Amateur Nguyen shines in Event 38

Updated: June 25, 2012, 5:48 PM ET
By Andrew Feldman | ESPN.com

The hallway outside of the WSOP playing area is always a busy place. Commonly referred to as the "bad beat hallway," players, friends and family gather in that area to discuss hands, their unexpected bustouts, where to go for dinner or simply make phone calls to friends at home with a trip report. That hallway is constantly full of debates and arguments, but the one that Dung "Gomer" Nguyen had just last week changed his life.

Moments before the start of Event 38, a $1,500 no-limit hold 'em event, Nguyen, who wasn't planning on participating, ran into a friend who offered to put up half his buy-in in exchange for a portion of the winnings. The Kansas amateur reluctantly accepted, bought in and ran through the huge field of 2,534 players to win his first WSOP bracelet and his share of the $607,200 first-place prize money. That chance encounter changed his life forever.

[+] EnlargeDung Nguyen
WSOP.com Dung "Gomer" Nguyen defeated the field of 2,534 in Event 38

As if the story wasn't intriguing enough, the 37-year-old Nguyen put an exclamation point on the story by simply dominating the final table that included some of the top pros in the game. He began the nine-handed action with 3.2 million in chips, nearly a third more than the second-place stack of Theo Tran. By the time seven remained, Nguyen had 5.5 million in chips and at five-handed, he had more than six million. It didn't matter if his opposition was two-time bracelet winner David Pham, Blair Hinkle, Bahman Jahanguiri and Theo Tran, the amateur held his own and made the most out of the unique and unexpected opportunity.

"Part of it was just falling right today," Nguyen said to the WSOP. "I don't know, maybe it was just destiny. And I wasn't even going to play."

Nguyen was born in Vietnam and moved to New Orleans when he was three months old. He currently lives in Kansas working on a variety of odd jobs to make a living and his poker résumé consisted of a focus on $1-$3 limit poker and just a few tournaments. Nguyen goes to the WSOP each year not to put in a full schedule, but to accompany his boss. He was approached with an opportunity and became the legendary amateur story facing a life-changing moment against some of the best in the world.

While it may have appeared that Nguyen was calm and collected, he admitted afterward that making a final table appearance was very stressful.

"I was really nervous," he said. "I don't play many tournaments, and this is as deep as I have ever gone in any tournament, so I was pretty nervous. I came to the final table with the chip lead, knowing I was just going to keep playing small-pot poker with them. I mean, I just play my own style."

Tran nearly got back into the heads-up battle, but his A-K couldn't hold against Nguyen's Q-10 on final hand (Nguyen hit a 10 on the turn). Tran has cashed in the WSOP 18 times and has made five final tables. He also unfortunately owns the honor of finishing second in two WSOP events with the first coming in a $1,000 re-buy event in 2007.

Other notable finishers included Scott Clements (10th), Layne Flack (23rd) and Lauren Kling (31st).

Below are the complete results of Event 38 at the 2012 World Series of Poker:

Event 38: No-limit hold 'em
Buy-in: $1,500
Entries: 2,534
Prize pool: $3,420,900
Players in the money: 270

