[RR] “Wow! That was one of the best November Nines ever!” Roderick the Rock effused.
[LL] “The very best”, Leroy the Lion extended. “Qui Nguyen kept things exciting, and he certainly deserved his victory.”
[SS] “And the pace of play was excellent”, Stan the Stat added. “Actually once the controversial William Kassouf,1 the human rain delay, busted in 17th place, the action moved along nicely.”
[RR] “Kassouf will live on forever in ESPN reruns, but I hope he never goes deep in any televised tournament again.”
[LL] “Agreed. After a while, I just hit the fast forward button every time he started talking.”
[SS] “Interestingly, this was the first November Nine where the ninth, eighth, and seventh place players going in busted out in order. Belgian Kenny Hallaert ended the run by exiting in sixth from his original fourth place. Although the table started with only five Americans, when Vojtech Rozicka left in fifth place, the remaining four were all Americans. At that point Michael Ruane was short-stacked, and his strategy of waiting for someone else to bust out so he could move up one place failed. The initial chip leader Cliff Josephy was then undone by losing a massive pot with a set of Twos to Gordon Vayo’s set of Threes, which vaulted Vayo into the chip lead.
After Josephy exited a few hands later, Nguyen simply dominated the heads-up action even though it lasted a November Nine-record 182 hands. Nguyen was the aggressor on almost every hand, picking up almost every small and medium pot. Vayo’s lead disappeared quickly, but he won a couple of big pots to get it back twice. Ultimately though, his wins became too small to stop the bleeding. He survived one all-in by backdooring a flush, but on the final hand his suited connectors were taken down by Nguyen’s dominating cards.”
[RR] “Nguyen was the most aggressive player at the table, and he pulled off more than a few good bluffs, which was great poker.”
[SS] “Surprisingly, he became the first player to win after starting second in chips”, Stan the Stat noted. “After nine November Nines the only positions that haven’t won are sixth and ninth:
|1st||Jonathan Duhamel (2010), Joe McKeehen (2015)|
|2nd||Qui Nguyen (2016)|
|3rd||Greg Merson (2012)|
|4th||Peter Eastgate (2008)|
|5th||Joe Cada (2009), Ryan Riess (2013)|
|7th||Pius Heinz (2011)|
|8th||Martin Jacobson (2014)|
Amazingly, Nguyen was also the first winner of the November Nine era who wasn’t 20-something years old. At 39, he’s the same age as Greg Raymer, Joe Hachem, and Jerry Yang, who won in 2004, 2005, and 2007. Robert Varkonyi remains the last 40-year-old to win (2002).
And of course, he became the second Nguyen to win the Main Event after Scotty Nguyen in 1998.”
- Kassouf incessantly engaged his opponents in table talk, even when they refused to respond to him in any way. ESPN highlighted him as the hated villain in its broadcasts as he earned a one-round penalty and numerous warnings for his antics. His departure earned loud cheers from both the rail and the players at his table.