Scotty Nguyen was born in Nha Trang, Vietnam on October 28, 1962, and came to America when he was 14. Always a gambler, he was expelled for school for spending too much time in underground poker games. At 21 years of age he attended dealer school and got a job dealing at Harrahs. He was learning the game of 3/6 stud by spending his daily earnings. He was a self described “fish” at the time, but he loved the game.
Fortune would shine on Scotty in 1985 when he took a dealing gig for a no-limit Texas Hold’em tournament in Tahoe. He dealt by day, and played by night, building his meager bankroll to $7,000. But more then that, he felt invincible when he returned to Las Vegas. And it proved to be so, as he ran his bankroll up to $1,000,000 and eventually playing with the likes of Johnny Chan, Puggy Pearson, and David Grey.
Young Scotty was on top of the world. He used cash to purchase a Chevrolet Camaro for $17,000, a Corvette for $21,000 and a condominium for $60,000. He was living in Caesers Palace and winning $50,000 to $100,000 nightly.
But his party lifestyle and recreational drug and alcohol use got bigger with his bankroll. The rock-n-roll lifestyle was catching up to him. He became a full scale addict and soon was having a terrible losing streak. Nguyen ended up going broke and was sympathetically spared a room and $5,000 in cash.
Scotty Nguyen had to rebuild his bankroll after losing his million, and the road was long and hard. He persevered scraping away and found Mike Matusow as a sponsor for the 1998 WSOP main event. Matusow bought a 1/3 stake in Scotty Nguyen and was rewarded $333,333 when Scotty took first place. Nguyen made the memorable quote to his opponent Kevin McBride: “You call, it’s gonna be all over baby!” , McBride called and played the board and Scotty had a 9 for a larger full house. It was all over, Baby, Scotty had a second WSOP bracelet and huge bankroll boost.
Scotty Nguyen’s Main Event triumph in 1998 was followed immediately by tragedy. The very next day, one of his brothers was hit by a car back home in Vietnam, and killed. Scotty does not wear his 1998 WSOP championship bracelet, because of this.
Scotty Nguyen has won five WSOP bracelets. The latest in 2008 in the $50,000 HORSE World Championship. He won $1,989,120 in a tournament that has had much debate and controversy. Scotty Nguyen, quite simply, got drunk and acted like a jack ass. The rules are quite clear in the WSOP about the behaviors he displayed such as, cursing and berating players and staff. Scotty Nguyen has since apologized twice. The first time was not a very good apology, and Scotty insisted other where to blame. The second, was more sincere, he apologized for his actions and stated no one else was to blame.
The story of 2008 says a few things about Scotty. One is he still continues to struggle with substance abuse. Another is he is a good guy that will eventually self examine and correct his wrongs as best he can. The last is he can win a top-tier tournament drunk and belligerent against world renowned players, and that is not something all can do.
Scotty Nguyen is an amazing poker player, that is always animated and emotional when he plays. Like him or hate him, he brings an element to the table you do see in many player. As 3/08/2010 WPT 8th place finish in San Jose he has a lifetime tournament win of $11,139,157. We are sure this will grow in the future.