Tam Nguyen Takes First Place for $76,500 After ICM Chop In Big Stax XXXI 500

Tam Nguyen

The Big Stax XXXI 500 has come to its conclusion after 927 runners came to try and take their shot at the title. After five days of action, it was Tam Nguyen who walked away a winner, taking home $76,500 along with the Big Stax XXXI 500 trophy after an ICM-chop.

"Usually I min-cash, so I'm very excited to get the win, it has been a long time coming."

"It's very hard to make a deep run in a tournament," Nguyen stated after his win. "Usually I min-cash so I'm very excited to get the win, it has been a long time coming."

The first-place finish marks the first for Nguyen and is also his largest live tournament cash to date. His second-largest came back in 2010 for $41,967 when he finished 307th in the WSOP Main Event. With the win, Nguyen now has career earnings of $131,766.

Big Stax XXXI 500 Final Table Results

PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Tam NguyenLancaster, Pennsylvania$76,500*
2Jeffrey GrossWall Township, New Jersey$65,770*
3Michael MarderSewell, New Jersey$35,931
4Vineet PahujaJersey City, New Jersey$26,331
5Mitchell BrownBayonne, New Jersey$19,683
6Russell RothsteinRidgewood, New Jersye$14,795
7Michael LinsterIsland Park, New York$11,360
8Mike KemeterNew Tripoli, Pennsylvania$8,718
9Rafal KordysNew Hyde Park, NewYork$6,913

*reflects a heads-up deal

Big Stax XXXI 500 Final Day Recap

The final day started with Joe Palma getting pocket kings in back-to-back hands and doubling through Travis Decker right away. Decker would be the first to go as he eventually got it in holding a suited king-eight against Mike Kemeter's ace-jack. Decker was looking good to find a double until the dealer dropped an ace on the river to send him out the door.

After Decker's elimination, a slew of double-ups occurred without a body dropping until the end of level 27 when both Palma and John Alesi hit the rail in back-to-back hands.

The start of a new level was the same as the first, as another slew of double-ups happened with only one elimination up until the end with the exits of Josias Dossantos, Travis Hartshorn, and Friman Villalona.

After players returned from break, Michael Marder continued the final day trend doubling up in the very first hands dealt. A few hands after Marder's double-up, Steven Mccullough was eliminated, and the unofficial final table was set.

Big Stax XXXI 500 Final Table Action

It didn't take long for the first elimination of the final table to happen as Kevin Lutz called Michael Linster's all-in bet holding fewer chips with a worse hand. Linster showed pocket kings and flopped a set sending Lutz and his suited ace-queen out the door in tenth place.

Play stopped halfway through level 29 as players went on a 75-minute dinner break. Once action resumed, chips shuffled around the table for most of the level, with one exception: the elimination of Rafal Kordys. It happened in the last hand of the level as Kordys ran ace-queen into the aces of Jeffrey Gross to exit in ninth place.

Almost another 90-minute level was played through before the next body dropped as Kemeter ran his ace-nine into Tam Nguyen's suited ace-queen. He left the final table in eighth place.

Linster was the next to fall. A few hands after losing to a set of fours holding pocket kings, he was all in preflop holding ace-jack off against Marder's made hand of tens. Linster couldn't find a connection and took an exit in seventh place.

The same level would see another player leave the final table as Russell Rothstein got his remaining 975,000 chips in the middle holding a suited ace-ten and was called by Nguyen holding an inferior ace-nine off. Even though Nguyen was behind, it didn't take long for him to get ahead as he paired his nine on the flop and ended Rothstein's quest for glory in sixth place.

Mitchell Brown would follow suit later on in level 31, just a few hands after losing the majority of his stack holding a jack-high flush against a boat by Gross. Gross would be the one to finish the job as well as he rivered a straight to eliminate Brown in fifth place for $19,683.

Gross would continue his dominance at the final table with the elimination of Vinny Pahuja. Marder opened for 400,000, and Pahuja jammed on the button with ace-ten off and was called by Gross holding a suited king-queen. Gross ended up spiking the flop, but Pahuja turned straight- and flush outs. In the end, Pahuja didn't hit, and he went out in fourth place for $26,331.

Once the final three players were set, fireworks blasted off as each player was all-in preflop holding premium hands. Nguyen opened with pocket aces and Michael Marder three-bet with ace-king suited. Gross woke up with pocket kings in the big blind, and all the chips went into the middle after that point. Nguyen was ahead but had a sweat after Marder turned the nut-flush draw but blanked the river to send him home in third place for $35,931.

From there, the heads-up match would only last an orbit or two before Nguyen and Gross came to an ICM chop based off chip value. Nguyen took first place for $76,500 as he held 26,080,000 chips while Gross took home $65,700 holding 11,000,000 in chips.

Jeffrey Gross & Tam Nguyen
Jeffrey (not Jeff) Gross and Tam Nguyen heads-up

A Look at the Parx Big Stax XXXI Remaining Schedule

DayDateTimeBuy-In & FeeEvent
Tue10/8/197:00 PM$150+25+100Super Satellite to Big Stax 1100 w/Black Chip Bounty
Wed10/9/1910:00 AM$300+40NL Hold’em : Seniors (50+) Event
Thu10/10/1911:00 AM$130+20Super Satellite to Big Stax 1100
Thu10/10/197:00 PM$200+30+50Super Satellite to Big Stax 1100 w/Double Green Chip Bounty
Fri10/11/1911:00 AM$1,100+100Big Stax 1100 : Day 1a (8-handed)
Sat10/12/1911:00 AM$1,100+100Big Stax 1100 : Day 1b (8-handed)
Sun10/13/1911:00 AM$1,100+100Big Stax 1100 : Day 2 (8-handed)
Sun10/13/191:00 PM$200+25NL Hold’em : Progressive Bounty
Mon10/14/1912:00 PM$1,100+100Big Stax 1100 : Final Day (8-handed)
Mon10/14/195:00 PM$300+40NL Hold’em : Survivor ($3,000 winners)
Tue10/15/195:00 PM$300+40Pot Limit Omaha/NL Hold’em Mix
Thu10/17/197:15 PM$100+20Thursday Night Survivor NL Hold’em ($1,000 winners)

This wraps it up for PokerNews coverage of the Big Stax XXI 500. But keep it here as the live reporting team will be on hand bringing you all the updates from the Big Stax 1,100 series starting Friday, October 11th.

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  • Tam Nguyen topped a field of 927 to win the Big Stax XXXI 500 for $76,500 after a heads-up chop.

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