Minh Anh Nguyen conquers record-breaking Poker Dream Vietnam Main Event; exclusive interview and recap inside


In front of a booming rail, Vietnam’s own Minh Anh Nguyen overcame a deficit at heads up to emerge as the first ever Poker Dream Vietnam Main Event champion. The monumental victory earned Nguyen a career high ₫3,378,000,000 (~$137,700) and bragging rights as the first to capture this coveted title on home soil. Relive the action via the Live Updates.


Somuchpoker had a chance to interview the champ, asking how it felt to win the event. 

Nguyen: Of course it feels good to win the biggest event in Vietnam to date. I’ve won tourneys before but nothing beats the feeling of holding the Main Event title. Also clinching this title means that Vietnamese poker is not far behind our neighbor, so it feels truly amazing.

SMP: Coming into the final day with just 19 players remaining, you came in with the third largest stack, what was your strategy?

Nguyen: Same as always, avoid getting into tough spots because I understand the real battle only starts at the Final 9 table.

SMP: What was one of your toughest laydowns?

Nguyen: Late on Day 2, I was very short and I had to laydown Pocket Tens to two other players 3-bets. They showed QQ and AK. I would have busted.


SMP: Once you reached the final table, what was your strategy coming in as one of the biggest stacks? Did you feel you had an edge over some players? 

Nguyen: I was feeling calm and collected, very confident to finish in the top 3 spots. In my mind, I already picked out the last four players to be Winfred, Brandon, Tien and me. Two of the five Vietnamese players were short, so I basically just needed to wait for their departure. Huu Manh had a massive stack but he almost never plays with non-premium hands.

SMP: Who did you feel was your toughest opponent?

Nguyen: Toughest opponents must be Winfred Yu and Brandon Koh. I sat with Brandon on Day 1 and I saw how he managed his stack, very well throughout different levels. Winfred is one of the high roller regulars so I always have to watch out for him.


SMP: At three-handed you were sandwiched between larger stacks, what was your strategy?

Nguyen: At that point, I was dealt unplayable hands for a long time. I was definitely feeling the heat from chip leader Brandon. I know I cant stay in this situation for much longer so I decided to make a gutsy move of shoving with Two-Four offsuit. Stealing that pot was such a relief, so much tension released, it boosted my morale.

SMP: Speaking of gutsy, at heads up, you were behind in chips but still deep, then you three-bet pushed with over 30 BB holding Jack-Eight off. Why, and what was your thought process?

Nguyen: Everyone was asking about the Jack-Eight hand, it’s because I’ve built a very solid table image with Brandon, showing him only premium hands during our feature table session. And I never bluff shoved once on him at the table. Also, I think 30 BB is a good spot to limit his calling range with our stack distribution. I was surprised he called but it turned out to be good fortune for me.

SMP: Lastly, how do you plan to celebrate this huge accomplishment?

Nguyen: Take a short break because there are lots of events from now until the end of the year. I am feeling good and aiming for another main event very soon.

SMP: Thank you Minh and congratulations again on your victory!

Event recap

On just its second ever event, Poker Dream set new heights for brands in Asia to reach, amassing record numbers in Vietnam, the highest ever witnessed in the country. The highly anticipated Main Event guaranteed ₫10B, the largest ever announced for Vietnam, kicked off on October 20 and ran through October 23.

field 1

Over three starting days, it built an 822 entry field for a record prize pool of ₫17,940,150,000 (~$731,350). The money flowed on Day 2 with Seung Yeol Kim eliminating Kartik Ved on a cooler. The stage ended with 19 players in the lineup, six were from the host country, three of them were front runners. 

Buy in: ₫25,000,000 (~$1,020)
Guarantee: ₫10,000,000,000 (~$407,665)
Entries: 822
Prize pool: ₫17,940,150,000 (~$731,350)
ITM: 119 places

The 11-hour final day title-chase was loaded with incredibly thrilling poker starting with the rise of Huu Manh Nguyen who entered third  to the last in chips then charged upwards fast to carry in the largest stack into the final table. Huu Manh was certainly the most fiery player of all, celebrating every knockout and successful hero-call with gusto. He eliminated Hojin Kim to form the final 9. 

