Master hunts 7th bracelet, denies cheating

On the eve of a chance at his 7th WSOP bracelet, Men 'The Master' Nguyen defends himself against allegations of cheating.

The World Series of Poker Europe's £2,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em/Pot-Limit Omaha event played down to just five players Tuesday, including one of the game's most accomplished and controversial figures.

When play resumes in London Wednesday, Billy Baxter, Nguyen says he doesn't play the game for such honors.

"To be honest with you, making money motivates me; I don't care about more bracelets," he told PokerListings. "I already proved to the world that I am a very good player. I've won so many tournaments that I can't even count them all. I've won player of the year four times. I don't have to prove anything to the world.

"I came to enjoy myself here in England. I came to play with other players here in the UK and from Europe and make money. That's important, not that I can win more bracelets and show poker players and the whole world that I'm good. They already know."

Allegations of chip dumping, card marking and other unethical practices at the poker table have swirled around Nguyen for years.

To this day he denies it all.

"I see a lot of things they say on the Internet," he said. "If they say that in any magazine I'll sue them for slander, but I've never seen it. They slander me on the Internet, but I talked to my lawyer and he said they can say anything they want on the Internet.

Men 'The Master' Nguyen
'If I cheated do you think I would be able to go all over the world and play poker?'

"They are probably jealous. I earned what I won. I came to the United States empty-handed. I got what I won, I got my name out there and people just talk about me now. Show me. Catch me. Until they can prove it they should not talk about it. It's just gossip."

Nguyen fled communist Vietnam in 1978 and settled in Los Angeles, California. He started playing poker in 1984 and won his first WSOP bracelet in 1992.

A devout Buddhist, Nguyen reiterated that he would never cheat and never has.

"I'm a Buddhist so I am afraid to cheat," he explained. "If I cheat on anything it will come back to me. If I do something like that God will punish me.

"If I cheated do you think I would be able to go all over the world and play poker? They would kick me out of every tournament."

An emotional player at the tables, Nguyen has also been accused of being abusive to dealers and floor staff.

Again, Nguyen denies any wrongdoing.

"The problem is that sometimes dealers make mistakes and I just try to correct them," he said. "If you play with me at the table you will see how good I am and how nice I am. I will always be nice.

"People talk and they don't think. People say 'Oh Men, you did this or that,' but they don't know. The dealer comes in and maybe they don't change the deck, so I ask why they don't change the deck, because it's a rule. I'm just correcting mistakes."

Regardless of all the allegations against him, with $9,116,177 in career tournament earnings coming into the 2009 WSOPE, Nguyen sits 12th on poker's all time money winners list.

His 65 cashes at the WSOP also put him second only to Phil Hellmuth's 75, and when the final five players return to London's Casino at the Empire Wednesday, Nguyen will have a chance to add to his already stacked resume.

To follow all the action live from Leicester Square click through to PokerListings' Live Tournaments page beginning at 2 p.m. BST.

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