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When I Was A Donk: Danny Wong

by Julio Rodriguez |  Published: Jun 20, 2018


Danny Wong In this series, Card Player asks top pros to rewind back to their humble beginnings and provide insights regarding the mistakes, leaks, and deficiencies that they had to overcome in order to improve their games.

Danny Wong burst onto the live tournament scene with a big second-place finish at the Bellagio Cup back in 2006, earning $561,115. The L.A. poker pro then won a $2,500 prelim at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic for another $319,420, before returning to the Bellagio Cup final table the next year, taking third for $361,480.

In addition to a win at the Legends of Poker and another final table at the WPT World Poker Challenge, Wong also went deep in the 2012 World Series of Poker main event, banking $465,159 for finishing 14th. Wong has come close to winning a bracelet on a few occasions, taking fifth in the 2008 $1,500 limit hold’em shootout event, fourth in the 2009 $5,000 no-limit hold’em shootout event, and third in the 2017 $1,500 pot-limit Omaha event. Most recently, Wong took third in the 2018 Wynn Classic main event to bring his total live tournament earnings to more than $3.3. million.

Here, Wong talks about an ICM error he made at a big World Poker Tour final table.

“I think if I look back at some of the bigger spots in my career, I can definitely come up with some hands I should have played differently, or even just hands I shouldn’t have played at all.”

“One situation that pops up in my mind is the World Poker Tour final table I made at the 2007 Bellagio Cup. I was three-handed with Mike Matusow and Kevin Saul, and I ended up playing a big pot with Kevin.”

“I flopped two pair, and he flopped bottom pair with a flush draw, but the turn gave him a better two pair and we got it in. It was kind of a terrible spot to get it in, because Mike didn’t have many chips.”

“Looking back on it, it was almost definitely an ICM (Independent Chip Model) error on my part, but we weren’t really looking at final table decisions quite yet like that back in 2007. It also didn’t help that I was younger and more reckless at the time. You know, the money matters more as you get older.”

“Poker is getting tougher and tougher to beat, so you need to make sure you clean up those little leaks when you can. Minimizing your mistakes, picking your spots, and playing in a way that makes it hard to exploit you, is how you stay in this game.” ♠