$10,000 No Limit Hold'em Championship

Event Info

Buy-in $9,600
Players 696

Level Info

Level 35
Blinds 125,000 / 250,000
Ante 0

Not Much Movement

12:21am -- Nguyen Takes a Chunk Out of Cimpan

With Cornel Andrew Cimpan on the button, it was (of course) a limped pot. On a flop of {2-Hearts} {A-Hearts} {9-Spades}, Binh Nguyen bet 200,000 and was called by Cimpan. As is typical when Nguyen encounters resistance, he checked the {10-Spades} turn. Cimpan bet 450,000 and must have been surprised to see Nguyen check-raise to 1.15 million. He folded after 30 seconds, bringing loud cheers and applause from Nguyen's supporters.

12:14am -- Cimpan Still Grinding

Binh Nguyen raised to 375,000 and Andrew Cimpan called. On a flop of {8-Clubs} {2-Spades} {j-Clubs}, Cimpan check-called a bet of 400,000 from Nguyen. Both players checked when the board paired, {J-Spades}, on the turn. Andrew fired out one million on the {3-Diamonds} river, folding Nguyen.

12:10am -- Play Resumes

Cards are back in the air. The blinds are still 75,000 and 150,000.

11:55pm -- Break Time

It's time to change the tapes again.

Tags: Binh NguyenCornel Andrew Cimpan

Still Going...

Cornel Andrew Cimpan is still at a chip deficit.
Cornel Andrew Cimpan is still at a chip deficit.
11:45pm -- Cimpan Doubles Up

Just when we thought this all-in match might never end, it was on the verge of being over. Binh Nguyen raised to 375,000, then snap-called when Cornel Andrew Cimpan pushed all in.

Nguyen: {A-Hearts} {Q-Clubs}
Cimpan: {Q-Spades} {10-Clubs}

Whoever called Cimpan a bad penny had it right. You just can't get rid of him in this tournament, because even though he was dominated in this hand, he took down the pot on a board of {5-Diamonds} {10-Spades} {Q-Diamonds} {10-Diamonds} {4-Diamonds}.

That pot makes Cimpan slightly less short, with 4.3 million to Nguyen's 9.6 million.

11:42pm -- All In, But No Call

Binh Nguyen raised preflop to 375,000. Andrew Cimpan responded by moving all in. He got no call. After securing the pot, he flashed an unsuited {10-?} {9-?}.

11:35pm -- Queen High Good Enough

As has become customary, Binh Nguyen raised to 375,000 and Cornel Andrew Cimpan called. They checked all the way on a board of {10-Spades} {2-Diamonds} {3-Diamonds} {2-Hearts} {9-Hearts}. At showdown, Nguyen turned over queen high, which was apparently the best hand. He took another small pot.

11:29pm -- Slowly But Surely...?

It's hard to be sure, but it seems like Binh Nguyen is making some progress in widening his chip lead against Cornel Andrew Cimpan. The two players checked a limped pot to a turn of {9-Spades} {8-Hearts} {4-Clubs} {Q-Diamonds}. Cimpan tried a bet of 250,000 there, but folded to a raise to 600,000 from Nguyen.

11:27pm -- Crowd Getting Restless

Someone in the crowd just shouted out a plea for set-over-set. We wonder if even that unlikely occurrence would end this match. For the most part, Binh Nguyen and Cornel Andrew Cimpan are content to play small ball (Cimpan especially). The flow of play is that Nguyen raises his button to 375,000, then slows down after the flop if he encounters any resistance; Cimpan limps his button and keeps the pot small throughout.

A few minutes later, Cimpan asked the crowd, "What are you guys doing here? This is so boring."

11:24pm -- Another Change in Play

Binh Nguyen limped his button, and Cornel Andrew Cimpan raised the big blind to 400,000 for the first time during heads-up play. What could that mean?

We have no idea. On a flop of {2-Clubs} {6-Spades} {9-Diamonds}, Cimpan checked and folded to a bet of 600,000 from Nguyen.

Tags: Binh NguyenCornel Andrew Cimpan

Nguyen Takes Three-to-One Lead

Binh Nguyen
Binh Nguyen
11:12pm -- That's a New One

The heads-up play had settled into a predictable rhythm that was just jolted by Cornel Andrew Cimpan. He called Binh Nguyen's preflop raise to 375,000. Both players checked the {Q-Spades} {3-Clubs} {6-Hearts} flop. The turn {J-?} is where things started to get mixed up. Cimpan checked to Nguyen, who bet 400,000. Cimpan went for the first check-raise we've seen in a long while, check-raising to one million. Nguyen called.

