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Thuan "Scotty" Nguyen Biography

Scotty Nguyen Biography
by Chad Holloway of

Thuan "Scotty" Nguyen was born on October 28, 1962 in Nha Trang, Vietnam. At the age of 14, and encouraged by his family, Scotty boarded a boat for Thailand with the ultimate goal of reaching the United States. During an episode of Poker After Dark, Scotty explained his experience to his tablemates. According to Scotty, he and his fellow passengers were chased by the Communist police and ended up losing their way. They had only taken enough water, food, and fuel to last two days, just enough for a trip from Vietnam to Thailand. On the fourth or fifth day, they ran out of fuel and drifted aimlessly at sea. Scotty stated that boats would come by but refused to take anyone on board because of a fear that the refugees may be pirates. However, the boats would occasionally throw food overboard, which required Scotty and his fellow passengers to swim in shark-infested waters retrieve. During their twenty-second day at sea, food had run out and the passengers began making plans to eat Scotty's 12 year-old brother, who had fallen extremely ill; luckily, the following day a passing ship rescued Scotty and the other passengers and any plans concerning Scotty's brother never came to fruition.

Once in America, Scotty had a difficult time adjusting to a new culture, and reacted by developing a disruptive behavior. It was during this time that he began playing poker instead of going to his high school classes; moreover, it was around this time that Thuan adopted the name "Scotty" at the suggestion of an employer, who had thought Thuan was too difficult to pronounce. Scotty eventually took a job in a casino as a poker dealer, where learned invaluable lessons that improved his poker abilities. Scotty went on to win the 1998 World Series of Poker Main Event when during the final hand, with a board of 9-9-8-8-8, he exclaimed to his opponent, Kevin McBride, "You call, it's gonna be all over, baby!" McBride made the call, playing the full-house on the board, but Scotty held a nine for a better full-house and took down the $1 million grand prize.

Scotty's accomplishment was overshadowed the very next day by the death of one of his brothers, who was struck and killed by an automobile in Vietnam. Scotty no longer wears his championship bracelet because it serves as a painful reminder of his loss. Aside from his Main Event bracelet, Scotty has won bracelets in three other events (1997- Omaha eight-or-better, 2001- pot limit Omaha, 2001- Omaha eight-or-better) for a total of four W.S.O.P. bracelets. He has also had success in the World Poker Tour, making seven final tables and winning the 2006 Gold Strike World Poker Open. All told, Scotty has cashed in over 100 major tournaments and ranks among the highest-earning tournament players of all-time.

Scotty, who is nicknamed the "Prince of Poker," currently resides in Henderson, Nevada with his family and pet spider monkeys. He has had appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and in the 1999 film, Big Blind. Scotty, who has over $7 million in tournament winnings, continues to impress. During the 2007 W.S.O.P., he cashed six times and came close to a second world championship when he finished 11th in the Main Event (for $476,926).


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