Posts Tagged ‘Bellagio’

Thoughts on the WPT Championship [Article]

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

[Scotty Nguyen, born October 28, 1962 in Nha Trang, Vietnam is a Vietnamese American professional poker player who is a five time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner, most notably as the winner of the 1998 World Series of Poker Main Event and the 2008 WSOP $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. World Championship. This win also made him the first and currently only player to win both the WSOP Main Event and $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. events.]


For those that do not know, this was my second year in a row making a deep run in the World Poker Tour Championship at the Bellagio, finishing 6th place last year and now 8th place in this year’s event. I came into the event this year just knowing it would take a lot to throw me off my path of winning for my fans and family.


I’d like to tell you about my thought process in my elimination hand because it had many different elements to it: With blinds at 40,000-80,000, and a 10,000 ante, I raised from middle position to 260,000, and David Benyamine called from the big blind. We both checked to the turn on a board of Jh, 10d, 6d, 8h, David bet 350,000, I raised to 1,150,000, and David moved all-in. I called with 8-8 for a set of eights, but David showed 10-10 for a higher set, and I needed to catch the case eight on the river to stay alive. The last card was the 7d, and David won the pot with his set of tens to eliminate me from the tournament in 8th place.


Now the first factor to consider is that David called my raise from the big blind. Because he already has some money invested, David might be calling to defend his blind, to see a discounted flop with a variety of marginal hands, or he might have an actual hand like a pair or big cards. A call with a real hand here likely means he wants to control the pot as best he can out of position. Now when David checks on the Jh-10d-6d flop, I consider putting in a continuation bet, but I decided that a check would be better.


With so many draws out there, betting could only build up a bigger pot if he has anything, as he would have to re-raise to protect from the draws. I wanted to keep the pot small even if I had the best hand since my hand was vulnerable at this point, so I checked as well. Now that turn card, 8h, is gin for my hand as it gave me a set and didn’t complete the flush draw on board. The 8h did complete a straight on board, however David would’ve had to played gap cards like Q-9 or 7-9 out of position and I just didn’t put him on that type of hand.


When David bets into me on the turn, it can mean many things. David could’ve checked a hand like J-10 on the flop with the intent of check raising, expecting me to bet any overpair to protect against the flush draw. David could have pocket 9’s or 9-10 for a pair and draw, and decided that here is the time to find out if it is good or not.


David could also hold two diamonds and want to bet to decide the price of seeing the river, instead of checking and allowing me to bet and decide the stakes myself. Finally, David could have 6-6, 10-10, or J-J. I raised to $1.15 million here because I need David to know that he cannot draw cheaply, and I want him to pay if he has a flush or straight draw. David would have had less than $1.5 million behind if he calls. When David moves all in over the top of me, I thought for a couple minutes.


There are three problems with David moving in here – the board texture, my stack size and my image. Because the board texture is so draw heavy, it makes sense for David to try and push me off my hand here with a draw, which makes it hard for me to fold a strong hand like trip 8’s. David also knew that if he pushed all in, I would be put to a decision for my tournament life. If I call and lose, I am out, so he could be using this bet as a power play to make me fold an overpair, an A-J, or any hand that might be marginal in this spot.


Finally, I had been playing good, solid poker all day, and David could shove knowing that I would only call with an absolute monster hand. With less than $1.8 million to call and around $4.5 million already in the pot, I was getting better than 2-1 in this hand to call, and this, coupled with every other factor prompted me to call. As you can see, there were a lot of layers to this hand, and many factors that led me to ultimately calling.


It was unfortunate that the hand played out this way and I am disappointed as I am anytime I come so close.


However, I will be back next tournament playing harder than ever to improve on my finish in this tournament baby!


Get your $600 poker bonus here baby!



WPT at the Bellagio with Scotty Nguyen

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

For those that do not know, this was my second year in a row making a deep run in the World Poker Tour Championship at the Bellagio, finishing 6th place last year and now 8th place in this year’s event. I came into the event this year just knowing it would take a lot to throw me off my path of winning for my fans and family. I’d like to tell you about my thought process in my elimination hand because it had many different elements to it:


With blinds at 40,000-80,000, and a 10,000 ante, I raised from middle position to 260,000, and David Benyamine called from the big blind. We both checked to the turn on a board of Jh, 10d, 6d, 8h, David bet 350,000, I raised to 1,150,000, and David moved all-in. I called with 8-8 for a set of eights, but David showed 10-10 for a higher set, and I needed to catch the case eight on the river to stay alive. The last card was the 7d, and David won the pot with his set of tens to eliminate me from the tournament in 8th place.