DSC 6049

Final table payouts

1st Minh A Nguyen Vietnam 3,378,000,000
2nd Brandon Koh Malaysia 2,055,000,000
3rd Winfred Yu Hong Kong 1,452,150,000
4th Ngo Minh Tien Vietnam 1,093,400,000
5th Huu Manh Nguyen Vietnam 862,000,000
6th Zong Chi He Taiwan 646,700,000
7th Dennis Ng Hong Kong 459,000,000
8th Nam Hoang Nguyen Vietnam 318,400,000
9th Dinh Van Tien Vietnam 251,600,000

Topping Huu Manh’s story was the unfathomable comeback of Malaysia’s Brandon Koh from just half a big blind at 13 remaining to runner up. Koh plunged after Wai Sim Kok‘s QcJc spiked the Queen to outdraw AcKd. The next hand, small blind Koh won the blinds and ante then from there, he doubled up three times to rise back to health with 25 BB stack. This was enough to once again be a threat. At the final table, he took the lead on a double up through Huu Manh, and nearly won the entire shebang. 

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Huu Manh Nguyen

The biggest story however was that of Minh Anh Nguyen who was the runt for most of three handed until he landed a double up through Yu. After Yu was sent packing by Koh in 3rd place, it was heads up with Koh ahead 60 BB to Nguyen’s 38 BB. An hour or so later with not much change in stack sizes, tables turned when Nguyen three-bet shoved his 30 BB with Jc8d. To Nguyen’s surprise, Koh tank-called with Ad9c. The board ran {3hJh10s5cJd to deny Koh the win. With ranks switched, Nguyen went on to win it.

DSC 6123
Brandon Koh

Final hand, Koh limped, Nguyen checked. The flop was 5h9h2d Nguyen check-called. The turn Qh, Koh bet, Nguyen check-called again. On the river 4s Koh double barreled, this time Nguyen check-jammed, Koh tanked for a long time then risked his tournament life. The livestream had Koh with AhAc, Nguyen had 3h7h flush. 

Payouts 9th – 19th

9th Dinh Van Tien Vietnam 251,600,000
10th Hojin Kim Korea 207,300,000
11th Wai Sim Kok Malaysia 207,300,000
12th Fu Bang Huang Taiwan 185,400,000
13th Dhaval Mudgal India 185,400,000
14th Hazel Chui 167,400,000
15th Haerok Lee Korea 167,400,000
16th Anh Hoai Tran Vietnam 149,500,000
17th Jenam Yu Korea 149,500,000
18th Ha Duong Vietnam 131,600,000
19th David Erquiaga Philippines 131,600,000

Live Updates page
Poker Dream Player Guide
Daily event pics – Somuchpoker fb page

Article links:

Main Event info
Main Event Day 1A recap
Main Event shatters guarantee, sets new Vietnam record
Main Event champion to be crowned

Poker Dream releases Hoi An full schedule
Poker Dream makes landfall in Hoi An, Vietnam
Poker Dream kicks off 
Poker Dream: Day 1 recap
Poker Dream: First four trophies awarded
Poker Dream: Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand lift trophies
Poker Dream: Ewe Eng Soon wins the SHR for $215K

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Tricia David

Tricia David has long experience as a recreational poker player and has been covering poker events since 2010 for numerous outfits in Asia. She spent one year working part time with Poker Portal Asia then became editor and lead writer for all event coverage of the Philippine Poker Tour (PPT). Under the PPT, she overlooked content for their website, and produced live updates on all their events. In addition, she served as the live and online events website content writer for the Asian Poker Tour. Currently, she does live events reporting in Asia for online news site Somuchpoker and is also one of their news contributors.

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