Players have come from around the world to take part in this year's $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop, but few have come as far as "Hong Kong" Tom Hall. His nickname gives away his hometown, but it hasn't always been that way; in fact, Hall was born in Farnham, Surrey to a German mother and a Eurasian father from Hong Kong.
It wouldn't be until 1989 that Hall moved to Hong Kong, which is where he met his wife, with whom he has two daughters. It’s also where, in 2002, he and two partners, Chris Parker and Kan Tang, founded AsianLogic, for which he currently serves as Non-Exec Vice Chairman. The company started as a gaming consultancy firm assisting people hoping to do business in the Asia market, which led to relationships with companies like Betfair, DrHo888, and Playtech.
So how did the successful businessman find poker? That'd be when his friends Nam Le and JC Tran introduced him to the game.
“They taught me how to play the game properly,” Hall previously told PokerNews of his poker origins. “I learned tournament poker first from them and later on after the first time I played the Macau Big Game and lost they really worked on my cash-game strategy.”
Hall was one of the original players in the “Big Game,” which began at Wynn Macau back in 2008. Back then the stakes were much smaller at HK$1,000/$2,000 (~USD$130/$260), but that didn’t stop Hall from losing his HK$1,000,000 (~USD$130,000) buy-in that first session.
“I had no idea what I was really doing. I got really annoyed with myself as I felt that I was a better player than most at the table in those days. So Nam and JC developed a particular strategy for that game which they fine tuned as we went along,” Hall expounded. “I gave them a piece of my action in exchange for the training and we made a lot of money in the early days. I also played in the session during the 2010 APT, which really catapulted the awareness of the game to the poker community when the table was Paul Phua, Richard Yong, myself, Tom “durrrr” Dwan, Phil Ivey, John Juanda, Johnny Chan, and a few others. Matt Savage posted about it on TwoPlusTwo."
Nowadays that same game plays as high as USD$4,000/$8,000 to USD$12,500/$25,000, and due to stiffer competition and a busier work schedule, Hall doesn't play as much as he used to. However, he made it a point to clear his schedule for the Big One for One Drop.
“I wanted to play two years ago, but for business scheduling conflicts was unable to play. I don’t have the patience to play five-day or longer tournaments, but the chance to play in a capped-player, three-day event with some significant prize money at stake is a buzz for anyone,” Hall said of this tournament.
“Whilst I would still be a significant underdog in that event, with a bit of luck who knows what could happen…. All I will say is that if I do end up... [cashing] a decent amount of money, there will be some serious partying going on in Vegas after!”