The Meteoric Rise and Catastrophic Fall of “The Prince of Poker”
Photo: Poker News
Scotty Nguyen, the self-proclaimed “Prince of Poker,” is one of the game’s most iconic players. Between his undeniable charisma and his skill at the poker table, he’s made a name for himself as a true poker legend.
He’s most well known for the famous table talk that won him the 1998 World Series of Poker Main Event. His phrase “You call, it’s gonna be all over baby!” will continue to ring down through history as it convinced his opponent to make a bad call, winning Nguyen the tournament.
But things don’t always go so well. Fame and fortune come at a price, a cost that Nguyen knows all too well at this point.
The Hero’s Journey, Rising to the Top
Nguyen, like so many poker stars, is a self-made man. He came to Las Vegas from Vietnam and got a job as a busboy. Though he hardly spoke English, it wasn’t long before he figured out how to crush the poker games.
By his account, he went from a poor busboy to a millionaire poker all-star in the span of six months. Now that’s the grind! He gambled his way to the top, playing with Johnny Chan and other legends while living in Caesar's Palace.In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Nguyen was one of the game’s biggest stars. In addition to dominating the table and winning high profile tournaments, his charm won him a loyal fan-base. He even went on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in April of 2004.
He had it all. That’s when things took a turn for the worse.
Struggling with demons
Behind all the glitz and glam of the life of a Vegas high roller, Nguyen struggled with drug addiction. Not only did it impact his personal life and decisions, but it also took a toll on his game. His skills started sliding downhill, and his finances diminished.
He kept using, and by 2012 he had filed for bankruptcy. The poker community was heartbroken to see one of the most beloved players struggle with the demons of drug addiction.
Since then, he’s kept a low profile. In addition to seeking help for his addiction, he’s tried to rebuild his life. It’s unlikely that he’ll ever have the same prominence as he once did.
Now he works in advocacy, sharing his experience with drug addiction and hoping to make a difference for others who are struggling with similar problems.
The rise and fall of The Prince of Poker is a cautionary tale about the dangers of fame and living life in the fast lane.
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