A roller coaster ride, a train wreck, a coronation, all describe Scotty Nguyen's triumphant ascension to the top of the poker world. A true gambler, Scotty could be a millionaire or homeless, depending on the time of day. Through trials, triumph and with a little help from those who believed in him Scotty Nguyen rose to become one of the highest earning poker players in history.
Born in Vietnam, Scotty came to the United States at the age of fourteen. School would not be his path to success as Scotty was kicked out of school for lack of attendance. He preferred spending his days playing in underground poker games, rather than applying his talents to the classroom. Upon turning 21, he followed his passion and enrolled in dealer school. To spite making nearly $150 a night dealing he lost most of his income playing $3-$6 stud after his shift. A self described "fish" Scotty never lost his love for the game or his itch to gamble.
His opportunity finally arrived in 1985 when he was invited to Lake Tahoe to deal a no-limit Hold'em tournament. He spent his days dealing and his nights playing, building his meager bankroll to $7,000. For the first time in his life, he was a winner. Scotty had found his game and quickly developed a sense of invincibility. Returning to Vegas Scotty's bankroll skyrocketed eventually reaching a million dollars. Word of a fearless gambler taking the casino by storm quickly spread, the legend of Scotty Nguyen had begun.
Before long Scotty found himself in games with Puggy Pearson, Johnny Chan and David Grey. Finally living the life he had always imagined he purchased a Corvette, Camaro and condominium all in cash. His estimated gambling earnings were between $50,000 and $100,000 a night. However, the good times could not last forever as Scotty struggled with addictions. After experiencing a prolonged losing streak, he again found himself broke.
A true gambler, Scotty didn't let losing everything stand in his way. He set out to rebuild his once mighty bankroll. His journey back to the top started at the 1997 World Series of Poker (WSOP) when he won the $2,000 Omaha 8 or better, garnishing a profit of $150,000. Sadly, Scotty's addictions continued to get the better of him and within a year he was once again broke. Leading up to the 1998 World Series of Poker he lacked the ability to even enter a small satellite tournament for the WSOP Main Event. Capitalizing on his past accomplishments, Scotty managed to convince Mike Matusow to cover the remainder of his entry fee. With nothing more than a chip and a chair to his name Scotty went on to win the 1998 World Series Main Event. He famously told his final opponent (Kevin Mcbride), "You call, it's gonna be all over baby!". Upon becoming champion, he paid 1/3rd of his winnings to Matusow, totaling $333,333.
Winning the WSOP Main Event solidified Scotty as a giant of the poker world. He continued his success on the felt, making several World Poker Tour (WPT) final tables before finally winning his first event in January 2006. The victory made him one of only 5 players to win the WSOP main event and a WPT title. His Success at the WSOP continued in 2007 when he placed second in the Seven Card Stud High Low Split 8 or Better. After the event Scotty revealed he hadn't played cash games in over 2 years because he didn't like the cutthroat environment. The revelation truly highlighted his evolution from a pure gambler, to a professional poker player. That same year he nearly repeated as WSOP Main Event champion, barely missing the final table busting out in 11th place. The finish earned him a $476,926 pay day. His tournament success continued as his lifetime tournament winnings have exceeded $11,250,000.