Random Pick
Beginners' Guide
Security Issues
Play for Fun
Bingo Arena
Video Poker
Ask the Pro
Daily News
Free Newsletters
Hall of Fame
Free E-mail
Travel & Leisure
Sports Betting
jamaica bay casino
Camelot Casino
Gold Club Casino
Magic Casino
Men's Vegas
California Casino
Victor Chandler Casino
Women's Vegas
AceKingClub Casino
Privilege Casino
Prestige Casino
Players Club Casino
Jackpot Palace
Gala International Casino
Diamond Club Casino
PlayGate Casino
Victor Casino
Oriental Casino
Metro Casino
Pharaoh's Casino
SuperVegas Casino
Five Star Casino
Kiss Casino
Sunset Casino
Queens Club Casino
Atlantic Casino
El Casino
WallStreet Casino
BugsysClub Casino
Mini Vegas
Riverboat Casino
Cowboy Casino
Jamaica Bay Casino
Click here for a participating casino (random pick).
Play the jackpot!
Home | Newsletters | Freebies | Webmasters | Site Map | Contact | About
Minh Nguyen Wins First Bracelet with A Little Help from Friend Men Nguyen
by Max Shapiro, published on Friday, April 25 2003
Printable version

Minh Nguyen was poised on the brink of victory in WSOP event #7, seven-card stud hi-lo.

Well, the anointment might be a tad premature.  Minh still has a ways to go to match the impressive record of Men, but he’s on his way with his first bracelet, and he offered thanks to his friend, mentor and backer for the past 18 months for giving him so much help and advice with his game during a time when he wasn’t doing very well.

Minh started lowest-chipped at the final table with $20,200.  “After I doubled up a couple of times, I never looked back,” he said.  When the tournament got down to five players, Nguyen had a moderate chip lead of about $72,000 while his opponents were pretty closely grouped from about $48,000 to $58,000.  Randy Holland proposed a deal: 42k for Minh, 40k for the rest, and winner take all for the remaining $12,680 and the bracelet.  

Soon after, Minh went on a huge rush, and in 24 hands he had all the chips.  The deal cost him over 50k, as first place paid $106,020, but he had no regrets.  “I like making deals all the time,” he said.  “Money sometimes helps, but the bracelet is worth more.” 

Nguyen has been playing poker for 14 years, and helped open and managed two cardrooms in Washington state.  He first got into poker during his four years in the army, playing “follow the deuce,” a seven-stud variation where the next card after a deuce is wild.  Stud high is his favorite game, and his prior best cash-out came when he won a “Rags to Riches” event at Commerce Casino in 1996.  Last year he finished 24th at the WSOP championship.  It was the fourth WSOP cash-out and the first final table for the native of Vietnam who came to this country in 1980.




The finalists began playing with $300 antes, a $600 low-card bring-in and limits of $2,000-$4,000, 45:51 remaining.  With Randy Holland holding a good-sized chip lead, here’s how the starting count looked:  

1 Minh Nguyen$20,200
2 Bob Mangino$25,500
3 Bruce Migdal$40,700
4 Robert Toft$36,400
5 Randy Holland$63,000
6 Michael Fiorito$38,500
7 John Reiss$39,200
8 Dean Shulman$21,500

There wasn’t much action the first 10 hands, with three chops and most pots going no farther than fifth street.  On hand 11, a big pot built with two scary boards:  A-3-4-5 for Robert Toft, 3-4-6-7 for Holland.  When Toft bet the river, Randy made a prudent fold and Robert showed him a wheel.  To that point, Randy had been having no luck at all, and four hands later he again ran into the retired high school counselor.   Showing 7-A-9-A, Toft bet the river and Holland called, showing 4-3-9-J.  Toft turned up three 6s, Holland mucked and Toft was the new chip leader.

When a discouraged Holland folded on the river on the next hand against Dean Shulman, the initial chip leader had slid down to only about $28,000.  Shulman, incidentally, had noted on his bio sheet that he was not related to any other poker-playing Shulmans, though he did not make clear whom he had in mind.  In any event, this Shulman, a Los Angeles businessman, was first out.  Starting with K-3/K, he made kings-up on fifth street and went all in, losing when Toft, who began with A-K/J, caught two more aces.  Dean collected $5,250 while Toft, scoring his third WSOP cash-in, now had upped his lead to $88,500.

When the limits moved up to $3,000-$6,000, with $500 antes and s $1,000 bring-in, this was the approximate chip count:

Robert Toft: $90,000

Bruce Migdal: $40,000 

Bob “Buzz Saw” Mangino: $38,500

Michael Fiorito: $34,000

John Reiss: $28,000                            

Randy Holland: $27,000

Minh Nguyen: $26,000



When Holland finally took a pot a couple of hands later, it was only the antes and bring-in, but a win is a win, and he smiled happily.

