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Mimi (Thithi) Tran

Last Update: 2. April 2014
“I play against the player, whether they're male or female. To me it doesn’t make a difference, we all have the same opportunity.”
Mimi about being a woman in the male dominated poker world
Nha Trang, VN
Daughter Christina, son Alex
Los Angeles, US
Worked in the electronics industry, had to give up her job after a serious car accident
Spending time with her family, golf, travel
Soft Rock
Casablanca 1989 after quitting her job
Barry Greenstein
...she would end communism, mainly in Vietnam
...she would get rid of all abusive players at the poker tables
Was in a relationship with poker pro Barry Greenstein; taught Barry the vietnamese language; uses her poker winnings to support her family in Vietnam

Barry Greenstein discovers Mimi's poker talent

In 1989, Mimi was involved in a serious car crash which resulted in a handicap that made it impossible for her to continue doing her job. The first time she entered a casino was when a friend of hers succeeded in persuading her to join him for a night of gambling. Although Mimi lost large amounts of money regularly, she still took quite a liking to the whole casino experience. She had no idea of her tremendous poker skills – as she took no particular interest in the game, those had not yet been discovered.

Her extraordinary talent and passion for poker did not surface until she fell in love with poker legend Barry Greenstein. As one would expect, they met at a casino. Waiting for a table, the both struck a deal:

Barry would teach Mimi poker in exchange for her teaching him Vietnamese. Thanks to Barry’s instructions, Mimi Tran is now one of the most respected female poker players. As for himself, Barry was hoping that with his girlfriend’s help he would be able to communicate with some of his frequent tournament opponents from Vietnam. By now, by his own accounts, he has proudly mastered the Vietnamese vocabulary of a five year old. Tran and Greenstein still discuss who the better teacher out of the two of them is. Barry insists it is himself, while Mimi argues his greater successes as her teacher are only due to the fact that she is the better student... considering the outcome of their deal, she is probably right about that. Although Tran and Greenstein are not a couple anymore, they have remained close friends.

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Success at the tournament table

Mimi did not just learn to play poker from Barry, it was also him who first persuaded her to participate in tournaments. Until the mid 1990s, Mimi had played cash-games exclusively. In her first 15 tournaments, Mimi showed everybody she had done her homework thoroughly – she made it to two second places, had one fourth and one third place finish each and several more top ten finishes. Considering the high number of tournament entries and the immensely strong competition – especially at the WSOP - this is an enormous achievement for any player, and even more so for the tournament rookie Mimi Tran was back then.

At the 1998 WSOP, Mimi made it to fourth place in limit Hold’em and cashed roughly $ 70,000. At the 1999 WSOP she even finished second, again in limit Hold’em, taking home more than $ 100,000.

The following years, Mimi’s name was a fixture in the WSOP cash ranks and many other renowned poker tournaments. At the 2002 WSOP she was placed third in limit Hold’em and the following year she reached second place in limit Seven-Card Stud and earned approximately $ 50,000. Mimi made a fifth and sixth place at the 2003 WSOP, both times in limit Hold’em. Her fourth place finish in limit Texas Hold’em & Seven-Card Stud tournament at the Legends of Poker WPT Season 3 earned her a nice $ 12,000. That same year she took home almost $ 50,000 for reaching third place in the heads-up limit Hold’em tournament.

2005 was another successful year for Mimi – she entered quite a number of tournaments and finished “in the money” more frequently than ever before. Her fourth place at the WSOP Circuit Main Event (no-limit Hold’em) increased her bankroll by $ 190,000 while finishing fifth at the Bellagio Cup (also in no-limit Hold’em) made her more than $ 50,000 richer.

That same year, at the “Poker Superstars Invitational Season 2”, Mimi finished victorious, putting poker legend Doyle Brunson in second place. At that same event, she also defeated Carlos Mortensen and up-and-coming poker star Chris Moneymaker. Tran was the only woman to finish in the cash ranks at the first National Heads Up Poker Championship in 2005, leaving behind such gifted colleagues as Annie Duke, Jennifer Harman, Kathy Liebert, Cyndy Violette and Evelin Ng. Mimi eliminated Tom McEvoy and Chris Moneymaker, but dropped out in the semi-finals against Chris Ferguson. Even so, she took home a $ 25,000 share of the prize money.

Mimi made it to the top 10 in numerous tournaments, further consolidating her reputation on the tournament poker scene.

At the 2006 World Poker Finals of the WPT Season 5, Mimi Tran prevailed against poker celebrities like Daniel Negreanu and Kathy Liebert, taking home an incredible $ 472,228 for her third place finish. That same year she made it to second place at the California State Poker Championship, for which she cashed $ 35,147.

Even though Mimi Tran started her tournament career fairly late and has not been active for a very long time, her total winnings so far exceed 1.5 million dollars.

Cash-game specialist and girl power

As mentioned before, high stakes cash-games are Mimi’s speciality and the elite of cash-game players know and fear her as a particularly strong opponent. Even poker legend Johnny Chan, who does not generally have a high opinion about women in poker – acknowledges Mimi Tran is a good poker player. And coming from Johnny, this understatement is as great a compliment as you can wish for.

Numerous TV broadcasts are testament to Mimi’s extraordinary poker skills. And this, in turn, has helped other female players gain more respect and acceptance on the male dominated poker scene. To Mimi, it does not make a difference if she is up against a man or a woman:

„It means nothing to me because I play against the player, whether they're male or female. To me it's no different. We all have the same opportunity."

Her mentor Barry Greenstein is very proud of his protégé and accompanies her to tournaments whenever he can. Visiting PokerStars right now, you will benefit from your highly attractive BonusBonusBonus welcome bonus!

Mimi Tran is not just a natural at the poker table, she also exhibits great ingenuity in distributing the money she earns. Not only does it afford herself and her two children Christina and Alex a decent living, Mimi also regularly sends back a nice share of it to support her extended family in Vietnam. Family is Mimi’s highest priority, and so far she has elegantly handled both being a good mum to her kids and staying on top of her poker career. Her main wish for the future is to always earn enough money to support her family in the US and in Vietnam.

Mimi and her children live in Los Angeles, California. In her spare time, she likes to play golf and to read extensively. Her favourite film is "Casablanca", and as far as music is concerned, she prefers soft rock. When asked about her favourite spot in the World, Mimi simply states:
” I haven't been all over the world so I can't answer yet.”

The poker player she respects and admires most is – naturally – her mentor and close friend Barry Greenstein. She deeply appreciates her special connection with “the Robin Hood of Poker” and is grateful for everything Barry has taught her:

“He turned me into the person I am right now - a great poker player.”

If Mimi Tran could make any change in the world, she says she would abolish communism, especially in Vietnam.
And would she change anything in the world of poker? – “I’d get rid of all abusive players in the poker room.”

There is no doubt that Mimi Tran is a valuable asset to the poker scene and a great promoter for more respect towards women in poker. An immigrant of Vietnamese origins and a single mum who has taken difficult hurdles more than once in her life, Mimi Tran shows us every day just what a strong woman can be capable of. She has earned her colleagues’ respect and has found her place in the male dominated world of poker: up there with the best!

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