On the river {8-Spades} both players quickly checked. Nguyen showed down {K-Diamonds} {Q-Diamonds} for top pair; it was enough to drag the massive pot. He's up to 10 million now, with Cimpan down to 3.7 million.

11:05pm -- Another Curious Line

We've seen some unusual betting lines from Binh Nguyen in this heads-up match. Consider the following: he opened for 375,000 preflop and was called by Andrew Cimpan. On a flop of {6-Diamonds} {3-Clubs} {J-Spades}, Cimpan check-called another 400,000. Both players checked the {Q-Hearts} turn and the {A-Hearts} river. Nguyen turned over {Q-Diamonds} {9-Diamonds} for a pair of queens and the winner.

10:53pm -- Round and Round They Go

Heads-up poker play is often a graceful pas de deux, with the players continually shifting up their lines as they attempt to exploit each other's perceived weaknesses. Cornel Andrew Cimpan is limping most of his buttons; Binh Nguyen is raising most of his. Cimpan limped again in a recent hand, with Nguyen checking his option from the big blind. Nguyen led out for 175,000 on a flop of {6-Diamonds} {6-Spades} {K-Clubs} and was called by Cimpan. When the turn fell {7-Diamonds}, Nguyen checked and snap-folded to a bet of 275,000 from Cimpan.

10:49pm -- Nguyen Fighting Back

If the first half-hour of heads-up play belonged to Cornel Andrew Cimpan, the second half-hour has belonged to Binh Nguyen. Nguyen is taking pot after pot from Cimpan. He recently raised to 310,000 and was called by Cimpan. The flop came {3-Spades} {A-Hearts} {5-Spades}, with Cimpan check-folding to a bet of 300,000 from Cimpan.

Tags: Binh NguyenCornel Andrew Cimpan


Nguyen Back on Top

Coming out of a recent extended break, the chip counts showed that Binh Nguyen was barely ahead of Cornel Andrew Cimpan in the counts thanks to a few small pots that Nguyen picked up right before the break.

On the first hand after the break, the two players took a limped flop of {8-Diamonds} {4-Diamonds} {6-Clubs}. Cimpan called a bet of 175,000 on that flop, and then called a second bet of 350,000 when the turn fell {4-Spades}. The river was the {3-Clubs} and Nguyen didn't slow down. He bet 600,000, putting Cimpan into the tank for about a minute before calling. And what did Nguyen show down? Just {A-Spades} {A-Diamonds} -- a pocket pair of aces! It was a 1.2 million chip swing for each player.

Tags: Binh NguyenCornel Andrew Cimpan

Cimpan Crushing Nguyen

10:13pm -- Can Nguyen Stop Cimpan?

Binh Nguyen raised to 310,000 and again Andrew Cimpan called. The action checked all the way down on a board of {3-Clubs} {9-Hearts} {3-Spades} {6-Hearts} {J-Hearts}. At showdown, Cimpan produced {6-Clubs} {5-Clubs} for two pair, sixes and threes. That was another winner.

10:10pm -- Yet Another Pot to Cimpan

It was a limped pot between Andrew Cimpan and Binh Nguyen. Both players checked a king-high flop, {K-Hearts} {8-Clubs} {Q-Spades}. When the turn fell {10-Spades}, Nguyen tried a bet of 175,000 but couldn't shake Cimpan. They went to the river {3-Clubs}, where Cimpan bet 300,000. Nguyen asked if he had a queen again before calling.

At first the audience couldn't see the hand, and TD Matt Savage didn't announce it. An audience member called out, "Mr. Announcer, what was the hand?" Savage, who had been busy with something else, replied, "I didn't see it." That prompted Cimpan to turn around and say, "I had a king, I had an ace with it, I had the nut straight draw and the nut flush draw." His pair of kings was enough to drag the pot anyway.

9:59pm -- Scorecard

It seems that all of the big pots are going to Andrew Cimpan and the little ones are going to Binh Nguyen. That is not a trend that bodes well for Nguyen. In another raised pot, Cimpan checked to Nguyen and then called a bet of 400,000 on a flop of {2-Spades} {8-Diamonds} {7-Hearts}. The action checked all the way down from there, through the {7-Diamonds} turn and {5-Clubs} river. Nguyen turned over {8-?} {6-?} for two pair, eights and sevens, but Cimpan came up with {J-?} {8-?} for the same two pair with a better kicker.

9:54pm -- Another 700K for the Bad Penny

Maybe Andrew Cimpan's supporters are right -- maybe he really is the bad penny that you can't get rid of because it keeps coming back. He called another 300,000 preflop raise from Binh Nguyen and then checked a flop of {Q-Spades} {K-Spades} {9-Diamonds}. Nguyen bet 400,000, then quickly folded to a check-raise from Cimpan of 1.5 million.

