“You call it’s gonna be all over baby.” This is one of poker’s most iconic lines, said by poker player Scotty Nguyen moments before he won the 1998 WSOP Main Event. That line launched a career for the pro who gained even more popularity in the poker boom. However, his career has not gone without a bit of drama. Let’s learn more about the controversial poker legend.
Scotty Nguyen Before Poker
Scotty Nguyen was born in Nha Trang, Vietnam in October of 1962. His mother sent him out of the country to Taiwan as a child due to political unrest in the nation. He came to the United States at the age of 14, where he picked up poker as a teenager. In fact, he was expelled from school for spending too much time in underground poker games. By 21, Nguyen had a job as a dealer at Harrah’s poker room. This is where his passion for playing poker professionally developed, despite the fact that he was a self-admitted fish. However, a move to Tahoe was just what he needed, where he improved his game and his bankroll before returning to Vegas to battle with poker’s biggest names, including Johnny Chan, Puggy Pearson, and David Grey. After that, Nguyen was ready to bring his bankroll to Vegas, where he experienced the highest of highs, and also some lows.
Success at the WSOP
Nguyen would go through his bankroll more than once before his first big score at the WSOP which came in a $2,000 Omaha 8-or-Better Event for $150,000. However, come the following year, that money was all gone yet again, and he even needed help to buy into a small satellite for the Main Event. Poker pro Mike Matusow put up a third the buy-in, and as result, he took home $333,333 when Nguyen won $1,000,000 at the 1998 Main Event. This event is where Nguyen's infamous line mentioned above was uttered.
On the final hand of the 1998 World Series of Poker's Main Event, there was a full house on the board (8♣ 9♦ 9♥ 8♥ 8♠). Nguyen moved all in, and while his opponent Kevin McBride was thinking, Nguyen said "You call, it's gonna be all over baby!" McBride called, saying "I call. I play the board." Nguyen beat McBride with a better full house by holding 9♣ J♦. Nguyen’s five WSOP bracelet wins can be viewed below.
|1997||$2,000 Omaha 8-or-Better||$156,959|
|1998||$10,000 Main Event||$1,000,000|
|2001||$2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha||$178,480|
|2001||$5,000 Omaha 8-or-Better||$287,580|
|2008||$50,000 HORSE World Championship||$1,989,210|
Breakdown of Nguyen’s Five World Series of Poker bracelets
Controversy in 2008
The final bracelet on that list is Scotty’s biggest cash of his career, netting him nearly $2,000,000, and while it should be one of his poker fondest memories, many look back at that event with shock and disgust. That is because Nguyen, who has been open about his problems with drugs and alcohol in the past, was drunk and antagonistic at the final table. Since then, Nguyen has made great strides, cutting down on his drinking in general, and has said he no longer drinks when he is playing poker on television.
Despite the fact that he was clearly impaired, Nguyen proved he was still a top poker player in the world at that time, beating a stacked final table that included Erick Lindgren (3rd), Matt Glantz (4th), Lyle Berman (5th), Barry Greenstein (6th), and fellow WSOP Main Event champion Huck Seed (7th). Many of these players likely gained valuable Mixed Game experience by playing cash games on Pokerstars.
Just a year later, Nguyen proved his prowess in the Mixed Games was not a drunken fluke, as he took down the inaugural LA Poker Classic $10,000 H.O.R.S.E World Championship at the Commerce Casino, which earned him $339,743. Overall, Nguyen has $12,725,192 in tournament winnings contributing to his net worth, though this was won over decades of playing. It's estimated that now his current net worth is about $11,000,000.
Nguyen Still Going Strong Today
Unlike several of the stars of the poker boom in the post Chris Moneymaker era (Nguyen actually went deep in that Main Event finishing 18th for $55,000), Scotty is still playing and cashing consistently on some of poker’s biggest stages. Nguyen has seven cashes at the WSOP since 2021, and nearly turned back the clocks at the $5,000 WPT Venetian Main Event in July of 2021, just missing out on the final table with an 11th palace finish for a cash of $72,410, his largest live cash since a 3rd place finish at the 2018 PLO High Roller Event at the WSOP. Nguyen was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2013, alongside fellow WSOP Main Event winner Tom McEvoy, who was the first winner of the event to earn his seat through a satellite. Nowadays you could win a satellite seat online on sites like AmericasCardroom, 888Poker, and GGPoker.
Nguyen has kept his personal life largely personal, but he does have five kids, two of which he has with his current wife Julie Nguyen. He and his wife have been together for nearly 20 years.