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'The Master' In the Top Five

Men Nguyen Joins Some Exclusive Company in the Race for Poker's MVP

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With a nickname like "The Master," it is no surprise that top-flight poker professional Men Nguyen is now in contention for the Card Player Player of the Year award.

Nguyen's second-place finish to Quoc Al "Vinnie" Vinh at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit event at Caesar's Indiana on November 2 earned him 520 points and has moved him into the number three slot, formerly held by Ted Forrest.

The recent departure of Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi and Erick Lindgren - both players who were in the top five due in large part to their performances early in the season - from the top five proves that the closing speed Nguyen is showing is an important attribute for anyone hoping to win the Player of the Year award. Lindgren has dropped two spots in two weeks, first giving up his spot at number four to buddy Gavin Smith, and now relinquishing the five-hole as Nguyen's arrival pushed Forrest and Smith down one spot each. Meanwhile, Nguyen has made seven final tables in the past two months. Starting with an early September win in the $500 buy-in no-limit hold'em event at the WSOP Circuit at Harrah's Las Vegas, Nguyen went on to make three more final tables that month, adding two more in October, and, of course, one already in November.

Nguyen's most recent victory was his second $200,000-plus cash of the year, bringing his year's tournament earnings up to $834,725. "The Master" would certainly love to reach the million-dollar mark, while moving past leader John Phan.

Phan still leads Nguyen by 848 points, but can't be happy with a very hot, very experienced, and very masterful Nguyen blitzing the Player of the Year competition.

Rounding out the top five, Michael Gracz is still in second place with 3,522 points.

By Scott Huff