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2010 November Nine: Soi Nguyen
Soi Nguyen will carry the hopes and dreams of amateur poker players across the world at the 2010 WSOP Main Event final table.
The 37-year-old is the only amateur of the 2010 November Nine and will have to outlast established pros like Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi and John Racener if he hopes to win the $8.9 million first-place prize.
"This being my first WSOP I didn't expect to get this far," he said. "I just wanted to come for the experience. It's been one hell of a ride."
Nguyen currently resides in Santa Ana, California and works for a medical supplies distribution company.
His experience in poker is extremely limited compared to the rest of the final table and he admitted the 2010 WSOP Main Event was only the fourth live Hold'em tournament he'd ever played.
Known as an aggressive player, Nguyen first gained the attention of the media on Day 7 of the 2010 Main Event when he won a 20 million chip pot from former chip leader Theo Jorgensen.
In the hand Nguyen shoved with top pair and Jorgensen called with a flush draw. Nguyen dodged the flush outs, raked a giant pot and crippled the Danish pro in the process.
With only nine million chips, Nguyen will enter the final table as one of the shortest stacks so he'll have to chip up early. Nguyen is also the oldest player at the youngest Main Event final table in history.
Nguyen mentioned he was particularly impressed with the skill level of the players at the final table and will perhaps benefit more than any other player from the next four months before the final table plays out.
"I think the break is a great thing for me personally," he said. "After playing for 16 hours on the last day I was done. There was no way I could have taken another day of it. The break also gives a player like me a chance to study the game more."
The So-Cal native mentioned he plans on sitting down over the next couple weeks and deciding what his best poker strategy will be.
It likely doesn't hurt that he's close friends with veteran poker players Nam Le, J.C. Tran, Tuan Le and Steve Sung.
"Without Nam Le, Chino (Rheem) and Tommy Le on the rail cheering me on I would not have made it this far."
For the time being, Nguyen is happy just to be at the final table and an inspiration to amateur poker players everywhere.
"I don't have that much experience and I'm not a professional poker player," he said. "It can happen."
The 2010 WSOP Main Event final table begins Nov. 6, with a winner crowned on Nov. 8.