$10,000 No Limit Hold'em Championship

We're Well Past the "Witching Hour" Now

2:23am -- 300!

No, not a reference to a historical battle; just a reference to the number of hands that have been played so far at this final table.

2:21am -- Back to Normal

Binh Nguyen feels he has enough chips now to make standard raises to 575,000 once again. Cornel Andrew Cimpan is following suit. He raised preflop to 625,000 but couldn't entice a call from Nguyen. Cimpan showed {A-Spades} {A-Diamonds}.

"Two aces he showed," announced TD Matt Savage. "Those are no good for sure."

2:17am -- Don't Look Now

Binh Nguyen is up to about four million in chips.

The hand after TD Matt Savage announced that, Cornel Andrew Cimpan raised preflop to 10 million, drawing peals of laughter from the crowd. We're not even sure Cimpan had that many chips to raise, but it didn't matter. Nguyen folded.

2:12am -- Nguyen Chipping Up

A series of preflop all-in raises from Binh Nguyen have gone uncalled by Cornel Andrew Cimpan. He's managed to chip back up to about three million as a result. That's not much at blinds of 125,000 and 250,000, but it does give him a little bit of breathing room.

2:05am -- Nguyen Not Out Yet

The very next hand, a dejected Binh Nguyen moved all in. Cornel Andrew Cimpan called quickly. Nguyen opened {J-Hearts} {9-Hearts}, a hand in the lead over Cimpan's {6-Clubs} {2-Hearts}. Six-deuce, you ask? Well, sure, it's no four-deuce. Yet Nguyen was incredibly short and Cimpan can do no wrong. Why not take a shot? Nguyen paired his nine on a flop of {4-Diamonds} {4-Hearts} {9-Spades}, but the {5-Diamonds} was yet another sweat card as it gave Cimpan an improbable gut-shot straight draw. This time, Cimpan didn't hit. The river blanked {10-Diamonds} to give Nguyen a small double-up.

2:00am -- Just Another Double-Up for Cimpan

The action happened so fast, it took the crowd a second to realize what was going on. Binh Nguyen opened with a raise to 575,000. Cornel Andrew Cimpan moved all in and Nguyen snap-called. Cimpan was the player at risk of elimination, and he had the worse hand. He showed {A-Hearts} {4-Hearts} against Nguyen's {10-?} {10-?}. With the stage properly set, the dealer burned and turned a flop:

{4-Diamonds} {8-Spades} {6-Hearts}

Nothing has come easy for Nguyen in heads-up play. The flop gave Cimpan some help, as it made him a pair of fours. That wasn't enough to overcome the pair of tens held by Nguyen, however. On to the turn we went. It was the perfect sweat card, the {8-Hearts}. That built tension in the room to a fever pitch. Cimpan, the "Bad Penny," needed a four, an ace, or a heart to stave off elimination (again!). There was a collective sucking of breath as the dealer revealed the river...


Pandemonium erupted in the upstairs ballroom again! This time it was punctuated by disbelieving laughter from almost everyone except Binh Nguyen. He was crippled by this loss. At this point, he must think that God hates him.