Woman Wins WPT Invitational

by , Mar 4, 2008 | 8:07 am

Van Nguyen - Courtesy of PokerPages

Van Nguyen – Courtesy of PokerPages

Though the Wicked Chops guys might say the world is coming to an end, I beg to differ.

A woman won the WPT Invitational last night! Van Nguyen, wife of Men “The Master” Nguyen, made it to the final table as the only woman left, and she took it down. Men and other friends, like Young Phan, were in the audience rooting her on. She won $125,000 and a seat into the WPT World Championship in April.

While it wasn’t a normal open event – it was an invitational freeroll – she still got through a field of 445 players. Not too shabby!

There were four women going into the final table of ten players, but they were eliminated before the TV table was set.

All I can hope is that she didn’t use her husband’s line, “All you can eat, baby!” during the tournament. It takes on an entirely different meaning when a woman says it.

Details of the sloooooooow final table were documented by the WPT Live Updates team.

17 Comments to “Woman Wins WPT Invitational”

  1. charles

    Jen – didn’t I see you making out with Mekhi Phifer? He busted pretty early on, so it must’ve been so he could hook up with you…

  2. DanM

    Jen, I know you are on the road (to Vegas) and therefore unable to respond … but your hedline:

    ****Woman Wins WPT Invitational****

    Yikes, is that what we can expect if Hillary wins the presidency? “Woman wins …” or if your boy* Obama wins … should the hedline be “Black wins …”?
    Actually, I guess we will. Just sayin’ … I know it is indeed an accomplishment, and always special when a woman does win. But should it be, and should we acknowledge the accomplishment as special solely because of her gender? By the way … so many jokes to be made regarding to “all you can eat.” I am sure Men was proud.

    *NOTE: Since I woulda said “boy” even if Jen’s favorite candidate were McCain, I felt it would be more insensitive to change my language just because he happens to be black and theoretically might find that term offensive. I call not-racist.

  3. BJ Nemeth

    The presidency is a little different than one in a series of poker tournaments. A better analogy would be the first time that a woman won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Newspaper readers in another state would likely have read a similar headline — something like “First Female Representative Elected.” Readers in her district would read a different headline, referencing her by name. Because they’d *recognize* her name.

    A week ago, very few poker fans even knew Van Nguyen existed. Based on her name alone, I’d bet most Americans would assume she were a man. So a headline like “Van Nguyen Wins WPT Invitational” is as boring as “Peter Thompson Wins WPT Invitational.” (I just made that name up. Boring, isn’t it?)

    You seem too eager to play the gender-bias card, just like some people do when talking about ladies-only poker tournaments. Ironic, since you go out of your way to defuse the race-bias card with your footnote. (I agree with your logic, by the way, so you get a free pass on that one by me. But only because you acknowledged it with a footnote.)

    True gender and racial equity involves celebrating our differences and important milestones, not ignoring them. This is a milestone for female poker players, and it deserves to be celebrated that way.

  4. DanM

    BJ, I really do agree with you, and am just feeling a little feisty today … but I do find it interesting that this victory challenges so much about societal preconceptions. Think of the phrases we are dealing with:


    ALT HED: Master’s Woman Wins; Men Celebrate(s)

    And so long as we are having the linguistic fun, I think there’s a lot that can be said about a “van by the river.” Will workshop that one.

    ALT ALT HED: Nguyen Wins!

  5. Mitchell Cogert

    Great news about a woman winning. A woman also won the RAZZ event at the WSOP.

    I’ve writtten a new poker book about Razz Poker. Nothing new has been written about the game in 20 years. And, using the latest poker simulation tools I’ve come up with new Razz strategies that should help both Razz and HORSE poker players.

    The book is titled “Play Razz Poker to Win” and can be found on amazon and the link:

    Check it out if your game is Razz or HORSE.

    Mitchell Cogert

  6. itsoverjonny

    1) Thanks for the shameless SPAM.

    2) Nothing has been written about Razz in the last 20 years because other than HORSE tournaments, no one has actually PLAYED Razz in that same time period. I’ll bet you have a very insightful book on How to Make a Buggy Whip too.

  7. California Jen

    Charles, yes. But he was just a little TOO blatent with the PDA. I had to tell him to back off.

