Meet Toan Trinh, St. Pete (Fla.) poker player

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There are many people eagerly awaiting the return of the Florida Million, and none more than Toan Trinh, who was third in last year’s event ($73K). Toan, who lives in St. Petersburg, is excited to make a run toward back-to-back final tables in this prestigious event. Trinh, who also has a final table in this year’s World Series of Poker circuit event at New Orleans ($7K), met with Ante Up’s Garrett Roth to discuss his poker career, his interests and his great run in last year’s Florida Million.

How long have you been playing and what are your favorite variations of poker? I first started playing poker at the old Seminole casino (in Tampa) back in 1997 when I was about 15 years old (fortunately, my brother and I look very similar). I learned how to play seven-card stud before I even learned how to play no-limit hold’em. I also enjoy PLO and O/8; they are probably my favorite games as of late.

What’s so special about the Florida Million over other events? The Florida Million was a great tournament. My favorite part about it was that it was almost like a rebuy since you were able to buy in on different days, even if you happen to bust the first session. This added a lot more money to the prize pool. Lucky for me, I only had to buy in one time and it was the best investment of my life!

What were some of the big hands that propelled you to the final table? One specific hand I remember was against November Niner John Racener. Surprisingly, it wasn’t a hand I won, but one that I folded. I picked up aces under the gun a hand after I had just showed down the same pair of aces. At 1K-2K blinds, I limped and ended up in a three way pot with the big blind and Racener. The flop came {k-Clubs}{q-Clubs}{5-Spades}. The big blind and myself checked, and John bet 3,700. The big blind then raised to 17K. I called and Racener reraised all-in for around 60K, followed by the big blind re-shoving all-in for 150K. I thought for a while and ended up folding aces. The big blind had {j-Clubs}{9-Clubs} and Racener had A-K. The turn and river were blanks and my hand would have held. The main reason I folded was that the tournament was a long way from being over. I still had 230K behind and I felt my tournament life was more important at that stage.

What are some of your future aspirations in poker? Well, first, I will definitely be playing the Florida Million again this year. They reward you with the great structure and the ability to play a lot of hands at the final table. My goal in poker is to win an event that would make me a millionaire. Anything is possible if you believe in it because the beauty of the game is that you don’t have to have any sort of educational degree to win a monster pot. Everybody has the same chance to win because we all breathe the same air. The only difference is some people’s pockets are deeper than others, but all it takes is one big double-up to get back in the game.