Wow. This might be the greatest poker bluff ever played. It's definitely the gutsiest.
The biggest poker prize on the planet was on offer. And the bluffed worked. Even if you don't understand poker, you'll love this.
This is about psychology, not cards. Here's what happened.
In a nutshell, a dude with absolutely nothin' threw every one of his chips into a $162 million chip pot, and scared off the guy who had the better hand. It was part genius, part lunacy, and a whole lot of how-the-hell-did-that-just-happen.
The bluffer was the guy on the left, 39-year-old Vietnamese American Qui Nguyen. The bluffee, if you will, was San Fancisco-based poker pro Gordon Vayo.
The 2016 World Series of Poker was down to just these two players. The WSOP is a tournament held annually in Las Vegas which around 7,000 players enter. Each player buys in for $10,000 in real cash. For this they receive 50,000 chips.
The winner is the person who accumulates all the chips of every other player. He or she gets $8 million. The runner-up prize is just over half that. Aussie Joe Hachem won in 2005. Will it shock you to learn he's Shane Warne's mate?
So then. Like we say, the 2016 tournament was down to two. They call this "heads-up" poker and it's different to regular poker when there are up to nine players at a table. With multi-player tables, you must bluff selectively, because it's very likely someone will have a good hand.
With just two players, it's easier to pretend. And that's what Nguyen did, as he scared off Vayo with a pair of fives up against a pair of nines. Here's the full video of the fateful hand.
Vayo should have seen right through it, but Nguyen had been so consistently aggressive, Vayo was visibly spooked.
Heads-up poker is a psychological battle, and Vayo blinked first. The history books will show that this nine-hour epic was the longest heads-up battle in WSOP history, but it will be remembered for the brilliant, gutsy play of Qui Nguyen, summed up best a contributor on this Reddit thread who said "that man don't give the slightest of f***s".
Meanwhile Vayo, to use the old Aussie cricket phase, "mentally disintegrated". The look on his face at the end said it all.
And Nguyen? Well as you'd expect, he was rather ecstatic at bluffing his way to glory with absolutely nothing to back him up. Here's hoping a certain U.S. politician does not replicate his run in coming days.