1. Dung Nguyen ($607,200)
2. Theo Tran ($377,565)
3. Bahman Jahanguiri ($267,241)
4. Blair Hinkle ($192,734)
5. David Pham ($140,736)
6. Kristijonas Andrulis ($103,995)
7. Zachary Korik ($77,791)
8. Jeffrey Manza ($58,874)
9. Tyler Patterson ($45,087)
10. Scott Clements ($34,927)
11. Matthew Pierce ($34,927)
12. Ricky Crandell ($34,927)
13. Miguel Proulx ($27,367)
14. Marcus Gurley ($27,367)
15. Mihails Morozovs ($27,367)
16. Blake Cahail ($21,689)
17. Michael Borovetz ($21,689)
18. Jesse Wilke ($21,689)
19. Jason Lester ($17,378)
20. Bastian Fischer ($17,378)
21. Jia Liu ($17,378)
22. Christopher Bonita ($17,378)
23. Layne Flack ($17,378)
24. Aharon Shabtay ($17,378)
25. Ardys Reed ($17,378)
26. Michael Palamidessi ($17,378)
27. Fred Kulikowski ($17,378)
28. Keven Stammen ($14,094)
29. Simeon Naydenov ($14,094)
30. Joshua Weiss ($14,094)
31. Lauren Kling ($14,094)
32. Scott Augustine ($14,094)
33. Sam Razavi ($14,094)
34. Samuel Lee ($14,094)
35. Joseph Dipascale ($14,094)
36. Nicolas Cardyn ($14,094)
37. Martin Feijo ($11,563)
38. Grayson Ramage ($11,563)
39. Isaac Haxton ($11,563)
40. Anthony Minniti ($11,563)
41. Thomas Kaplan ($11,563)
42. Jesse Yaginuma ($11,563)
43. Karl Dawson ($11,563)
44. Ilan Boujenah ($11,563)
45. Timothy Good ($11,563)
46. Travell Thomas ($9,579)
47. Dmitry Kuzmin ($9,579)
48. Adam Sanders ($9,579)
49. Dwight Farrell ($9,579)
50. Justin Barnum ($9,579)
51. Anthony Ruberto ($9,579)
52. Rodney Pickering ($9,579)
53. Pete Crisp ($9,579)
54. William Migely ($9,579)
55. Timothy Liddell ($8,005)
56. Alessandra Dos Santos ($8,005)
57. Scott Shelley ($8,005)
58. Joseph Hunter ($8,005)
59. Steven Tabb ($8,005)
60. Mark Martin ($8,005)
61. Steven Tripp ($8,005)
62. Buffy Shapiro ($8,005)
63. Steven Gurney-Goldman ($8,005)
64. Jim Collopy ($6,773)
65. Matthew Beisner ($6,773)
66. Francisco Rios ($6,773)
67. Daniel Cai ($6,773)
68. Ashton Berner ($6,773)
69. Kane Lai ($6,773)
70. Dan Smith ($6,773)
71. Ivan Mamuzic ($6,773)
72. James Bolender ($6,773)
73. Nicholas Mitchell ($5,781)
74. Jason Senti ($5,781)
75. Jeffrey Fielder ($5,781)
76. Joe Warling ($5,781)
77. Jarrod Blackwell ($5,781)
78. Tarek Riester ($5,781)
79. Slaven Popov ($5,781)
80. Mike Leah ($5,781)
81. Michael Schneider ($5,781)
82. Sami Banizuraij (4,995)
83. Anton Morgenstern (4,995)
84. Vitor Coelho (4,995)
85. Stephane Tayar (4,995)
86. Mickael Morgousky (4,995)
87. William Jones (4,995)
88. Jose Franco (4,995)
89. Payman Moughaddas (4,995)
90. Michael Benvenuti (4,995)
91. Evan Krentzman ($4,345)
92. Eoghan O'Dea ($4,345)
93. Nicky Evans ($4,345)
94. Mark Smith ($4,345)
95. Arie Miller ($4,345)
96. Donald Yucius ($4,345)
97. Michael Cordell ($4,345)
98. Jeffrey Davis ($4,345)
99. Elon Diamond ($4,345)
100. Eric Dubreuil ($3,831)
101. Waldemar Essig ($3,831)
102. Assani Fisher ($3,831)
103. Brian Seibert ($3,831)
104. Nabih Zaczac ($3,831)
105. Ivan Holmes ($3,831)
106. Andrew Stringer ($3,831)
107. Andrew Pauka ($3,831)
108. Steven Fox ($3,831)
109. Jordan Morgan ($3,831)
110. Robert Cole ($3,831)
111. Thomas Decker ($3,831)
112. Benjamin Zamani ($3,831)
113. Kenji Tsukamoto ($3,831)
114. Petr Bartagov ($3,831)
115. Jason Potter ($3,831)
116. Joshua Schiffman ($3,831)
117. Christopher Gamboa ($3,831)
118. Teddy Conner ($3,831)
119. Wai Lau ($3,831)
120. Kory Kilpatrick ($3,831)
121. Andrea Vezzani ($3,831)
122. Kwinsee Khoa Tran ($3,831)
123. Sammy Colwell ($3,831)
124. Robert Hillman ($3,831)
125. William Mietz ($3,831)
126. Ryan Smith ($3,831)
127. Stacey Nutini ($3,831)
128. John Knipfer ($3,831)
129. William Gottman ($3,831)
130. Richard Toth ($3,831)
131. Filipp Khavin ($3,831)
132. Scott Sitron ($3,831)
133. Tommy Vedes ($3,831)
134. Matt Affleck ($3,831)
135. Rock Cloutier ($3,831)
136. Michael Newport ($3,421)
137. Timothy Farrelly ($3,421)
138. James Page ($3,421)
139. Michael Swimelar ($3,421)
140. Steven Moreau ($3,421)
