Scotty Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American poker player who won the 1998 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.
Nguyen has won five WSOP bracelets during his career, including 2008 $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship.
He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2013.
Nguyen was born in Vietnam on October 28, 1962. Because of the conflict in his home country, his mother sent him to Taiwan where he worked as a manual laborer. He was eventually able to receive sponsorship from a host family in the United States.
After arriving in the United States, Scotty found it hard to adjust to the living conditions. He changed host families and was relocated from Illinois to California. Despite the weather being more acclimating for the young Nguyen, he still found it hard to fully adjust.
He eventually left school to take up poker, playing in backrooms and pool halls around California before he made the jump to Las Vegas in his early twenties, where he worked as a dealer. After a few years, he quit dealing all together in order to focus on playing.
1998 WSOP Main Event
Despite picking up his first WSOP bracelet in 1997 in Limit Omaha Hi-Lo, Nguyen was broke by the time the 1998 World Series of Poker (WSOP) came around. Mike Matusow bought him into a satellite tournament for the 1998 WSOP Main Event which Nguyen won, earning himself a seat in the Main Event.
With the film 'Rounders' released in 1998, stars Matt Damon and Edward Norton both entered the tournaments, but did not last long, with Damon busted with pocket kings against the pocket aces of Doyle Brunson.
With three tables remaining, Nguyen was dominant and kept his foot to the floor as he eliminated player after player. By the time heads-up was reached against Kevin McBride, it was McBride who was in the lead. However, Nguyen's aggression saw him flip the script and move into a 4:1 chip lead.
The Final Hand
"You call, it's gonna be all over baby!" —Scott Nguyen
The 1998 Main Event is perhaps best known for its final hand. McBride raised pre-flop with and Nguyen called with . The flop came and Nguyen check-called a bet from McBride bet. The turn was the and Nguyen check-called another bet.
The river was the putting a full house on the board. Almost immediately, Nguyen moved all in. Standing up at the table, smoking a cigarette and swigging on a beer, Nguyen uttered the immortal lines: "You call, it's gonna be all over baby."
McBride thought for a moment. "I call, I play the board," he said. Nguyen flipped over his nine giving him a bigger full house, winning the tournament for $1,000,000.
After the tournament, McBride said that Nguyen's speech-play influenced his decision to call.
"I wouldn’t have called the bet," he said. "The only thing is Scotty said, 'If you call it’s all over.' I didn’t think he was telling me the truth, he was, it’s all over. It was a great play by Scotty… If he hadn’t said that, I would have folded the hand."
Tragically, Nguyen's Main Event triumph was overshadowed by the tragic death of one of his brothers back in Vietnam. For this reason, Nguyen does not wear his 1998 WSOP Main Event bracelet.
Scotty Nguyen Poker Achievements
Following his Main Event win, Nguyen continued to cash at the WSOP, picking up two more bracelets in 2001.He came close to making another WSOP Final table in 2007, finishing 11th.
In 2008, Nguyen won $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship at the World Series for $1,989,120. This was the second-highest first-prize in the tournament's history, and a joint-highest field size of 148.
Nguyen is the only poker player to have won the WSOP Main Event and the H.O.R.S.E. Championship.
He has come close to adding another bracelet to his collection, with a runner-up finishing the $2,500 Omaha Hi-Lo Event at the 2012 WSOP, and most recently with a third-place finish in the $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller in 2018 for $592,875.
Away from the WSOP, Nguyen has made several WPT final tables, winning the Gold Strike World Poker Open in January 2006 for $969,421.
Scotty Nguyen WSOP Bracelets
|1997||Event #8: $2,000 Limit Omaha Hi-Lo||$156,950|
|1998||Event #22: $10,000 NLHE WSOP Main Event||$1,000,000|
|2001||Event #14: $2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha||$178,480|
|2001||Event #23: $5,000 Limit Omaha Hi-LO||$207,580|
|2008||Event #45: $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship||$1,989,120|
Scotty Nguyen Top Five Poker Cashes
|June 2008||WSOP H.O.R.S.E.||$50,000||1st||$1,989,120|
|May 1998||WSOP Main Event||$10,000||1st||$1,000,000|
|January 2006||WPT Gold Strike World Poker Open||$10,200||1st||$969,421|
|June 2018||WSOP PLO High Roller||$25,000||3rd||$592,875|
|July 2007||WSOP Main Event||$10,000||11th||$476,926|
WSOP Main Event Winners 1989-98
|1997||312||Stu Ungar||United States||$1,000,000|
|1996||295||Huck Seed||United States||$1,000,000|
|1995||273||Dan Harrington||United States||$1,000,000|
|1994||268||Russ Hamilton||United States||$1,000,000|
|1993||220||Jim Bechtel||United States||$1,000,000|
|1991||215||Brad Daugherty||United States||$1,000,000|
|1989||178||Phil Hellmuth||United States||$755,000|