A Nguyen-Nguyen Situation

Thursday, June 9th, 2005, 11:22 am

I can’t believe Mike Sexton actually said that during last night’s WPT event. Men “The Master” Nguyen went all-in with queens against local dealer Danny Nguyen’s jacks…I guess the joke was just sitting there, it would’ve been a tough laydown to NOT say it. Though I thought it would’ve been Vince who pulled the trigger.

Last night’s event was, in my opinion, the most bizarre show in WPT history. I was doing other stuff while it was on, but I caught enough to know that something strange was going on. For one thing, Danny Nguyen played, oh, 97% of the hands that were televised. For another, Gus Hansen, the poster boy for loose-aggressive play, proved he’s much more than a maniac by playing tighter than a snare drum. At least compared to Nguyen (Danny).

But what made it bizarre were the quantity and quality of the suckouts. And the at-times inexplicable decisions made by Danny Nguyen. First off, that Nguyen-Nguyen situation ended up in Danny’s favor when he spiked a jack on the turn to send Men the Master to the rail muttering darkly to himself. And M the M does look PISSED when he gets sucked out on, let me tell you.

Danny Nguyen (from now on I’ll just call him Nguyen, as he was the only one remaining at the table, Men and Scotty and Mihn and the rest of the veritable army of Nguyens who populate the poker world having been knocked out) then beat Hansen out of a hand where he had just a gutshot draw after the flop, called bets I believe on the flop and turn, hit his straight on the river, and beat a bewildered Gus out of the pot. Another time Nguyen CALLED a not-insubstantial all-in bet with nothing but an inside straight draw. Sexton couldn’t believe it.

Playing that way took its toll, and eventually Nguyen was down to $250K. He was dealt pocket kings, limped for the first time all night, was raised by Gus who held K-10, and went all-in. Hansen called, and when Nguyen showed his cowboys Gus got up and wandered away from the table. The ‘ol limp-reraise, and Hansen looked at the ceiling and said “I knew it, I knew it, I knew it”.

The very next hand Nguyen goes all-in with A-7. Shandor Szentkuki, holding AK, naturally calls. Once again, Nguyen is dominated. And after the flop comes K-x-x, there’s no escape. He has no flush or straight draw. He needs runner-runner sevens to stay alive. They show the percentages, and for the first time in WPT history we see a “1/2%” listed.

Do I need to tell you what happened? Bang, bang, two sevens. From reading the tournament reports I knew what was coming, but it still left you shaking your head. Un-freaking-real. Szentkuki took it like a champ, just shaking his head a bit, unlike me, who would’ve been calling for Mommy.

Hansen did have a chance to knock Nguyen out, but he only had 2nd pair with no kicker and after Nguyen pushed all-in Gus probably figured that he’d get a better chance to dispose of this maniac later on. But it never happened. And Nguyen won the who shebang when he didn’t raise holding an ace and trapped Jay Martens. Jay Martens. Who’s a doctor. Meaning you go could with two obvious nicknames–Dr. J, or Doc Martens. Yet his friends nicknamed him “The Statue”. Which he did a pretty good impression of. So either his friends disdain obvious nicknames, or they’re totally out of the loop culturewise. Eh, who cares?

Just a wild tournament. Hopefully some mathematically inclined soul will crunch the numbers to determine how unlikely it was the Nguyen would win (win, not Nguyen) with all those underdog hands.

And the promos for the WPT hit yet another low, as the voiceover had Paul Darden insulting the coiffure of another player at the table. Terrible. Unacceptable. Who do I write to about this?

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One Response to “A Nguyen-Nguyen Situation”

  1. Marlow Says:

    I must say that I laughed out loud at “Nguyen-Nguyen.” And my wife, who merely tolerates my 2 hour indulgence on Wednesdays, cracked up, too.

    One thing that I thought was pretty amazing about that table is that Danny really got to Gus, who has seemed completely unflappable until last night. I think Gus was totally unnerved. He made some very spotty decisions against Danny. It’s actually heartening to see elite poker genius types lose their shit.

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