Scotty Nguyen Poker Challenge IV begins Nov. 1

Scotty Nguyen

The wealth of poker tournaments isn't limited to just the East or West Coast, which is good for the many people who can't make it to Atlantic City or Vegas. Beginning next week, the state of Oklahoma will be offering one of the bigger tournament events, featuring one of the premier stars of poker.

On November 1, the Scotty Nguyen Poker Challenge IV starts up, culminating with its $5,000 buy-in event, which will run Nov. 18-20.

"The Scotty Nguyen Poker Challenge is one of three large tournaments that we run each year," stated Chris Province, promotions manager at the Cherokee Casino in Tulsa, Okla., where the Challenge will take place.

"We have the Oklahoma State Poker Championships and the Cherokee Poker Classic, but the Scotty Nguyen Poker Challenge has been extremely popular since its inception a couple of years ago."

The 35-table poker room is renowned in the area for spreading all disciplines of poker and the schedule for the Challenge reflects that its players don't want to only play Texas Hold 'em.

"Many players come from Texas, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Oklahoma, and they have told us they want to play the other games," Province said. "Thus, the Scotty Nguyen Poker Challenge reflects the wishes of our players, who are critically important to us. We even expand the poker room to 51 tables to get all the players in the game."

The Challenge features a unique "Jack and Jill" Hold'em tournament to start the festivities on Nov. 1 and will also have tournaments in Omaha (Limit, Pot-Limit and Hi/Lo), Seven-Card Stud and H.O.R.S.E. as well as Limit, Pot-Limit and No-Limit Texas Hold'em tournaments.

Buy-ins for the tournaments also won't put tremendous stretches on the bankrolls of poker players. The smallest tournament buy-in is $100+$10 and, other than the $5,000 championship event, the other buy-ins range from $150 to $3,000 (all tournaments have a 10% vig and 3% of the buy-ins are taken out in a staff appreciation fee).

"We definitely treat the poker players special, like they used to be in the casinos," Province said.

The smaller buy-ins also create large prize pools that can reach $150,000 for certain tournament events.

Professional poker player Scotty Nguyen, the namesake of the tournament, is very active during the run of the tournament.

"Scotty normally will play anywhere from four to seven of the tournaments," Province said. "For the tournaments that he isn't playing in, he definitely makes a point to go around the poker room and wishes the players good luck ... He is very involved with the event, whether he is playing or not."

Challenge won't be lacking in these tournaments either, especially in the championship event. The second Challenge was won by professional player Nam Le, who came back to defend his title during the third Challenge this May.

After the 91-player starting field was whittled down, the final table featured the defending champion Le as well as fellow poker professionals Tony Cousineau and Thang "Kido" Pham. In the end, it came down to Pham (who has also been a champion on the World Series of Poker Circuit) and Le, with Kido taking the title.

Pham should be back to defend his Challenge championship along with a contingent of poker pros who have been to the tournament in the past.

"We have had Alex Jacob, Clonie Gowen, Mike Matusow, Linda Johnson and Jan Fisher here [in the past] and have heard they will be making the effort to be here this year," said Province. "Also, along with Scotty, fellow former World Champion Berry Johnson (1986) will be here as well."

The tournament director will be Jimmy Sommerfeld, widely recognized as one of the best TDs in the poker community.

The championship event of the Scotty Nguyen Poker Challenge IV will definitely be one of the tougher fields around, but the entirety of the tournament schedule will feature some of the best players in the Midwestern United States.

The Cherokee Casino is expecting around 5,500 players for this year's version of the tournament, generating total prize pools that should exceed the $2 million mark. So for a chance to enter into one of the toughest tournaments around, be sure to learn more about the Scotty Nguyen Poker Challenge IV at

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