Poker Profiles: Hieu 'Tony' Ma
Hieu "Tony" Ma was born in Vietnam on November 30, 1957. In 1985, he moved to the United States and not too long after, he started on a Poker career. Tony previously held labor-based jobs, first as a welder then as a truck driver. In between performing his duties, he squeezed in some time to play Pai Gow Poker, the Chinese version of the popular card game. Although he has frequented the circuit for quite a time, it was not until 1996 that the name Tony Ma rang a bell.
Tony earned his first World Series of Poker bracelet in 1996's $5,000 Limit Hold'em event. That win was made even more interesting because of the side event that came with it. Apparently, he was offered a final table deal, which he obviously refused because, "I felt like I was going to win". He defeated T.J Cloutier, Johnny Chan, and John Bonetti towards the cash prize and the glittering golden bracelet.
Tony's successful finish at the 1996 WSOP sparked what has to become a colorful career filled with final table appearances and money cash ins. In fact, he made several successful takes not only at the WSOP but also at the World Poker Tournament. His successes proved to be worthy of a recognition so in 1999, Card Player magazine named him Player of the Year. The following year, in 2000, Tony stole another WSOP bracelet. This time, it was won at the $2,000 Limit Hold'em event.
What is more amazing about Tony Ma aside from his many Poker achievements is truly his heart. He knows what humility is all about and is never ashamed to admit that every thing he knows about Poker is learned through the senior players he watched at play. In fact, Tony's advice to aspiring players out there who are raring to snatch a win is to take note of every little thing they did at the Poker table. Both mistakes and good moves are worthy to look through. But it is through your mistakes, as Tony puts it, that you will be able to improve your skills. Knowing your wrong moves and having the motivation not to repeat them makes a probable winner. Tony Ma sure knows what makes a winner. He has proven that over and over.
Tony maintains a home in South El Monte, California with his wife and two children. He also enjoys singing and dancing when out of the Poker limelight.