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[Watch] Thi Xoa Nguyen Folds Full House in Hand of the Year Contender

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em and poker pro Thi Xoa Nguyen proved beyond a doubt last week that she knows when to fold ’em.

Nguyen was playing the $25,000 buy-in PokerStars NL Hold’em Players Championship in the Bahamas and made a deep run in the contest that saw her eventually finish 153rd for $25,450.

It was a hand she played on Day 2 of the tournament, however, that had poker fans buzzing.

The Vietnamese-born player found herself on the river of a board that contained both flush and straight possibilities. Her opponent check-raised the river and Nguyen folded almost immediately.

Her hand? No less than a full house.

Incredibly, it was the correct play. The hand is already making the rounds as one of the greatest folds in the history of televised poker and is a front-runner for the hand of the year in 2019.

We break the amazing hand down in more detail below.

The SetUp

The hand in question took place during Day 2 of the inaugural $25,000 buy-in PSPC at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.

The tournament is a special one as PokerStars gave away 320 seats into the event, meaning there were more casual or recreational players than you might normally find in a $25,000 buy-in event.

Thi Xoa Nguyen and her opponent Athanasios Polychronopoulos are not amateurs, however. Polychronopoulos has two WSOP bracelets and over $2 million in live tournament earnings.

Meanwhile, Nguyen, who was born in Vietnam but now resides in France, has just over $300,000 in earnings.

Nguyen looks to start the hand with about 260,000 chips while Polychronopoulos has significantly more than that.

There are roughly 220 players left in the tournament. The money is set to begin with 181 players remaining, so tension is starting to rise.

The Action

Thi Xoa Nguyen opens for 12,000 from the dealer button and Polychronopoulos pops it up to 37,000 from the big blind.

Nguyen calls and that brings a flop of Ks-Qd-9s. Both players check and the queen of hearts peels off the turn.

Polychronopoulos checks once again but Nguyen fires 17,000 into the pot and the Greek-American calls. The board finishes with the ace of spades on the river.

Polychronopoulos checks for a third straight time but Nguyen counts out a bet of 50,000 and slides it into the middle. Polychronopoulos thinks for a beat but then moves all-in having her remaining 150,000 covered.

Nguyen thinks intently for about 30 seconds but then shakes her head and folds ace-queen face up, meaning she had a full house with queens full of aces.

An incredulous Polychronopoulos shows some mercy and flips over pocket aces for a full house with aces full of queens to give Nguyen some consolation that she made the right decision.

Meanwhile, the rest of the table and even the commentators seem to be at a loss for words at the incredible fold.


This is simply an incredible fold from Nguyen.

There’s definitely a strong argument to be made that you should never, ever fold a hand that strong in that situation but, credit to Nguyen, she seemed to have a strong read on what her opponent held from nearly the start of the hand.

It’s also worth noting there was only one card in the entire deck that was going to save Polychronopoulos on the river — the fateful ace of spades.

Nguyen would later tell PokerNews that it was Polychronopoulos’ check on the flop that raised her suspicions that he had aces. She couldn’t see him doing that with any other hand.

On the other hand, if you’re new to poker, don’t ever attempt to make this laydown. You will be folding the best hand a high percentage of the time.

There are even a number of game theory-based poker professionals who would never fold in this spot. Regardless, you’ve got to give credit to Nguyen for an inspired read on her opponent.