The World Series of Poker is well underway in Las Vegas, and once again poker players from all over the world are looking ahead to the Main Event in July.
Three years ago Qui Nguyen of Vietnam captured poker’s most prestigious title when he topped a field of 6,737 to win the 2016 WSOP Main Event. His victory culminated with an exciting final table, and following his win Nguyen collaborated with Steve Blay of Advanced Poker Training to explain the strategies he employed on his way to winning the bracelet and more than $8 million first prize.
In the resulting book From Vietnam to Vegas!, Nguyen reviews 176 key hands, with commentary from Blay analyzing the mathematical basis behind Nguyen’s decisions. The book additionally includes a Q&A with Nguyen covering other topics that arose during the three-day final table as well as a short autobiography in which Nguyen relates the story of his life and his journey from Vietnam to Las Vegas. Esfandiari also contributes an entertaining foreword introducing the book.
Besides chronicling the final table in an in-depth and interesting way, the book provides insight into how both intuition and logic matter at the poker table, and shares with readers practical ways to apply such insight in their own play.
What follows is an excerpt sharing a hand from Day 1 of the final table that took place when there were still eight players left. By the time this hand takes place, Nguyen had already taken over the chip lead, and here demonstrates some of his big-stack aggression Blay characterizes as “Judgment Jamming.”
2016 WSOP Main Event Final Table, Day One: Hand 57
Preflop: Qui is BTN with K♠J♠
5 folds, Qui raises to 1,825,000, Josephy folds, Ruane calls 1,025,000
Flop: (4,850,000) 5♦A♣8♣ (2 players)
Ruane checks, Qui bets 2,375,000, Ruane folds
Results: 4,850,000 pot
Final Board: 5♦A♣8♣
Qui mucked K♠J♠ and won 4,850,000 (2,925,000 net)
Ruane mucked and lost 1,925,000
I had K♠J♠ and raised to 1,825,000 on the button. Michael Ruane called from the big blind. The flop was A♣8♣5♦. Michael checked and I bet 2,375,000. Michael folded.
Have you noticed how many times this has happened so far? The other players keep defending their big blind against me, and then they check and fold the flop over and over. I think they are giving up way too easily. They are looking to double up, but they are giving me a lot of chips in the process. In addition, by folding so often on the flop, when they do call me, I know they’ve got something, and I can slow down. So they are making it easy on me by playing so predictably. I could bet virtually 100% of flops against them and show a profit. Whenever someone can do that, you aren’t playing right.
When two players go to the flop heads up, nearly half the time (46%) neither of them will make a pair on the flop. This hand was another example of this fact. As Qui notes, he is picking up all of these pots with impunity.
Why is everyone giving up so easily against Qui? If I had to coin a term for what Qui does to his opponents, I would call it “Judgment Jamming”. To jam a radar is to interfere with its operation by bombarding it with noise and false information. I think this perfectly describes what Qui does. His opponents are unable to make good judgments because they are overloaded with information and outside of their comfort zone.
From Vietnam to Vegas! is available in paperback and as an e-book at D&B Poker.
D&B Publishing (using the imprint D&B Poker) was created by Dan Addelman and Byron Jacobs 15 years ago. Since then it has become one of the leading publishers of poker books with titles by Phil Hellmuth, Jonathan Little, Mike Sexton, Chris Moorman, Dr. Patricia Cardner, Lance Bradley, Martin Harris and more, all of which are available at D&B Poker.