Who Stakes Tom Dwan?
There are a few candidates for Dwan’s bankroll/backer Mr Big role, but let’s get the potential horror stories out of the way first...
As far as life stories go, they don’t come more colorful than Paul Phua’s, the billionaire businessman with a passion for poker rising through the ranks to become one of the most powerful men in Macau.
Wei Seng "Paul" Phua was born in Borneo, Malaysia back in 1964 and rose from poor beginnings through the construction industry and Kuala Lumpur backstreet gambling houses to running the world’s biggest bookmakers IBCBet.
It’s clear he moves in the highest circles, playing the nosebleed stakes in Macau along with Ivey, Dwan and a host of other big name pros – and Phua holds his own, a hard worker at the game he loves.
He had to work hard, as back in the mid-noughties he was just another rich whale, allegedly blowing millions along with business partner and fellow poker convert Richard Yong. According to English-Chinese bookmaker Tom Hall:
“Paul and Richard were the biggest whales in the world. They were losing $30 million to $100 million every year on baccarat. I said, 'Hey, you guys should try poker. You can play other players, instead of losing to the house'.”
In Brett Forrest’s incredibly detailed ESPN account of Phua’s dealings, he writes:
"They didn't know how to play. In Macau, there was no one to teach them. Phua and Yong gathered a small group of associates for regular games, these experienced gamblers teaching themselves this new game as they went along."
With 2011 and the Black Friday shockwaves which hit the poker world, the biggest pros were looking for new pastures – and Phua with Yong offered them untold riches and adventures in the Far East, not only leading to their own games improving but also offering business opportunities in the poker staking world.
Now, several years on, in tournament play, Paul Phua has over $4.5million in earnings – although every penny is from the Super High Rollers (from as far afield as London and Melbourne to Monte Carlo and Manila) taking down his first-ever tournament cash for £1million ($1,621,297) at London’s Aspers Casino in 2012 in the £100k buy-in event.
Whatever people might think of his business background and connections, his love for poker is evident, and the new Paul Phua Poker website and school is testament to his desire to explain the game at all levels to all players.
Video content interviews with Ivey, Dwan, Colman and others gives an insight into how the best players in the world think, while rules, strategy and general information fills out an increasingly popular hub for those interested in the game.
Phua is and will likely always remain one of the most interesting people ever to have graced the game of poker.
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Judge Gordon ruled that Paul Phua's privacy rights were violated by the FBI's ruse and reconfirmed inadmissibility of evidence
Big:T; he father – son duo of Paul and Darren Phua have been in the midst of a long and grueling battle with the legal system for months now, trying to get illegal gambling charges against them
Big:F;ederal prosecutors have found themselves cornered after the Magistrate Judge deemed that the evidence gathered against the father-son duo of Paul and Darren Phua was inadmissible in court.
Big:J;udging by the latest news, it seems that the Phuas’ gambit could prove to be a winning strategy after all. After the other defendants involved in the illegal football World Cup betting ring
Big:A;ccording to the latest reports, the father-son duo of Paul and Darren Phua have requested that the court allow them to play poker in the casinos while awaiting trial in the case tying them
The illegal sports betting case against Paul Phua took a new turn when it was revealed that a high-ranking Malaysian official penned a letter to the FBI, informing the feds that Phua, a high stakes
Big:T;he legal case against Paul Phua and several other defendants continues to meander through the justice system. Five of the eight persons accused of being part of an illegal World Cup betting