Nguyen on Winning

Scotty Nguyen

Scotty Nguyen has more than $10 million in career tournament earnings.

But it’s more than money that motivates him.

“It’s not the money,” he told PokerListings. “When you win tournaments, fame and money come with it. For me it’s so important to bring home the title. You want to show the world you still have it, you can come out and compete.”

Competing is exactly what Nguyen has done this week at the WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic.

From a field filled with 329 of the biggest names in poker, just 16 players are still in the hunt for an almost $1.5 million first-place prize headed into Day 5 Friday.

Nguyen was among the leaders before a late fall from grace that has him short stacked.

However, he still retains a shot at making the final table and booking the win.

Nguyen’s $10,705,581 in career earnings has him sixth on poker’s all-time money winners’ list and a win at Bellagio this week would push him up to fourth all-time above Phil Hellmuth and only below Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey and 2006 Main Event champion Jamie Gold.

Nguyen has five World Series of Poker bracelets and this past April he finished sixth at the WPT Championship, marking his sixth WPT final table.

However, the 1998 WSOP Main Event champion still feels like he has to fight for respect.

“I get older and people lose respect,” the 48-year-old Las Vegas resident said. “They say I don’t have my game no more, I’m scared. All those young guns, 21 or 22 years old, they have big hearts, but Scotty has a bigger one, baby.

“They got nothing to lose. They’re bluffing you, they try to embarrass you and laugh at you. They say I’m too old and I should retire, but I don’t let that bother me. I let my game show them, baby. You can laugh all you want, but I am the one laughing all the way to the bank.”

Things haven’t always been roses for Nguyen. There was public scorn over a rather embarrassing finish to the 2008 WSOP $50k H.O.R.S.E. event where he has admitted his emotions and alcohol got the best of him.

Plus, like all poker players, he’s had downswings and periods when it felt like he would never win again.

But the man they call the Prince of Poker, who fled his native Vietnam in 1978 for the United States, says it’s the tough times that have made him a better poker player, and a better person.

“When you hit hard times and things don’t go your way, it can only make you become stronger,” he explained. “When my back is against the wall and I look around and say ‘what am I doing, I can’t win, what happened to me?’ I just rewind and think about what I’ve been doing wrong and know that I have to change it.

“Hard times, that’s what you learn from.”

When the cards hit the air at Bellagio Friday at 12 p.m. PT and the play down to the final six commences, Nguyen will have just one thing on his mind – Winning.

“I’ve seen it all in poker: Good times, bad times, happiness, sadness,” he said. “I just want to let everybody know, Scotty still has it. I have to go out there and show them. Not just talk about, anybody can say it, I want to show the people.

“I just have to trust myself and go out there and show it.”

To follow Nguyen and all the action from the WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic, tune into PokerListings’ Live Updates.

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