The biggest pot of the night so far developed on the 48th hand as Nguyen starting making his move.  He bet out on the river with a board of 3-4-5-3, Toft folded his two aces and then Nguyen showed him a wheel.  It wasn’t until hand 61 that the second player departed, cashing out for $7,960.  Bruce Migdal, an executive poker host at Hollywood Park, went all in on the river for $3,500 with trip aces, losing to Mangino, who sells professional golf equipment to retailers.  Bob had a board of 10-4-3-A with three hearts, made a flush, and he was now the chip leader.  The count, after three more hands, was:

 Bob Mangino, $80,000

 Michael Fiorito, $60,000

 Robert Toft, $55,000

 Minh Nguyen, $40,000

 Randy Holland, $35,000
 John Reiss, $15,000

Reiss, who had been struggling for a long time, went in for the third and fourth times on hands 71 and 73, escaping with splits both times.  Holland also went all in on the next hand, scooping with a flush against Mangino’s trip deuces.  “I’m going to play better now,” Randy promised as he pulled in the chips.  Fiorito, who has a courier business, then took the lead lead away from Mangino when Bob folded on the river after Michael bet with 4-10-6-4 showing.  Fiorito now had about 85k to Mangino’s 60k.

Next, in a key hand, Minh pulled off a big bluff.  Showing 4-9-8-2 with three clubs, he bet the river.  Fiorito studied the hands at length and finally folded, whereupon Minh showed him two deuces.  Nguyen now had a slight lead of about 61k.  Reiss, meanwhile, had gone in and escaped for a fifth time with a chop, still holding only $7,500.

On the next hand, number 80, the boys were playing with $4,000-$8,000 limits with $500 antes and a $1,000 bring-in.  It was the last hand for John.  Starting with K-10/K, he went all in for his last $7,000 and made kings-up, but Nguyen, with an open-end straight draw to 8-9-10-J on sixth street, caught a 7 on the river to complete and finally dispose of Reiss.  Sixth place was worth $10,600.


With about 71k, Nguyen now had a lead of about 13k over his nearest competitor, and everyone quickly accepted Holland’s suggestion of a deal.  It was an especially good deal for Randy, because he was the next one out.  After the biggest pot to date, on hand 84, he had dropped down to under 30k while Minh moved up to about 110k.  The full hands weren’t shown because Randy folded his 2-3-Q-6, probably missing a low draw, when Minh bet the river showing K-10-A-A.  Two hands later it was all over for the two-bracelet holder (stud/8 and razz) and the only player to make two final tables at WSOP 2003 thus far.  Starting with A-4/2, Minh ended up with a 7-low and two 9s to scoop Randy’s 8-low and two treys.  Minh, starting to run over the table, now was up to 140k, roughly half the chips on the table.  A few hands later he had climbed to close to $170,000 after he made 9s and 7s while the best that Mangino could find was two jacks. 



After making a straight to crush both Mangino and Fiorito, he had about $260,000 while his three opponents, as Jack McClelland would say, had all the rest of the roughly $25,000 in remaining chips.  Over the next five hands, all of his opponents went all in, usually against each other, as Minh carefully avoided doubling any of them up.  Finally, Fiorito went out in fourth place on hand 98 when he missed his flush and fell to Mangino’s trip deuces.

Two hands later, Toft, starting with buried treys, made a set on fourth street and filled on fifth, going all in for $6,500.  It wasn’t good enough because Mangino, starting with A-8/7, went on to make 7s-full.  Bob now had $35,000, but it was still just a peanut against Nguyen’s 250 grand.  Minh’s victory was all but inevitable, and it came about on hand 104.  Mangino, who has a lot of small tournament wins in the Reno/Tahoe area and finished 12th in a Tournament of Champions event, started with buried fives and made a set on fifth street.  He bet and Minh, who started with 5-6/7 and had a 9-high straight in five cards, raised to put him all in.  Bob couldn’t fill and Minh had done himself and his coach Men proud as he strapped on his first bracelet.             

Official Prize Pool

1. Minh NguyenBell Gardens, CA$106,020
2. Bob ManginoFt. Lauderdale, FL53,000
3. Robert ToftYardley, PA26,500
4. Michael FioritoHenderson, NV15,900
5. Randy HollandWinnetka, CA13,260
6. John ReissOmaha, NE10,600
7 Bruce MigdalCathedral City, CA7,960
8. Dean ShulmanLos Angeles, CA5,250

9th-12th, $3,980: Chris DeBock, Tampa, FL;  Billy Wiley, Flora, IL; Barry Greenstein, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA; Wing Wong, Rowland Heights, CA.

13th-16th,  $2,660: Larry Kantor, Woodland Hills, CA; R.A. Allala, Virginia Beach, CA; Stephen Kaufman, Las Vegas, NV; Chad Brown, Margate, FL.
Printable version
Minh Nguyen Wins First Bracelet with A Little Help from Friend Men Nguyen
“Minh the Master,” proclaimed Men “The Master” Nguyen as...
Read full story

24-year-old Prahlad Friedman Rides Roller-Coaster to Victory
"It was a roller-coaster," was
Read full story

Chris Ferguson Wins his Fourth Bracelet
Like two boys playing catch, the chip lead for much of tonight's Omaha hi-lo final table was tossed back and forth between Chris "Jesus" Ferguson and Barry Bindelglass.
Read full story

metro online casino