On October 28, 1962, Scotty Nguyen saw his first light in Nha Trang, Vietnam. His first years of life were difficult with war escalating, unrest, and conflict between South and North Vietnam. Scotty spent his early years in Vietnam until his parents took the arduous journey by boat to travel to America when he was 14. Adjustment was tough for the youngster and he drifted between host families before he settled with a family in Orange County, California. He struggled to fit in, did badly in high school as he discovered poker, and realized the possibility of making money playing cards.
Leaving school behind after an expulsion, he started playing in back rooms and pool halls and attempted higher stakes. He managed to support himself playing cards and cleaning stables until he was 21. At age 21, he went to dealer school and subsequently hired by Harrah’s casino. He honed his poker playing skills by watching mistakes and methods of players he dealt to. He continued playing low stakes games building his bankroll.
In 1985 he had a bankroll of $1 million and could attempt his hand at high stakes poker. He clearly was not very effective with his handling of money as he was broke very soon after. Money also led to temptations and he struggled to overcome several other addictions in his life.
He managed success in small events in 1992, 1995 and 1996. In 1997 he won the L.A. Poker Classic. He got out of debt and overcame his difficulties in 1997, by winning the WSOP bracelet, in the 8-or-better, Omaha event. He started garnering a little bit of respect as well as a nice $156,950 payday.
The following year he won $1 million by winning the WSOP Main Event, which he needed backing for, but main thing was he counted in the poker world again.
In 2000, Scotty won an event at the World Poker Open, wins at the Oreland Open and the Legends of Poker along with an event in the WSOP all in one year. He was back on a roll and in 2004 he reached the final table in the PartyPoker Million Cruise, reaching sixth place overall. Later that year he finished fifth at the Mirage WPT Showdown. In 2005, he finished fourth at the WPT Poker Open just to win the Gold Strike World Poker Open the following year.
Scotty Nguyen has won over $11.4 million in live tournaments and is a respected player with worldwide recognition for his table antics and talents for over a decade. In 2004, he appeared on Conan O’ Brien’s television show, Late Night.
One of the highlights of his career to date is the $2 million win in the $50,000 WSOP HORSE tournament in 2008. In his career, he has won 18 WSOP finals tables and five WSOP bracelets. One cannot but add that he is one of the most interesting players at the poker table, extremely watchable especially on television, and a true rags to riches and controversial personality.
Both Scotty Nguyen and the poker world watches in anticipation about whether he will be awarded by the WPT Poker Walk of Fame as he has been nominated every year since 2009.