Marty Derbyshire got up with a poker training site called Advanced Poker Training and they ran some simulations of the final table based on the players’ profiles, stacks, and positions at the table. It was really more of an experiment than anything, not a genuine attempt to predict a winner.
Somewhat unexpectedly, the simulations showed Qui Nguyen winning more often than any of the other players. I remember making a joke at the time that if Nguyen indeed managed to come out on top, the simulations could help show the Qui to his Nguyen.
I don’t remember a lot of laughter in response. Perhaps a groan or two (which as all dedicated punsters know is the next-best thing.)
As it happened, Nguyen did win the sucker. He had entered the final table second in chips, though I don’t think too many thought to guess he’d be the one the emerge from a group including many other higher profile players, some of whom had hugely impressive online résumés.
Nguyen wasn’t covered too extensively on ESPN, either. By my count he was only shown in a half-dozen hands, most of which weren’t too interesting from a strategic standpoint. The most memorable one of Nguyen’s that was shown came with 14 left when he rivered trip fives with A-5 versus a short-stacked James Obst, and Obst made a tight fold despite having made a flush.
Anyhow, if you watched the final table it was clear Nguyen was the most aggressive player of the bunch, and probably the most creative, too, although I haven’t studied the hands too closely.
Today I read an interesting backstory of sorts regarding his final table run, written from the perspective of one of the Advanced Poker Training guys, Steve Blay. Thanks to the PN series and the simulations, Nguyen ended up getting together with APT and even wore a patch at the final table. Meanwhile Blay got to go out to Vegas and watch the final table play out, cheering on the eventual winner as part of Team Nguyen. Afterwards, Blay wrote an entertaining recap of the experience called “A Common Man’s Brush with Poker Royalty.”
It’s an entertaining read, offering a bit of background on Nguyen plus some behind-the-scenes type stuff from the November Nine, all delivered very enthusiastically by a genuine poker fan. The article reminded me of some of the excitement I felt the first time I went to the WSOP, when such “brushes” with famous players and the novelty of it all made everything that much more fun to experience.
Photo: Jayne Furman / WSOP.com.