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Poker Player Profile: Tuan Le

By: Kenneth Bateman

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Of Vietnamese descent, but Paris born, Tuan Le spent his early childhood in Kansas City before his family settled permanently in Los Angeles. Tuan initially developed his interest in poker while majoring in finance at California State University, Northridge.

A fortunate meeting with poker professional Barry Greenstein (2004 WPT Champion), and an introduction to Greenstein’s as yet unpublished book, “ Aces On The River “ , enabled Tuan to develop his natural poker-playing talents to a professional level .Tuan credits much of his success as a player to Greenstein, who became Tuan’s mentor.

Tuan had been playing $20/40 limit at the Hustler Casino in Los Angeles when he was first noticed by Greenstein who was impressed with Tuan Le’s still to be perfected talents, and befriended the youngster. As a matter of fact, poker playing proficiency seems to be a family trait, since Tuan’s brother, Nam Le is a professional poker player as well, and has won an event at a World Poker Tournament.

Although Tuan’s primary interests lie in his professional poker-playing career he is far from a one-dimensional personality. He enjoys sports such as tennis and badminton, and likes to listen to music and watch reality TV shows.

Thus far, Tuan has finished in the money six times in various poker tournaments over the past three years:

• World Poker Finals 2004 – 1st place - $ 1, 549,588
• World Poker Tour Championship, season # 3 – 1st place - $ 2,856.150
• Festa Al Lago #3 – 45th place - $12,000
• Foxwoods World Poker Finals – 1st place - $10,000
• 2006 World Series of Poker – Event #2 – No Limit Hold’em – 75th place - $7,578

Tuan’s first substantial win was at the Commerce Casino, where in 2004 he won a Texas Hold ‘em no-limit tourney, which earned Tuan the buy-in funds for a larger tournament at Foxwood. Tuan won again and earned a seat at the 2005 World Poker Tour Championship tournament.

Tuan’s aggressive and intelligent play enabled him to outlast 446 players to arrive at the final table, playing against the likes of veteran poker champions like Phil Ivey and Paul Maxfield. After nearly eight hours of intensive play, Phil Ivey, Rob Hollink, and John Phan busted out. Although Tuan was down to $100,000 and the other two survivors Paul Maxfield and Hasan Habib had over $10 million, Tuan refused to be intimidated and soon sent Habib packing, leaving a most dangerous opponent, Paul Maxfield to over come.

The heads-up portion of the game ended with Maxfield going all-in with K-5. Tuan called with Kd-Jd. The flop showed J-10-3, giving Tuan a pair of jacks. The turn showed a queen, no help to Paul, and the river showed a 7. That was all she wrote for Maxfield, and the silver memento, a symbol of the World Poker Tour Championship, and $2.8 million in prize money went to Tuan Le, who had achieved his first important world poker championship victory.

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Kenneth Bateman writes numerous articles on the subject of poker and its players. To read more player profiles, visit XL

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