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Steve Wong: A Quick Study
Let's start by talking a bit about how this tournament has gone for you so far.
From the first day up to now, I've been doing ok. In the hands I was all-in, I was mostly in front. At these last two tables though, the luck factor will start to kick in. I blew a big part of my stack with 10-Q in the big blind versus the small blind. I thought he was on the steal, but he wasn't. He had aces so I doubled him up, and I crippled myself to about $100,000 or so, but now I'm back up to $400,000 or something. We'll just have to see how it's going to go.
This field started out pretty tough, there were a lot of pros in it. How do you feel about playing against these guys who have been so successful in poker?
Well, I'd rather play against pros than against people who play the luck-factor. What happened yesterday [Q-10 against aces] was pretty brutal, you know?
Now that you're down to the last nine players, do you feel like you've got a good handle on the way they're playing?
Ahh, I don't know, I don't know. Everyone's going to tighten up except for the chip leaders of course. So it's really got to have to be a hand versus a hand. I don't believe it's going to be like a 3-5 against aces or anything. Except for the chip leader [Joe Pelton] everyone's going to be tight.
Have you had a chance to see Joe play during this tournament?
Not really, I sat at his table on Day 2 I think, and he was a pretty normal player back then. (Laughs)
Ok, tell me a bit about what got you interested in poker and how you learned to play.
Well at first I was playing a lot of casino house games like baccarat and blackjack, and my cousin Steven "Lucky" Liu saw that, and he said "Man, you're going to die if you continue playing those house games with those high stakes. You know, I'm going to teach you to play poker and you got to cut off all those games".
Back at that time he was a two-time European major event winner, and around the middle of 2003, he started teaching me to play, and then I started going around and playing in different places. I've been to the World Series three times, 2004 to 2006, and it's been ok. I just won the $5,000 event here also which got me a bracelet.
So where are you from originally?
My parents are from Hong Kong, and they immigrated to the Netherlands. Now I live in a suburb of Amsterdam. I was born there, but when I found out about poker, I knew the U.S. was the place where you gotta be. You could be the European player of the year and nobody knows you. And the other way around, if you're a top player here; everyone in the world will know you because of the TV coverage.
So are you looking to get more TV time as a player or would you rather keep a low profile and just play?
Well I always want to let my play do the talking but I'd also like to be famous. (Laughs) I'd be a liar if I said I didn't.
Tell me about your style of play. What is it that gives you an edge over the other players in the field?
I think I have a head-start because my cousin is a very good player, and he taught me a lot of things. I'm using all his tactics here, modified a bit, and here I am. I think patience and skill are extremely important. I mean, you can base it on luck, but you saw what happened yesterday with Brandi [Hawbaker], she was the chip leader and gave it all away.
Thanks a lot Steve and good luck at the final table.
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Steve's obviously got the talent and the ambition to become a star in the poker world and in addition to this he has a very camera-friendly persona. He'll have a great chance tomorrow to take down his first major tournament and it will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure and the cameras.