141. Ted Jivkov ($3,421)
142. Fernando Furlaneti ($3,421)
143. Mike Sica ($3,421)
144. Aneris Adomkevicius ($3,421)
145. Leo Whitt ($3,421)
146. Behnam Patros ($3,421)
147. Dario Derenzi ($3,421)
148. Artem Kobylynskyi ($3,421)
149. Richard Barone ($3,421)
150. Keith Block ($3,421)
151. Keir Ratcliff ($3,421)
152. John Morstad ($3,421)
153. Will Failla ($3,421)
154. Robert Pisano ($3,421)
155. Priyan de Mel ($3,421)
156. Gergely Meszaros ($3,421)
157. Aaron Christman ($3,421)
158. Diego Alvarez ($3,421)
159. Nelder Carvalho ($3,421)
160. Brian Kee ($3,421)
161. Jeanphilippe Matte ($3,421)
162. David Levy ($3,421)
163. Jonah Miller ($3,421)
164. Jonathan Cohen ($3,421)
165. Alex Jennings ($3,421)
166. Richard Osborne ($3,421)
167. Edward Lowitzki ($3,421)
168. Sarah Beard ($3,421)
169. Peter Rho ($3,421)
170. Jean Ledoux ($3,421)
171. Shane Bolda ($3,421)
172. Andrew Pruitt ($3,421)
173. Will Jaffe ($3,421)
174. Kenny Phan ($3,421)
175. Romuaid Pycior ($3,421)
176. Jarred Solomon ($3,421)
177. Stefano Ricci ($3,421)
178. Scott Schwalich ($3,421)
179. Denys Drobyna ($3,421)
180. Steve Karp ($3,421)
181. Henrik Thuesen ($3,079)
182. Billy Rogers ($3,079)
183. Philippe Boucher ($3,079)
184. Jared Lawrence ($3,079)
185. Patricia Johnson ($3,079)
186. Sebastian Pollack ($3,079)
187. Jason Montague ($3,079)
188. Douglas Steller ($3,079)
189. Yordan Mitrentsov ($3,079)
190. Jonathan Tamayo ($3,079)
191. Ari Engel ($3,079)
192. Reinaldo De Santanna ($3,079)
193. Hunter Frey ($3,079)
194. Alex Phahurat ($3,079)
195. David Lanes ($3,079)
196. Carlo Braceros ($3,079)
197. Eric Baldwin ($3,079)
198. Allen Wiseman ($3,079)
199. Darryl Ronconi ($3,079)
200. Paul Renfrow ($3,079)
201. Kevin Miller ($3,079)
202. Timothy Adams ($3,079)
203. Juan Pastor ($3,079)
204. Dylan Wilkerson ($3,079)
205. Jacob Brenden ($3,079)
206. Todd Tritsch ($3,079)
207. Vince Burgio ($3,079)
208. Elijah Pena ($3,079)
209. Camile Pontillo ($3,079)
210. Ray Foley ($3,079)
211. Frank Vulpis ($3,079)
212. Jason Mayfield ($3,079)
213. Ross Myers ($3,079)
214. Richard Willoughby ($3,079)
215. Jeffrey Carlson ($3,079)
216. Dennis Yeary ($3,079)
217. Harrison Gimbel ($3,079)
218. Anthony Ruffolo ($3,079)
219. Edward Hansen ($3,079)
220. Arthur Lim ($3,079)
221. Jose Ruizdominguez ($3,079)
222. Jacob Panzeri ($3,079)
223. Charlie Dawson ($3,079)
224. Shawn Payne ($3,079)
225. Mohsin Charania ($3,079)
226. Tonya Baltazar ($2,771)
227. Matthew Huey ($2,771)
228. Kou Vang ($2,771)
229. Istvan Toro ($2,771)
230. Gabriel Nassif ($2,771)
231. Andrew Jackson ($2,771)
232. Cory Carlson ($2,771)
233. George Broussard ($2,771)
234. Anthony Rubio ($2,771)
235. Philip Tom ($2,771)
236. Andrew Dean ($2,771)
237. Joseph Sanchez ($2,771)
238. Carlos Heller ($2,771)
239. Fred Goldberg ($2,771)
240. Tony Cousineau ($2,771)
241. Thomas Ahern ($2,771)
242. Mike Fraser ($2,771)
243. David Miscikowski ($2,771)
244. Dane Canelas-Miller ($2,771)
245. Duane Yoshioka ($2,771)
246. Christian Steen ($2,771)
247. David Levi ($2,771)
248. Perry Lin ($2,771)
249. Bill Varga ($2,771)
250. Charles Nelson ($2,771)
251. Martin Diaz ($2,771)
252. Scott Petersen ($2,771)
253. Stephen Graner ($2,771)
254. Jeffrey Tanouye ($2,771)
255. Gregory Marcus ($2,771)
256. Nicholas Wong ($2,771)
257. In Sun Geoum ($2,771)
258. John Clark ($2,771)
259. Park Yu Cheung ($2,771)
260. David Schwind ($2,771)
261. Candido Pondo ($2,771)
262. John Cossin ($2,771)
263. Christopher Rauscher ($2,771)
264. Scott Epstein ($2,771)
265. Qinghai Pan ($2,771)
266. Jorge Fregoso ($2,771)
267. Jason Lester ($2,771)
268. Steven Silverman ($2,771)
269. Kyle Burnside ($2,771)
270. Matias Nilsson ($2,771)

Andrew Feldman is ESPN.com's Poker Editor. He is the host of the Poker Edge Podcast and co-host of ESPN Inside Deal. Andrew has covered the poker industry for ESPN since 2004.

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