly at a loss for words when asked what it felt like to win $1,000,000. "I dreamed of this and I always believed I could make it. I never doubted that I was going to win. I was just focusing on winning a bracelet. That was my goal when I came here."
That's a pretty lofty goal for someone who is making their first appearance at the World Series of Poker at the age of 28, but Nguyen has just been riding a hot streak. Nguyen won over $100,000 at a major poker tournament in Canada just two months ago and has used the money to enter events at the WSOP this year.
The final table featured a staggering nine all-ins featuring ace-king, with big slick emerging victorious seven times. Eventual winner Nguyen sent two players to the rail, and shortly before midnight here in Vegas, Nguyen's ace-king sent eventual runner-up James Carroll to the rail as the Canadian clinched victory.
Official Final Table Results:
|2||James Carroll||United States||$640,916|
|3||Francis Rusnak||United States||$475,212|
|5||Daniel Corbett||United Kingdom||$266,987|
|7||Shyam Srinivasan||United States||$154,463|
|9||Rittie Chuaprasert||United States||$92,061|
Final Day Recap
The day began with 29 players, and David Cabrera Polop was the first casualty; failing to spin up the one ante he returned with. A steady stream of eliminations over the course of the first two levels brought play down to two tables just after the first break of the day, with James Carroll in the lead.
Carroll, along with Chris Chong and Daniel Corbett would tussle for the chip lead as the players headed off on dinner break ten-handed on the unofficial final table.
Once they returned it didn't take long to get down first to a final table and then to a final eight. First Jimmy Chen lost a flip with pocket fours to bust in tenth, and then in the very first hand of the final table Rittie Chuaprasert got his remaining chips blind-on-blind, only to be dominated and bust in ninth.
The final table had a number of major coolers, and Harald Sammer would fall victim to one. He moved in with ace-king only for Shyam Srinivasan to wake up in the big blind with queens. Queens held, and the Austrian would be eliminated.
Michael Benko would scoop a miracle four-card flush to double, despite shaking his opponent's hand and saying "Nice hand," before the river was even dealt, and there was a lull in proceedings until Srinivasan's exit in seventh. Once again, ace-king was involved, and Srinivasan's nines fell to Nguyen's big slick who flopped both an ace and a king.
At this point, it was Chris Chong who held the chip lead, but Nguyen was pushing him close. Benko was next to go at the hands of Carroll, as the latter started to work his way back into contention short-handed. Benko ran ace-ten into Carroll's ace-king and failed to improve.
Daniel Corbett would bust in the very next hand, as three players were eliminated in under half an hour. In the same all-in as earlier with Srinivasan, pocket nines against ace-king, it was a king on the river for Chong that ended Corbett's run in fifth.
Carroll and Nguyen continued to push, and, despite eliminating Corbett, Chong was pushed down the chip counts. Eventually, he fell at the hands of Nguyen with ace-five against, indeed, ace-king, and play was three-handed.
Nguyen was obviously here to play; bluffing eventual third-place finisher Francis Rusnak with eight-high before Rusnak lost a flip to bust in third. He then proceeded to grind down James Carroll, allowing him to double up once, before finishing it with none other than ace-king to end the tournament in style.
"I was actually supposed to graduate this year but I dropped a course in accounting to take poker more seriously," Nguyen said after his victory. Although he has been playing poker for around ten years, he admits he wasn't always a winning player. "I knew I wasn't a winning player but I was stubborn. Just in the last two years, I started winning more. I tried to fix my game and started learning more."
And learning more has subsequently meant he's started winning more, starting with his first ever WSOP gold bracelet.