WSOP Event #6: Nam Le flirts with first bracelet


Nam Le knows how to win poker tournaments. It's something he's been doing for the past several years. While not yet the most famous face on the poker tournament circuit, Le has been crushing the card scene recently. He's been winning consistently since 2004, most recently winning the World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star tournament for more than a million bucks. However, though he has become quite rich playing poker, he has never won a WSOP bracelet.

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Nam Le

Le's personality belies his poker game. Watching from just a few feet away, you would likely not hear Le talk or, for that matter, see him show much of any emotion. Unlike his contemporary--and good friend--Tuan Le, Nam is reserved. However, like Tuan, Nam finds a way to build massive walls of chips and beat his opponents into submission.

As the final table of WSOP Event #6 began, most eyes were actually on Vanessa "suckoutqueen" Selbst. The 21-year-old woman had been riding a roller coaster of chip movement for the past two days and had made the final table third in chips. She didn't slow down when she got there.

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Nam Le and Vanessa Selbst

Selbst forced the first two eliminations and looked to be on her way to even deeper money. Her aggressive style finally got the best of her. After raising with 5-2, she was re-raised by the chip leader. Selbst must have picked up something that made her believe she could make her opponent lay down his hand. Whatever it was, it was incorrect. Selbst pushed her entire stack directly into pocket aces. Even worse, her opponent made quads to send Selbst to the rail in seventh place.

With Selbst gone, PokerStars pinned its hopes on Nam Le. Le has made countless final tables in his career and has a game that even seasoned pros appreciate.

With six players remaining, Le actually sat in last chip position. However, he wouldn't stay there for long. He put all his chips in the middle with AK vs the chip leaders QQ. A king spiked on the river and suddenly Le was the chip leader. From there, he went to work. He knocked out Willard Change and J.R. Reiss. Within an hour, Le was heads up with young Australian pro Mark Vos. The strawberry blonde, red-faced character from Brisbane was the perfect foil for Le. While Le sat in robotic stoicism, Vos stacked his chips into a single two-foot, teetering tower.

The rail seemed to believe it would just be a matter of "when" Le would win and not "if." Daniel Negreanu, still playing in the nearby O/8 tournament ran from his table, jumped the rail, and exclaimed, "Is Nam about to win a WSOP bracelet?"

There were many people who thought the answer was yes, but, in fact, the answer was a one-hour long, "no." Though Le began heads-up play with a comfortable chip lead, nothing went the way he had hoped. His top pair lost to a flush in a very big pot. Then, he couldn't outrace Vos' 77 with QJ. Finally, Le check-called all the way down with a pair of sixes to Vos' trip queens.

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Nam Le with Tuan Le as the tournament ended

As the resident cheerleader for our PokerStars players, I think I sometimes get caught up in the battle for the bracelets. And maybe sometimes I neglect to mention how big of an accomplishment it is to actually get heads-up in events of this caliber. The toughest pros in the world are here wandering the hallways, sitting in the cash games, and tearing through the dead money in the tournaments. Getting heads-up is more than an accomplishment. It is almost like winning.


Six events have concluded thus far. It has seemed much like a marathon. It's hard to believe that it is a marathon that is barely 1/6 finished. Somewhere down the line, I feel confident I'll be writing about a bracelet.

For now, it's time to congratulate Nam Le for his near-perfect finish and wish him luck in the rest of the WSOP.

Nice run, Nam.