The $14million Dang Brothers: 10 Years and Six Restaurants Later

Of all the online poker legends to have graced the game, there is one special duo who stand out – brothers Di and Hac Dang – who between them won more than $14million and then…gave it all up to launch a string of seafood restaurants!

By: Andrew Burnett

In a recent ‘where are they now’ moment, the crushers of the online game a decade ago hit the spotlight in the Washingtonian. A wonderful feature article chronicles their rise through the ranks to the top of the game, followed by their remarkable decision to give it all up for food!

Here we’ll look at the poker careers of the siblings, one that sees them sit either side of Phil 'OMGClayAiken' Galfond on the online cash game all-time biggest winners list.

That beautiful beast of a graph belongs to Di, the elder of the brothers by one year and who had the nickname ‘The Human Calculator’ at school.

He’d use that skill and also need it during his poker career, racking up monster winnings during the heyday of modern online poker.

Full Tilt (Urindanger)

Profit: $7,411,127

Hands: 680702

Win/hand: $10.88

Most played game: PLO

PokerStars (ilvdnfl)

Profit: $677,527

Hands: 7812

Win/hand: $86.72

Most played game: PLO

Included in those remarkable numbers was the biggest recorded No Limit Hold’em pot in the history of the game, a record that stood for 12 years

…until it was smashed, twice in a matter of days, Dang’s 2008 AA v KK showdown against Tom 'durrrr' Dwan mirrored by Malinowski’s monster win against Addamo.

Dang was never a stranger to the biggest games in the world, whether live or online.

His ‘decade later’ revelations in the news recall a $500,000 buy-in cash game in Macau, Di turning up in shorts, t-shirt and a backpack stuffed with $1million in cash.

As Di revealed later: “Part of you is nervous, but part of you is like, Oh, man, I am printing money here in the long term. If I got my fair share of luck, then I thought I could win, like, $1 million, $2 million, $3 million in one night really easily.”

“I was like, Oh, crap—this is really big. That’s when it hit me: I’m playing in the biggest game ever in the whole world, by far.”

The happy ending didn’t appear that night, Di losing his backpack bankroll, but there would be other nights, and more than his fair share of happy endings.

Brother Hac, who followed Di into the game with the same skill and desire, would prove to be almost equally as profitable

Full Tilt (Trex313)

Profit: $6,579,566

Hands: 504218

Win/hand: $13.04

Most played game: PLO

PokerStars (1Il|1Il|1il|)

Profit: $2,045,723

Hands: 542465

Win/hand: $3.77

Most played game: PLO

Again it would be Tom Dwan featuring in the biggest pot won by a Dang brother, this time a ‘queens versus jacks’ showdown with perhaps the most disgusting river of Durrrr’s career

The Dangs were a well-oiled, money-printing machine, but some of those riches came easier than others – much of it courtesy of Cirque du Soleil founder and poker ‘whale’ Guy Laliberte.

“Whenever Guy logged in, the table would fill up in less than five minutes,” Hac explained, adding: “One of us needed to get a seat.”

The story reads like a classic sting: “We’d be like, ‘Oh, yeah, Guy just logged off and he played an eight-hour session, so he’ll probably be back in eight hours.”

As the Washingtonian feature explains it, they even ‘hired a personal assistant to bring them KFC or pick their siblings up from school’ and Di recalls winning $16k from Guy in 10 minutes while his friend stalled his dad’s unfamiliar stick shift BMW.

Little wonder that Guy would eventually tire of the online game, though not before losing an estimated $31 million.

As with many others, poker’s Black Friday would change almost every aspect of the Dang brothers’ lives.

That April 2011 the two had to make a decision – leave the US for another country to continue playing, or find a new passion.

Hac favoured Canada as many other poker refugees did, but Di had other ideas and they involved serving up seafood and no cards.

“I thought it would be very easy money. We’d be the owners, so we’d get, like, some status. You get a lot of girls if you’re a restaurant owner.”

That story is a little beyond our poker purview, but it’s enthralling in its own way and you can read all about it here to find out how crawfish and garlic noodles replaced flush draws and $million pots!

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