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A Statistical Look at the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table

Qui Nguyen Comes Out On Top Of 364-Hand Finale


If you saw any of the ESPN televised broadcast of the 2016 World Series of Poker main event final table, you undoubtedly heard the commentators simultaneously critique and yet praise Qui Nguyen’s unorthodox strategy. His ability to pull the trigger on a huge bluff at any time kept his opponents off balance and made it extremely frustrating to play back at him.

But how exactly did Nguyen end up as the last man standing? We poured through each and every hand dealt at the final table, 364 in all, to bring you a detailed look at the numbers for each of the members of the November Nine. Who played too passively? Who played too aggressively? Take a look at how each player navigated the final table below.

Ninth Place – Fernando Pons

Pons entered the final table with a tough challenge ahead of him, sitting with just 12 big blinds. When you are that short stacked, you really don’t have a lot of options. Hoping for a good opportunity to ladder up, or perhaps just card dead, it took Pons a full orbit before he played his first pot, moving all-in and winning the blinds and antes. Pons was eliminated just 16 hands into play, but at least he can hold his head up high and say that he won a pot at the WSOP main event final table.

Eighth Place – Jerry Wong

Like Pons, Wong also came in needing chips, although he had a bit more time with 20 big blinds to start. It took him until hand no. 25 before he won his first pot and up until that point, he had only entered once. After locking up at least eighth-place money, Wong opened up his game and even won four of 13 hands during one stretch to put himself back in contention. Unfortunately for him, his luck ran out on hand no. 60.

Seventh Place – Griffin Benger

Benger came into the final table in seventh place, so on the surface, his seventh-place finish might not seem like that big of a disappointment. But given the fact that Benger was one of the more talented players at the table, he would probably disagree. Benger’s numbers are by far the most passive at the table, having played only 12 percent of the 68 hands he was dealt. To make matters worse, he didn’t win his first pot until hand no. 59 and it was the only pot he dragged the entire night.

Sixth Place – Kenny Hallaert

Hallaert’s final table will forever be defined by his elimination hand, and that’s a shame because he had been playing so well up to that point. While many at the table were hesitant to make moves early, Hallaert contested seven of the first 22 hands, winning five of them. Even after a brief rough stretch where he was played back at, he still kept up the aggression, playing 31 percent of his hands and putting in a preflop raise 20 percent of the time. Ultimately, it was his aggression that cost him his tournament life, however.

Fifth Place – Vojtech Ruzicka

Another player who wasn’t afraid to splash around early on was Ruzicka, who really dominated eight- and seven-handed play. During that 52-hand stretch, he played 16 pots and won 14 of them. Ruzicka was also a fan of three-betting and four-betting, going for it seven times out of the 31 hands he challenged.

Fourth Place – Michael Ruane

Although not as inactive as Benger, Ruane was extremely selective about the pots he entered. He was dealt 155 hands and only put chips in the pot a modest 21 percent of the time. The biggest difference between Benger and Ruane, however, was that Ruane won most of the pots he played. His cards certainly helped, seeing as he had the best showdown ratio of the final tablists, turning over the best hand seven times. Only once did he have to showdown the worst of it.

Third Place – Cliff Josephy

Coming in as the consensus favorite, Josephy was met with a rude awakening on the first hand of play in the form of a Nguyen four-bet. It didn’t seem to faze him, however as he continued to keep his foot on the gas. In the first orbit alone, Josephy entered five pots, winning four. Josephy’s VPIP (Voluntary Put Chips In Pot) was 35 percent, second only to Nguyen. His PFR (Preflop Raise) was 25 percent, the highest at the table. Had he not been coolered by Vayo to lose most of his stack, Josephy would have been in great position to win the tournament.

Second Place – Gordon Vayo

They say slow and steady wins the race, but in this case, slow and steady yielded a runner-up finish for Vayo. He won his first pot on hand no. 26 and only played one pot prior to that point. Vayo drastically upped his aggression level once three-handed play began, but he still managed to post a relatively small 29 percent VPIP and only a 13 percent PFR. It was the perfect approach for Vayo, who picked his spots well while taking a low-variance approach to the final table. Despite the fact that only he won 28 pots compared to Nguyen’s 50, he still entered heads-up play with the chip lead. Vayo never managed to find another gear during heads-up play, however, and he was eventually picked apart.

First Place – Qui Nguyen

The wildcard of the final table posted a whopping 37 percent VPIP before heads-up play began and raised a very high 23 percent of his hands played. Interestingly, Nguyen managed to lose more showdowns than he won, but he picked up so many of the uncontested pots that he was able to maintain a chip lead for most of the final table. He especially shined during heads-up play, winning almost twice as many hands as his opponent with 114 to 68. Part of that might have been the 24 walks Vayo gave him. While Vayo raised 29 percent of the time heads-up, Nguyen was way more aggressive, raising 46 percent of the time.

Player Hands Dealt VPIP PFR Pots Won Showdowns Won
9 to 2
Qui Nguyen 182 37% 23% 50 6
Gordon Vayo 182 29% 13% 28 7
Cliff Josephy 182 35% 25% 41 8
Michael Ruane 155 21% 13% 20 7
Vojtech Ruzicka 105 30% 17% 21 3
Kenny Hallaert 97 31% 20% 16 2
Griffin Benger 68 12% 6% 1 1
Jerry Wong 60 15% 7% 4 1
Fernando Pons 16 13% 13% 1 0
Heads-Up Play
Qui Nguyen 182 68% 46% 114 9
Gordon Vayo 182 63% 29% 68 15

For more coverage from the summer series, visit the 2016 WSOP landing page complete with full results, news, player interviews and event recaps.