In the past ten years online poker has really come to life, with countless sharp minded young people trying to unravel the game. Players like Hac and Di Dang were among those who created the blueprint for aspiring online poker professionals seeking their fortune. Like many typical students, Hac and Di started playing poker for fun during their college years. But the rest of their story is far from typical. The two Vietnamese-American brothers started with a combined bankroll of just $200 which, fuelled by sibling rivalry, quickly swelled into millions of dollars according to bankrollmob.com. The two pros remain greatly respected in the poker world even now, offering their wisdom to up and coming players through training site runitonce.com. As with the real world, the first steps a person takes within the poker world are often filled with difficulty. Both Dang brothers chose separate paths in the beginning, with Hac starting out under the screen name 'hcdnttb'. The early records show him as being among the biggest winners on PartyPoker, so it's fair to say that by the time there was serious action starting at higher stakes on Full Tilt Poker, Hac Dang was already a serious professional with a serious bankroll, and Di wasn't far behind. As soon as Hac dived into no limit Holdem games playing as 'trex313' on Full Tilt, the profits began rolling in. Di, as 'Urindanger', had begun at limit Holdem, but seeing his brother dominate the no limit tables, he quickly switched to no limit. Both players developed great reputations in Holdem over the next few years and became feared at the very highest stakes.
Crushing the highest stakes online
Despite their enjoyment of playing against players like Gus Hansen and Guy Laliberte, they spent most of their time playing against the best players in the world. When players like Phil Ivey and Tom 'durrrr' Dwan realised they had no edge over the Dang brothers, the Holdem action slowly then began to dry up. Pot limit Omaha soon became the main focus of the high stakes action, where Di quickly adapted and continued on to make a name for himself as a true online PLO legend. Hac decided to expand his skills into many games, which included PLO, and the brothers soon established themselves as being more than a match for the biggest names, at stakes of $200/$400 and upwards. It was during their time on Full Tilt that the Dang brothers became involved in some of the biggest pots in online poker history. Omaha has a habit of producing big pots, and it lived up to that when Urindanger was playing heads up against 'Cadillac1944'. After flopping top pair and a wheel draw against his opponents top two pair, Urindager caught the turn perfectly to complete his Straight. His opponent bet out, only to be faced with a raise, before shoving his entire stack in drawing close to dead. Urindanger raked in the pot of more than $588,000.
Back in 2007 to 2009 the Dang brothers played as high as $500/$1000 on Full Tilt, recording big winning sessions against regulars like Phil Ivey, and setting record pots. It was at a $500/$1000 table that Dwan and Urindanger were involved in a brutal cooler when Dwan picked up KK vs Urindangers AA. Di Dang won the pot of over $723,000, which remains one of the biggest ever seen online. They shared during this period a bankroll which eventually grew to over $13 million. It allowed each player to absorb the losses of the other. The emotional impact of a losing night is greatly lessened by waking up the following day to find that your brother has already won back the money you lost yesterday.
Poker has not been the entire focus of the Dang brothers through their younger years, although it has always been important. They both graduated from the University of Virginia with engineering degrees, but it wasn't always easy. Grinding at the online poker tables often kept them away from their studies. According to VOA news, Di took 5 years to graduate, and Hac came very close to failing a course vital to his graduation. Family values were always an important structure within the lives of these two great players, and their parents insisted that they complete their education regardless of how much money they were making online.
Soon after the events of 'Black Friday' and the closure of Full Tilt, unknown players started arriving on the high stakes tables at Pokerstars. One such player was '1ll|1ll|1il|'. The nickname 'barcode' soon stuck, and he quickly began taking on big name regulars like Ben 'sauce123' Sulsky, Phil 'MrSweets28' Galfond, Ilari 'Ilari FIN' Sahamies, and many others. Barcode was even seen playing 16 tables at once in the high stakes games, and was relentless at crushing both Holdem and PLO tables. It was of course Hac Dang, having moved north to Canada and switched to Pokerstars to crush a whole new crowd of top pros at the highest stakes. His brother Di also made the switch and quickly began to dominate the biggest PLO games on Pokerstars while playing under the screen name 'ilvdnfl'.
Despite holding 4th place on the online poker profits list according to 'Highstakes Database', Di has recently retreated from the online spotlight to some degree. Having opened a Cajun restaurant called Chasin' Tails in their home state of Virginia during 2012 it is perhaps unsurprising to see one of the brothers scale back his poker playing. Di Dang describes the restaurant as serving mostly seafood, with an Asian, Cajun twist. Customer reviews of the restaurant online, award between 4 and 5 stars across each category, with 89% of them saying they would recommend the restaurant to a friend.
Hac Dang remains active at the online tables, clashing with Phil 'polarizing' Ivey and posting six figure winning sessions at 8 game mix and 2-7 Draw earlier this year.