Men shows why he’s the master at Circuit Event
The last time Men ‘The Master’ Nguyen made a World Series of Poker Circuit Event appearance at Caesars Indiana in 2005, he placed second to Vinny Vinh.
Nguyen upped the ante on Friday, capping a three-day, $5,000 buy-in, 154-player, Texas Hold’em event with a victory for a payday worth $125,000.
First place was to have paid $238,756, however when the tournament got down to only Nguyen, Young Phan and Bryan Sapp, a deal was made between the trio to lock up $182,000 for Phan, who had a sizable chip lead and $113,000 for Sapp.
From there, it was agreed that the first place winner would get an additional $10,000, second received $7,719 and Sapp receiving third-place money whatever his finish.
The final table started with Phan toting 502,000 in chips, Dennis Anness of Indianapolis with 385k, two-time WSOP bracelet winner Scott Fischman with 207k and Tim McCarthy of Munster with 178,500. Others included Dean Schultz (25k), Steve Boyle (93.5k), George Lusby (40.5k) and Sapp (71k).
Nguyen had the second shortest stack to start the day, but quickly pulled in the blinds and antes on the first hand.
Offering up his familiar ‘All you can eat, baby,’ for an all-in bet, Nguyen pushed everyone off their hand, then showed a pair of pocket queens.
On the very next hand, Fischman ran into Phan, who had knocked out seven players by himself on Day Two.
Phan had J-10 unsuited and Scott Fischman held Kd-10d. The flop came Qd-Jd-Jh to give Phan trips, and Fischman a straight draw and a possible royal flush.
Fischman bet 12,000, Phan raised to 46,000, Fischman raised it another 76,000, and Phan put him in for the rest of his 200,000.
Fischman missed his open-ended draw, went out in second place, and Phan raised his chip count to more than 700,000 chips.
Fischman earned $14,738.
Two hands later, Schultz went out at the hands of Anness’ quad 6s to earn a check for $22,027, and nine hands after that, Lusby, a firefighter from Munster, was eliminated in seventh place, which was worth $29,476.
From there, the action slowed considerably, with the remaining six players treading carefully against one another.
Nguyen picked up several small pots with aggressive betting, but it was a double-up he earned against Anness that may have propelled him to the win.
Nguyen pushed with A-Q and Anness called with K-K. The board showed 7s-Ad-4s-4c, then an Ac came on the river to put an exclamation point on the Master’s hand.
Boyle busted out next as his pocket 9s, and eventual nine-high flush were trumped by McCarthy’s ace of diamonds.
Boyle, of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, received a check for $36,845 for sixth place.
It wasn’t long after his loss to Nguyen that Anness lost more chips both Phan (giving up pocket kings after an ace came on the flop) and Nguyen (losing a king-high flush on the river to Nguyen’s ace-high flush, which came on the turn).
Anness lost 50k more chips to Phan on an unsuccessful bluff just before the dinner break.
By then, Phan still led with 664k, followed by Nguyen (349k), Sapp (286k), Anness (163k) and McCarthy (84k).
After play resumed with 4,000/8,000 blinds and 1,000 antes, Anness got some of his chips back on a heads-up battle with Nguyen in which the Master folded.
The 90-minute round ended with Phan’s lead over second-place Nguyen down to 222k, with Anness as the short-stack at 105k.
The second of back-to-back all-ins was called by Sapp, with Anness’ big slick (AK) versus Sapp’s pocket queens.
The board came A-Q-9-10, leaving just four outs for a straight. A river ace gave Sapp a full house, and Anness was eliminated in fifth place, which was worth $44,124.
The next to be railed was McCarthy, who went all in with As-6c on a flop of Qs-Js-7s. Phan flipped over pocket 5s (including one spade), the turn and river cards were both bricks, and McCarthy, who cashed in for $58,952.
The big win gave Phan more than 800,000 chips, with Nguyen in second with 398k and Sapp third with 338k.
Sapp wound up being eliminated when his J-5 was bested by Phan’s K-8 on a board of A-J-A-K-K.
When the event was down to heads-up, Phan had more than 1 million in chips to Nguyen’s 500k.
The Master went to work, winning a huge pot when his 4-3 was filled up against Phan’s pocket jacks.
Later, Nguyen made three 10s to win another pot.
The final nail in Phan’s coffin came when Phan was all-in pre-flop while holding A-10.
Nguyen’s pocket 6s held up, giving one of the most accomplished players in the world the Circuit Event ring, cash and a $10,000 seat into the WSOP Main Event in July in Las Vegas.
Nguyen has more than 75 tournament wins and over $7.5 million in earnings under his belt in a career dating back to the 1980s.
He holds six WSOP bracelets, including titles in hold’em, Razz, Omaha Hi-Low and Triple Draw.
Nguyen, who hails from Bell Gardens, California, was named Player of the Year by Card Player Magazine four times.
— Lewis Soloe of Corydon won a daily No Limit Hold’em Tournament last week during the WSOP Circuit Event.
He beat a field of 231 players, landing a check for $12,548.
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