We recently sat down with Tri "slowhabit" Nguyen to talk about poker, writing strategy books, his love of food, and restaurants he'd most like to visit.
For the readers who don't know much about you, give us a background about yourself and how you got into poker and writing books?
My family left Vietnam on a boat when I was five. I arrived at in the US at age ten. I went to college at Berkeley and found poker during my sophomore year. I turned pro after graduation. After playing for about two years, I started writing books because I have always loved the idea of running a business.
You wrote the book "Let Their Be Range" with Cole South. Tell us how that came about and what exactly the book goes over as Cole is one of the best players in the world.
Let There Be Range was originally meant for my students, players who were struggling at $1/$2 no-limit through $3/$6 no-limit and wanted to move up $5/$10 no-limit and higher. After I wrote a few chapters, I asked Cole if he wanted to help. He read what I had so far and really liked the structure of the book, so he came aboard. The book goes over advanced concepts such as construction of a range, combinatorics, and bluff-raising rivers. It also go in details the common mistakes small and mid-stakes players make. Lastly, the book allows readers to get into one of the best player's thinking process so that they know which variables they should look for when making a poker decision.
Very interesting and definitely a great accomplishment. Are there any big books in the works and can you tell us with whom if so?
We have a few books coming out. The newest one will be The PLO Workbook. This book teaches you how to crush small and mid-stakes pot-limit Omaha games online. It goes over advanced concepts such as visibility, the stop-n-go, and equity protection. There is also a quiz at the end to test your knowledge of PLO to make sure you really understand the fundamentals and to also see if your thinking process is sound. The PLO Workbook has contributions from other big winners online such as DC Executive Producer Dan "DJ Sensei" Morris and Bluefirepoker Coach Jason "PBJaxx" Senti.
Very nice. Those are some great coaches. A lot of people will be looking forward to it.
You went to an excellent school (Berkley University), what are your thoughts on players dropping out of college? The odds are very slim on being a successful player, plus the games are getting way tougher, and college is always a blast, do you agree?
I think anyone who has to ask whether or not they should finish school should finish school. Any time any player asks me, I always recommend finishing up your degree. College is a very rewarding experience and I agree with you. Most importantly, poker is the most fun and least stressful when it's not your "job." When you are no longer a student, you will instantly feel the stress because now, you feel the need to make money every day.
That couldn’t be truer! If you aren't playing poker or writing books, what might you be doing?
Playing with my dog and Googling the best restaurants to go to.
What type of dog do you have? And what is your favorite kind of food?
I have a black Labrador mix. My favorite food is probably sushi, though French cuisine comes in a close second.
What is your favorite travel destination that you have been too, and your dream destination?
I don't have a favorite destination yet, though the one-month missionary I did in Vietnam going from one village to another was memorable. I don't have a dream destination. I travel only because of the foods. My dream restaurant to visit is El Bulli.
Where is El Bulli and what is it exactly?
El Bulli is considered the top restaurant in the world for many years. It is located in Spain and the wait list is always full. It is almost impossible to get in to.
With all the traveling your doing whether it be in the car or plane, you must be listening to some music. What's on the iPod?
I listen to all kinds of music, mostly pop and R&B. Lady Gaga is a recent favorite and Party in the USA always put me in a good mood.
Who do you think are the top three no-limit hold'em players and the top three pot-limit Omaha players in the world right now and why?
It depends if this is 6-max or heads-up. I'll answer both. I want to say I don't play in these games but from talking to people who do, the consensus is: For 6-max no-limit, nutsinho, omgclayaiken, trex103. For Heads-UP no-limit, it's Ivey, Isaac Haxton, and Isildur1. For six-max PLO, it's Brian Townsend, OMGClayaiken, and Trex101. For heads-up PLO, it's Ivey, Durrrr, and Patrik Antonius.
Lastly, where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I'm probably at a random European restaurant enjoying tasty foods and good wine.
Tri, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. We wish you the best of luck in poker and in your writings!
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