Now the first factor to consider is that David called my raise from the big blind. Because he already has some money invested, David might be calling to defend his blind, to see a discounted flop with a variety of marginal hands, or he might have an actual hand like a pair or big cards. A call with a real hand here likely means he wants to control the pot as best he can out of position.


Now when David checks on the Jh-10d-6d flop, I consider putting in a continuation bet, but I decided that a check would be better. With so many draws out there, betting could only build up a bigger pot if he has anything, as he would have to re-raise to protect from the draws. I wanted to keep the pot small even if I had the best hand since my hand was vulnerable at this point, so I checked as well.


Now that turn card, 8h, is gin for my hand as it gave me a set and didn’t complete the flush draw on board. The 8h did complete a straight on board, however David would’ve had to played gap cards like Q-9 or 7-9 out of position and I just didn’t put him on that type of hand.


When David bets into me on the turn, it can mean many things. David could’ve checked a hand like J-10 on the flop with the intent of check raising, expecting me to bet any overpair to protect against the flush draw. David could have pocket 9’s or 9-10 for a pair and draw, and decided that here is the time to find out if it is good or not. David could also hold two diamonds and want to bet to decide the price of seeing the river, instead of checking and allowing me to bet and decide the stakes myself. Finally, David could have 6-6, 10-10, or J-J.


I raised to $1.15 million here because I need David to know that he cannot draw cheaply, and I want him to pay if he has a flush or straight draw. David would have had less than $1.5 million behind if he calls.


When David moves all in over the top of me, I thought for a couple minutes. There are three problems with David moving in here – the board texture, my stack size and my image. Because the board texture is so draw heavy, it makes sense for David to try and push me off my hand here with a draw, which makes it hard for me to fold a strong hand like trip 8’s. David also knew that if he pushed all in, I would be put to a decision for my tournament life. If I call and lose, I am out, so he could be using this bet as a power play to make me fold an overpair, an A-J, or any hand that might be marginal in this spot. Finally, I had been playing good, solid poker all day, and David could shove knowing that I would only call with an absolute monster hand. With less than $1.8 million to call and around $4.5 million already in the pot, I was getting better than 2-1 in this hand to call, and this, coupled with every other factor prompted me to call.


As you can see, there were a lot of layers to this hand, and many factors that led me to ultimately calling. It was unfortunate that the hand played out this way and I am disappointed as I am anytime I come so close. However, I will be back next tournament playing harder than ever to improve on my finish in this tournament baby!


- Scotty Nguyen, Expekt.com



Scotty’s magic tricks, Xbox heads up and drinks at the Bellagio

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Last night was the real start of a week full of festivities. At 10 pm expekt.com players only were invited to the VIP area in the Bellagio bar here at the Royal Casino for a personal meet and greet with Scotty.


I never had the fortune to see his famous card tricks, and it didn’t take much convincing for the Prince of Poker to get the deck of cards up. We had some pretty impressed players, staying behind late trying to figure out the secrets.


I didn’t get a heads up with our Omaha winner, but I did get a one to one football match on the Xbox. The game ended 4-0 (me being the loser) but at least I got to know I’m a good player… for a girl..


We are waiting for the chip count of day 1A, but we definitely have some expekt players going strong. With over 700 players it’s not easy to keep track of them and to make sure we know who the strongest expekt.com player is we have a “leader jersey” for the strongest player, just like in the major bicycling races.


Terje Hansen will start of with the jersey, not so much cause he is the leader, more than a fun guy.


Pic 1. Terje Hansen is showing off in the expekt.com Leader Jersey

Pic 2. Scotty and Julie are enjoying themselves at Bellagio




We had Scotty Nguyen on the phone from Las Vegas looking back at 2009

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Poker legend Scotty Nguyen finished 2009 on a high when he reached the final table in the WPT Doyle Brunson Classic in Las Vegas cashing $250,000 just before Christmas.


