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Tuan Lam - Big Cash Player
And so, following our theme of interviewing great Canadian poker players while we're here in Niagara Falls, Canada, covering the 2007 Jerry Yang and his future plans.
So Tuan, when did you start playing poker?
I used to work for this company and I got laid off. So I went back to school to get my (high school) diploma. When I finished school I had no job and a friend of mine offered me a job as a dealer. He has a home game. Weekends they would get together and play very small limit, like $5-$10. I was dealing and that's how I started playing. He said "You got to support the game sometimes," and that's how I started playing.
When I first started I had no clue about poker, I never gambled before. But I realized that people can win at this game. When I was dealing I would keep an eye on good players and see how they play. I would talk to them and they would recommend some books. My first book was [written by] David Sklansky.
How would you describe your style of play?
I am an aggressive player.
Really? Because you played pretty tight at the Main Event...
I was very careful when I played at the final table. I paid very close attention to each player and I [knew] Jerry was very aggressive and I would need a decent hand to play against him, because he would call me down with anything and he was hard to bluff. So I played very conservatively.
People have heard a lot about how Jerry was going to give a bunch of his prize money to charity, but very few may have heard you are going to build a temple back in the Vietnamese village where you grew up. Is it true?
Yes, that's true, because that's what my dream was. When I went back to Vietnam, I looked at my village and there was no temple there. When I talked to people there I said when I have the money I would come back and build a temple. I will store food in there and for people in that village when they need food they can have a place to come get it.
I understand you were primarily an online player before the 2007 WSOP. How did you get started?
When I moved to Toronto I heard a lot of people were successful online and I didn't have a chance to play because I'm not very good with computers. One day, a friend of mine bought a laptop for me and he set up everything for me and that's how I started playing online.
I started with $30/$60 and I jumped up every time I had the bankroll, to $50/$100, $100/$200 and then $200/$400. Now I play mostly $100/$200 and $200/$400, but sometimes I play $500/$1,000. I very rarely play tournaments online.
But you had played in live tournaments before 2007. I understand you cashed in WSOP events back in 2005 and 2006.
I went to take a shot; to go and see Vegas and how the poker is there.
And you plan on playing a lot more live tournaments now?
Right now PokerStars wants me to go around and play, especially in Asia. I will be playing in the APPT in Macau, Korea and the next one is in Australia.
So, does playing here in Niagara Falls, close to your hometown, add a little pressure to the mix?
No actually, I like playing close to Toronto because I feel more comfortable here. There's no pressure and I have friends here, a lot of friends.
And you are doing well so far?
I have $95,000. I have been playing aggressive, but it depends on the hand. You have to wait for your spots. My goal is to try to stay alive today because things are almost done, there are another two levels today and I want to come back tomorrow.
Tuan took a few hits in the late goings, but did manage to survive to Day 3 with about $100k after doubling-up just before play ended for the night. Based on his play at the Main Event, it would be foolish to count him out here in Niagara Falls, or anywhere for that matter.