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The Doer and the Loser: Michael Chu Beats Tommy Vu
Let it never be said that you can't win a rebuy tournament on the strength of your buy-in alone. On Thursday, Michael Chu defeated infomercial guru Tommy Vu in heads-up play at the World Series of Poker's $1,000 + rebuys NLHE tournament to earn the eighth WSOP bracelet awarded in 2007.
Chu came into heads-up play down 3:2 in chips to the Three Little Wordsmith, but quickly reversed the advantage when he doubled up with J♣ T♥ to Vu's 8♣ 6♣ when Vu pushed all-in on a 9♠ 8♥ 3♣ flop. Chu rivered a straight, and a few hands later called Vu's all-in with A♣ 3♥ to his rival's K♠ 8♠, pairing his trey on the flop and holding on to win the event, the bracelet, and $585,774, in the process becoming the only man to ever get rich thanks to Tommy Vu.
I talked to Chu shortly after his thrilling victory.
You just won a Michael Gracz - would knock out some of the shorter stacks, and then if I got like fourth or fifth and was in position, then I would gamble up. And that was just my strategy.
So I was just trying to play like a rock; play solid hands, and I got a lot of solid hands.
What about the heads-up match? What do you think the turning point was?
Definitely the hand with ten-jack. I mean, Tommy was pushing all-in; he didn't do any standard raises. He was just pushing all-in, so I was waiting for my spot and I saw the ace, and I thought it was a good spot to move all-in, and it worked out.
Were you aware of Vu's illustrious reputation beforehand?
No. Actually, I heard - people were saying "Oh, that's Tommy Vu, that's Tommy Vu." I heard he's a big infomercial guy.
How did you approach the rebuy period at the beginning of the event?
No rebuys. Just the $2,000 starting chips and I built it up from the beginning. I ran good the whole three days.
Why didn't you rebuy? Was sticking to the original $1,000 buy-in part of your plan?
Yeah, because I didn't come here intending to play all of the big tournaments. I came here with a certain bankroll and the idea to pick my shots in certain tournaments, and just hope that the more tournaments I played, the more opportunities. I didn't want to waste my money on the rebuys or anything like that.
Are you going to play more events this year?
Yeah, I'm playing Saturday's $1,500 No Limit Hold'em event. I'm going to take a break, probably for a week, and then come back. I'm definitely going to try to play in the Main Event. I guess that's about it - maybe a few events here and there.
Do you play poker professionally?
No, I'm a trader, but I play poker recreationally at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles.
How did you get into poker?
I've always played poker, though the home games in high school and college, and I came out when everybody came out - when Rounders came out and a lot of kids started playing and it was kind of like the thing to do in college. I was always pretty good with numbers, so it was a good fit.
How are you going to spend the money?
I'm going to party with my buddies, have some fun over the weekend, and then just use the money to fatten out my trading account.
Where are you guys celebrating tonight?
Right now, I don't know. I'm pretty tired, but any bar with alcohol. We'll have a lot of fun.
Great. Thanks very much, Michael, and congratulations.
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Chu, like 10th place finisher Todd "Dan Druff" Witteles, eschewed the traditional "gold-rush" mentality of the rebuy tournament in favor of putting his faith in the almighty g-note, slapping down his $1,000 buy-in and then leaving well enough alone, refusing to add-on or rebuy and building his stack the old-fashioned way. His decision not to rebuy makes his victory all the more remarkable, and speaks volumes about the "recreational" player's skill. Congratulations, Michael!