With that pot, Cimpan has taken a slight chip lead.

9:51pm -- "Bad Penny" Making Progress

Andrew Cimpan has relieved 700,000 chips from Binh Nguyen. He called Nguyen's 300,000-chip preflop raise to a flop of {Q-Clubs} {5-Hearts} {8-Diamonds} which both players checked. Cimpan checked again on the {10-Spades} turn, but was not driven out of the pot by Nguyen's bet of 400,000. He called, then bet 1.5 million when the river fell {9-Diamonds}. Nguyen quickly folded.

9:46pm -- First Pot to Nguyen

With both players playing fairly deep, heads-up play has started (predictably) with a cautious hand. Andrew Cimpan completed the small blind and Binh Nguyen checked. Both checked a flop of {3-Clubs} {K-Hearts} {J-Diamonds}, but Nguyen took down the pot with a bet of 200,000 on the {8-Clubs} turn.

Tags: Binh NguyenCornel Andrew Cimpan

Play Resumes

We've been on break since the elimination of Mike Sowers, but cards are finally back in the air. Blinds remain 60,000 and 120,000.

Sowers Down, Then Out

Mike Sowers - 3rd Place
Mike Sowers - 3rd Place
9:14pm -- Mike Sowers Eliminated in 3rd Place ($654,797)

Talk about a stunning reversal of fortune for Mike Sowers! A few minutes ago he was flirting with the chip lead. Now he's out. He opened the pot with a raise to 300,000. Binh Nguyen reraised to a million straight, prompting Sowers to quickly jam all in. Nguyen called even faster, showing {Q-Diamonds} {Q-Hearts}. It was bad luck for Sowers, who mustered up a pair of fours, {4-Spades} {4-Hearts}. A board of {9-Hearts} {J-Clubs} {8-Hearts} {J-Spades} {K-Clubs} improved neither player and sent a stunned Sowers to the rail in third place. But $654,797 in prize money will, no doubt, cushion the blow.

We'll have a slight pause now in order to prepare for heads-up play. The chip counts are:

Binh Nguyen - 8.45 million
Cornel Andrew Cimpan - 5.47 million

9:07pm -- Cimpan Doubles through Sowers

At this stage of the tournament, the swings are huge. Binh Nguyen was first to act and opened the pot for 300,000. Andrew Cimpan moved all in behind him; Mike Sowers moved all in behind Cimpan. Nguyen quickly folded, allowing Cimpan and Sowers to open their hands. It was a race, with Sowers' {5-Diamonds} {5-Spades} slightly ahead of Cimpan's {A-Spades} {Q-Hearts}.

Cimpan paired aces on a flop of {A-Clubs} {2-Diamonds} {4-Diamonds} but had to duck any three, any five, and a few runner-runner combinations. The {k-Clubs} on the turn took care of the running combinations; the {2-Hearts} took care of the rest. It was a pot worth more than four million for Cimpan; Sowers is now the short stack.

Tags: Binh NguyenCornel Andrew CimpanMike Sowers

Sowers Running Good; Karagulleyan Eliminated

Chris Karagulleyan - 4th Place
Chris Karagulleyan - 4th Place
8:59pm -- Chris Karagulleyan Eliminated in 4th Place ($430,963)

After losing 820,000 chips to Mike Sowers, Andrew Cimpan was out of options. He open-shoved and was called by former WPT winner Chris Karagulleyan. Karagulleyan was actually the shorter stack and at risk of elimination.

Karagulleyan: {A-Hearts} {9-Spades}
Cimpan: {Q-Clubs} {8-Clubs}

Karagulleyan was in the lead preflop and after a flop of {10-Clubs} {Q-Hearts} {A-Diamonds}. The turn, however, was a second queen, the {Q-Spades}, giving Cimpan trip queens to the dismay of the heavily partisan crowd. Karagulleyan couldn't complete the re-suckout with a river card of {7-Spades}. He was eliminated in fourth place, earning a healthy $430,963.

"Here comes the bad penny!" shouted one of Cimpan's supporters.

8:55pm -- Another Pot to Sowers

Mike Sowers is running good. He raised to 320,000 preflop and was called by big blind Andrew Cimpan. They checked all the way to the river, where Sowers bet 500,000 on aboard of {5-Spades} {9-Clubs} {5-Hearts} {5-Diamonds} {J-Diamonds}. Cimpan quickly called, but was forced to muck his hand to Sowers' full house, fives full of jacks, made with {Q-Clubs} {J-Clubs}.

Tags: Chris KaragulleyanCornel Andrew CimpanMike Sowers