The rags to riches story of Men “The Master” Nguyen could be a good basis for a movie. In sum he had nothing but has been always trying to improve his life and now has everything. His life has always been full of obstacles and “bad beats.” But this man seems to be able to overcome any difficulty.
The Boat People Men Nguyen was born in Vietnam. At age 13 he quit school and began working as a bus driver. In 1978, when he was 24, he and other 87 Vietnamese people escaped from their native country by boat. The boat was only 13 meters long. They were sailing for three days and had almost no food. At the end of the third day they found themselves near a refugee camp in Pulau Besar, Malaysia. They and thousands of other refugees from Vietnam have been called “the boat people” afterwards. Later that year he recieved political asylum from the United States and settled in Los Angeles. He didn’t know a single word in English and couldn’t get a job for a long time. He took the English classes every weekday and finally became to find a job. He became a machinist. Money Machine One day in 1984 Men’s friend invited him to go Las Vegas on a junket. Men had played Stud in Vietnam, but its rules were quite different from the American version. “I didn't even know the term "buy-in"”, says Nguyen. “So I asked, "How much money do I need to play?" The floorman told me I must start with at least $300. I lost it. I bought in again and lost another $300.” But he fell in love with the game. He came to Vegas every weekend. He won and lost huge sums… but during the first year he was losing much more often. Those who knew him called him “Money Machine” because each time he lost all his money he ran to an ATM and withdrew some additional sum. The Master Men Nguyen has never read a single poker book. Neither has he taken poker classes. He has been taught by himself. “Probably I’ve got the gift from god,” he says. In 1986 he played his first tournament and finished eighth. The next year he won his first tournament at the Bicycle Club. With his poker winnings, he would open up a dry cleaning business and furniture store, but sold them in 1990 because they took too much time and didn't bring enough money. He began giving poker lessons instead. One of his students once called him “the young master”. “I’m not young!” Nguyen argued. Since then his students began calling him just “The Master”. Now he has 6 WSOP bracelets and has been voted the poker player of the year for two times. Charity Men “The Master” still loves his motherland. He visits Vietnam very often and does a lot of charity there. Besides building a Buddhist temple and separate housing for the monks with the help of his friend Danny Dang, Men recently enlisted the help of other poker players in order to build two separate schools — a kindergarten school and a school for third graders — in his hometown of Phanthiet. Men also sold commemorative chips to other poker players, raising more than $32,000 in order to help build the two schools in Vietnam.Three Of A Kind Daughters Now Nguyen lives with his family and seems to know how to use odds in real life. “I’ve hit the jackpot: three daughters three years apart were born on the same day and the same month,” he says. So, you’re the man… no, you are the MEN, Mr Nguyen!