  8. ItsOverJonny

    p.s. LOL – if you are going to spam the site, it would be to your advantage to include a link that actually WORKS.

  9. California Jen

    The reason I wanted to emphasize that a woman won the WPT event was because it was NOT a ladies-only tournament. It was mixed and goes to show that women and men should be competing together, and a woman is just as capable of winning as any man.

    In most open events, the number of women entering usually hovers around 5% of the field. Thus, the odds of a woman winning are slim based on odds alone.

    In the Invitational, there were many more women than a normal event. This gave a woman more odds to win, and it happened. If more women would enter normal mixed buy-in tournaments, they could claim more victories.

    I think it’s phenomenal that Van won the event. I always root for women, except when they segregate themselves and don’t play in events where they COULD compete on an even skill level.

  10. olivert

    My decision to take a calculated risk to connect Men “The Master” Nguyen with PokerStars.net at WPT Tunica 6 weeks ago is paying off.

    I was fully aware of the allegations regarding Men’s actions in several tournaments prior to the TV poker era. Indeed, FullTiltPoker.net will NOT do business with Men “The Master” because of the allegations.

    PokerStars.net officials were also fully aware of the allegations and they made the decision to sponsor Men “The Master” at the WPT Tunica final table despite those allegations.

    I suspect that PokerStars.net officials and I came to a similar conclusion: the positives of associating ourselves with Men “The Master” outweigh the negatives.

    Because I did Men’s logo deal with PokerStars.net 6 weeks ago in Tunica, I put myself in position to do Mrs. Nguyen’s logo deal with PokerStars.net on Sunday night when the WPT Invitational TV bubble broke and Mrs. Nguyen was in 4th chip position.

    (PokerStars.net will NOT sponsor players who go into WPT TV final tables in 5th or 6th chip position unless that player was a “brand name” player.)

    Men and Van Nguyen are now poker’s newest “power couple” who can definitely be marketed to audiences in East and Southeast Asia. PokerStars.net, which sponsors the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) and is active in the Macau market, is a potential fit for the Nguyens.

  11. Jason B

    I think the real story is since Jennifer Leigh is posing for Playboy, will Van Nguyen pose in the MILF edition???? Inquiring minds really want to know?

  12. DanM

    So Oliver, what made you decide to take a chance on Men the Master?

  13. DanM

    *****All I can hope is that she didn’t use her husband’s line, “All you can eat, baby!” during the tournament.*****

    I heard she did!

  14. DanM

    ***Men and Van Nguyen are now poker’s newest “power couple” who can definitely be marketed to audiences in East and Southeast Asia.***

    BTW, since we were talking race and gender here up top … Does it bother you that the Nguyens can’t be so easily marketed here? Or is it is just what it is … that North America is a land of Gavin Smiths, and that’s who we therefore identify with?

    Jackie Chan would probably be really popular with the roundeyes if he won a poker tourney. So would Dat Nguyen.

  15. Ed

    “Jackie Chan would probably be really popular with the roundeyes if he won a poker tourney.”

    As would many of the JPOP and JAV idols I have rotating on my office desktop.

    Go Asian Chicks!

  16. olivert

    > So Oliver, what made you decide to take a chance on Men the Master?

    I though that by making a connection with Men “The Master” while I was in Tunica, I would also gain access to his circle of pupils as potential clients.

    Never in the past 6 weeks did I think that the most marketable pupil in Men’s circle would turn out to be Men’s wife Van until 1) she doubled up on Billy Baxter with AK vs AT when the K showed up on the river to survive after a Ten had flopped; and 2) she took the chip lead after flopping top two pair against Justin Marchand’s top pair-ten kicker.

  17. olivert

    ESPN Deportes/ESPN Latin America TV poker commentator Gabriela Hill’s article on Van Nguyen is now up on ESPNdeportes.com in Spanish:



    A translator at ESPN is working on the English version of the article, which will be up on ESPN.com by next week.

    Gabriela Hill has been working as a Spanish-language TV sportscaster for 23 years in Mexico and the U.S., the last 6 years of which at ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut. She has called every WSOP Main Event Final Table for ESPN Latin America and ESPN Deportes since Robert Varkonyi’s victory in 2002.

    Gabriela has hired me to pursue a product endorsement opportunity targeting Spanish-speaking poker players in Latin America.