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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Where Are They Now – Chau Giang

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Where are They Now is a series of an in depth look at all poker players - not just the pros - as they travel through one long game. Some of the players profiled are deceased but not forgotten.

In the modern world of poker there is often the misconception that states if you are a very popular player you are also one of the best players.  In a large majority of those cases that may be the case, after all, you generally become known after winning a big tournament or two, especially if it was on television.  However, in a poker world not long ago, it was often the case that the best poker players weren’t known at all, while the worst players with the most money were the most sought after poker players, for obvious reasons.  Chau Giang is what we would consider a throwback to the days of old.  Within the poker community, Giang is well known and respected, but it’s this writer’s guess that if you put a roomful of novice poker players in a room with him, nobody would be able to name him.  That’s just the way Giang likes it.

Chau Giang was born July 2, 1955 in Vietnam.  As a child he had heard of the United States of America and the opportunities he could get there that he probably couldn’t get in his own country.  In his early 20’s, Giang boarded a small boat off the coast of Vietnam and made his way to America, eventually landing in Miami.  Upon his arrival he took a job as a cook, one of the things he enjoyed in his home country.  Still missing in his early life is any mention of poker and that’s because up until this point he was more concentrated on making a living for himself.  While in Miami he heard of a cooking position in Colorado that paid a lot more money than his current job.  Little did he know he would indeed be making more money, but not in the profession he originally thought.

When Giang got to Colorado he was asked by some of his coworkers if he wanted to play a little poker during downtimes and off days.  Giang, new to the game, reluctantly accepted, not wanting to lose his money, but to make friends.  However, Giang quickly became a constant winner at the game, often doubling and tripling his $160 a week salary he was making as a cook.  Word has circulated in high limit poker rooms that Giang won most of the money to be won in Colorado during that time period.  

Because of his newfound money he seriously began wondering if he could make a living doing this.  The next logical step for wondering if you are good enough is to move to the major league of poker, Las Vegas.

Most aspiring poker players generally enter Las Vegas with high hopes, and leave with their tail stuck between their legs, returning home to build up another bankroll, especially in during that time period of poker.  That’s why it’s even more amazing that not only did Giang not go broke, but he won $100,000 his first full year as a professional.  Giang focused on cash games, which he has done largely his entire career.  While he is considered a very good all around player, many agree that Omaha 8 or better is his best game.  

In Giang’s early part of his career he played a handful of tournaments, particularly the World Series of Poker.  In 1993, his second year of WSOP competition he won his first bracelet in the $1,500 Ace to Five Draw event, netting him $82,000.  But, despite his successes in the WSOP and a number of other high profile events in the early to late 90’s, including winning another bracelet in 1998, Giang’s main priority was cash games.

Understandably it’s impossible to predict how much money one has made from cash games like you can with tournament play; however, you can base their success by their longevity in the bigger games.  In other words, Giang can afford to play any seat in the house, including internet poker at Full Tilt, PokerStars, and Ultimate Bet.  Many nights have found him sitting in Bobby’s Room in the “Big Game” at the Bellagio.  Although he plays high stakes poker, he is very aware of the action in all the high limit games and many times will take a seat in a $100-200 game because the game is much better than one in a higher limit.  

While Giang was perfectly happy raking in huge pots in cash games, it was his son, Khang, that got him to move into more tournament play.  After the big boom of poker his son wondered why he never saw his dad on television.  Not wanting to disappoint his children, he threw his hat into the ring of tournament poker, and has had a pretty busy schedule since then, while continuing to play poker.  

Giang wasted no time making a name for himself in the new poker world, taking down the $2,000 Pot Limit Omaha Event in 2004 for his third WSOP bracelet and $187,920.  That same year he also made the final table of a new wildly popular World Poker Tour event, ensuring his children would see him on television.  Despite his relatively short poker career, Giang has already cashed in 46 events in the WSOP and 13 money finishes at the WPT.  These numbers have equated to over three million dollars in tournament cashes.  That’s quite a long way from the $160 a week he was making as a cook.

Chau was also in the movie "Lucky You" and his role in the film is where he's at his best, in the player's seat in a high stakes game.

In this current day of internet gambling acts, and if it’s a game of skill or a game of luck, maybe some of the political powerhouses can listen to a quote from Giang to prove that poker is indeed a game of skill, “At the table I hear people say ‘poker is luck.’ That is 100 percent false.  If they are losing it is because they’re doing something wrong.  Poker is skill, it isn’t luck.  In the long run, day after day after day, you cannon get lucky all the time.”

Giang has managed to keep a low profile despite all of his good fortune, and as mentioned, that’s the way he prefers it.  While he prefers to not give interviews, he is always friendly to those who say hi to him, and at the table he’s been called nothing short of a gentleman.  A humble man from humble beginnings, we could only be so lucky in the ever changing world of poker where loud seems to equal better.  You'll find Chau playing at Full Tilt Poker, he's a PRO!

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