Living the American Dream

Angel Vu Player Profile

Angel Vu, Playing Flight D
Angel Vu, Playing Flight D

Firing a fifth bullet in the opening event of the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, is a minor obstacle for Angel Vu (Daytona Beach, FL) in her pursuit of Player of the Year (POY).

“I feel like I’m living the American dream,” says Vu who only started playing tournament poker seriously earlier this year. This after coming to the United States from Vietnam in 2006, knowing very little English and even less about poker.

The current 2014 SHRP POY points leader is back tonight for another try at bagging chips after four failed attempts.

“I got real close last night (to bagging chips) at Level 14 with 100k, but my 2 pairs got beat by a flush and knocked me out. ” says Vu, who is as unlikely of a POY contender as you’ll find.

“People that come from my country, a third world country, we all pretty much have the American dream,” says Vu.

“We think of America as a different life, to take us to a new land of life,  living in air conditioning, driving in cars. In my country we have no air conditioning and riding a scooter. Just to be able to come to America and live my dream of making my life and my family’s life better is extraordinary.”

After four years of working six days a week at a nail salon for minimum wage, Vu was introduced to poker and wanted to learn the game well enough to deal it. She started as a chip runner in Daytona Beach and eventually became a dealer, all while playing the game recreationally.

Poker Dreams Come True

Angel Vu Wins at Hollywood, Tampa
Angel Vu Wins at Hollywood, Tampa

While the leaderboard standings features a WSOP bracelet winner in Marsha Wolak and current WPT Champion Mukul Pahuja, Vu is still learning the game.

Vu’s hobby became a bankroll builder earlier this year in the Seminole Hard Rock, Tampa Little Slick. She turned a $125 entry into a five-figure score as part of a final table chop.

Vu took the winnings and played the $560 opening event of the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown, Hollywood (April series), where she finished in fourth place for $63,000. An event she wouldn’t have played without the windfall.

“I was playing scared,” says Vu about her game prior to Little Slick. “I was playing tight and trying to min cash.”

Since then, Vu’s been on a tear.

During the June series in Tampa Vu learned she was in the running for the points lead after agreeing to a four person chop. Vu earned another $70,000 and was declared the winner, her second career win.

“I feel fortunate,” says Vu, “I’m running good the first time you guys have the points system.”

August Heat

Angel Vu
Angel Vu, Feeling Lucky

“Sometimes you go on a hot run and I believe luck comes in a bundle,” says Vu, “that’s why I want to really try and push it to the top this year.”

Vu says luck is only a small part of her success, and that aggression and women’s intuition are a big part of her game.

“Sometimes I don’t have the winning hand, but I would be able to use my skills to turn it into the winning hand,” she says. “So it’s not just luck the whole way through. Of course I have the luck on my side, the cards are going my way when I need it to, but I feel like I’m playing well too.”

Vu says this summer she’s gotten some coaching and that she’s working on the game’s math to improve her play. She also has a strategy for making a a run at POY.

“I will play every single event,” she says, “If it’s a HORSE event, I don’t know much about mixed games, I will play every event and I will play two, three bullets each event.

“My strategy will be playing very aggressive and try and build up chips very early and if I didn’t make it then I’ll just rebuy.”

Vu has taken a leave of absence from dealing and is focusing solely on playing. And no matter what happens this series, or the rest of her career, she sees herself as a winner.

“Whether or not I’m successful at poker, I feel that I’m lucky enough to be in this country and to have the opportunity to learn and to improve myself in whatever I’m doing,” says Vu, while appreciating, “the opportunity to prove yourself, to work hard and get rewarded for your effort.”

Turning a $125 Little Slick entry into the Seminole Hard Rock POY, would be both the American dream and a poker player’s dream.

But first things first, advancing to Day 2 of this opening event.

“I believe I will bag, it’s just matter of time,” says Vu.