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Men Nguyen Biography

Men "The Master" Nguyen Biography
by Chad Holloway of

Men Nguyen was born in 1954 in Phan Thiet, Vietnam. When he was thirteen years old, Nguyen dropped out of school and worked as a bus driver to help support his family. In 1978, Nguyen escaped Communist Vietnam by boarding a boat with eighty-seven other refugees. Nguyen landed in Pulau Besar, Malaysia and was granted political asylum by the United States six months later. Even though he did not speak a word of English, Nguyen moved to Los Angeles, California and later naturalized in 1986. As he adapted to a new culture, Nguyen not only began learning a new language, but a new trade as well, eventually finding employment as a machinist.

Nguyen first played poker on a trip to Las Vegas in 1984. He enjoyed the game so much that he went back to Vegas every weekend to play in the poker rooms. A self-taught player, Nguyen lost so much money that he earned the nickname "Money Machine," but that started to change when he won his first poker tournament in 1987, the Diamond Jim Brady $330 buy-in seven-card stud eight-or-better, at the Bicycle Club in Bell Gardens, California. Soon thereafter, Nguyen came in second in a $200 buy-in event at Amarillo Slim's Superbowl of Poker at Caesar's Palace for $32,000.

Men used this money to open two businesses, a furniture store and dry cleaners, which he sold just a few years later. While operating these businesses, Nguyen worked with various Vietnamese people he eventually tutored in the game of poker, such as his cousins David Pham and Minh Nguyen. It was one of Nguyen's pupils that gave him the nickname "The Master," and since he was no longer losing money, the moniker "Money Machine" fell by the wayside. Many of "The Master's" apprentices have become successful poker pros themselves; in fact, many believe that Nguyen has tutored more tournament winners than anyone else.

Nguyen has won six World Series of Poker bracelets (1992- seven-card stud, 1995- seven-card stud split, 1995- limit hold'em, 1996- Omaha eight-or-better, 2003- seven-card stud, and 2003- ace to five triple lowball), and ranks near the top for highest number of cashes. In 1996, Nguyen came close to a world championship, finishing fourth in the W.S.O.P. Main Event. At the World Poker Tour's 2008 World Poker Open, Nguyen made his fifth WPT final table, eventually finishing third for $241,000.

Nguyen's success has been recognized throughout the years, being named Card Player magazine's Card Player of the Year a record four times (1997, 2001, 2003, 2005). Nguyen's lifetime tournament earnings total more than $8 million, which he has used to help his native country of Vietnam. Nguyen uses part of his winnings to serve as a philanthropist, building schools and temples throughout his homeland. Men "The Master" Nguyen currently resides in Bell Gardens, California, and is considered as one of the most talented, and entertaining, poker professionals on the circuit today.


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