- It was nice to end the year with a good run. My big goal for 2010 will be to win an EPT tournament, the only title I don’t have, says Scotty, poker ambassador for Expekt.com.


Scotty Nguyen has won almost everything you can wish for as a poker player in his long and illustrious career. Scotty Nguyen became World Champion back in 1998 when he won the WSOP Main Event. He is currently the only player in the world who has won both the WSOP Main Event and the $50 000 WSOP H.O.R.S.E event. He won the massive H.O.R.S.E title in 2008, a title by many viewed to prove whom is the best all round player on the planet with the huge buy-in and challenging structure. All together he has cashed $11 million in tournament winnings.


Scotty says:


- Whatever you win as a poker player, the Main Event in WSOP is the biggest title you can win. It does not compare to anything and it is a title that all poker players aim for, to be the world champion.


Can you win it again?


- Of course I can. I came close in 2007 when I was chip leader with 13 players of 6 000 left. It still hunts me that I didn’t win it for a second time, but it also drives me on to reach that dream again.


Scotty swooped the World Series of Poker in 2007, boasting six tournament cashes, two final tables, and that near repeat performance of his 1998 Main Event victory.


We called up the poker legend in his beloved Las Vegas and had a chat about life and poker looking back, and ahead to 2010.


Will you always live in Las Vegas, Scotty?


- Does the pope have a funny hat, baby? It was Las Vegas who made me who I am. It shaped my life when I came from Asia and it is a city to cherish and respect for me and my family. I will always love and live in Las Vegas.


Your family and wife Julie means a lot to you?


- Julie is my rock in life. She is my biggest support and biggest love. I am blessed in that way, baby. I think 80 percent of all top poker players is divorced. The reason might be that too many just have poker on their mind. No wonder that the wife gets sick of listening to bad beats and good beats night and day.


- I don’t even have a deck of cards in my house! When I come home from work I am only two things; a husband and a father. I relax when I have my family around me and I play with the kids, cook food, chill out and take care of my garden with all the flowers.


Still, will your kids be poker players you reckon?


- No. I want them to study and play sports. I really try to steer my kids into sports, basketball for example. I love sports myself, basketball, boxing, soccer. At home I watch a lot of sports and nature and animal programs, but never the poker channels. What would you have done if you hadn’t been a poker player?


- I am poker through and through and will play until my last day or at least as long as my hands work. But if not, I would have come up with some way to make money and support my family. I learned that in Vietnam, starting to play poker in the streets as a seven-year old. My mum never had to buy me anything; I bought my own clothes, food and books for school.


- I also did a lot of trading in the military camps. I bought sweets and cigarettes for 50 cents and sold it for 1 dollar. I have always been like that, finding a way to do money. – Then, later on, when my mum come to Las Vegas for the first time and a stranger stopped us at the street and asked for my autograph, she started to cry. She was proud. She knew her little son had made it.


You were in Europe a lot last year with Expekt.com. What did you think about that?


- I loved Europe, especially Budapest. It was a great city and I hope to come back there. I never seen my wife Julie photograph so much as she did there. She had the camera in her hand all the time. I also liked the clean air in Stockholm and the buzz in Barcelona. But you struggled in the tournaments?


- I am not at all pleased with my results from WSOP and onward, until my fifth place in Doyle Brunson Classic in Bellagio before Christmas. At WSOP everyone was talking about my goal to win $4 million and it affected my play and concentration.


- In Bellagio, I was back on track. I was short-stacked with 15 players left but wasn’t that worried. Daniel Negreanu always says that he never worries about me when I am short-stacked because I am at my best then. Some say I am the best short-stacked player on the planet and I think I showed that in Bellagio. The other players fear me when I am short-stacked, baby.


Going back to Europe, what do you think about the players here?


- I admire the attitude among the top European players. In US, so many players just think about surviving until the next day. European players come out to play and they attack. I see a younger me in some of the younger European players I met. They fear nobody and really have attitude. Some of them even intimidate me.


What are your big goals as an Expekt.com player in 2010?


- WSOP will be better this year for sure. But my big goal is to claim an EPT title. It is the only title I lack in my career. I will do also my best to learn the players more about poker in my columns at expekt.com and the fans can also follow me on Twitter and my Facebook fan page. Together with Expekt.com I will as well do a very special promotion in 2010 during the spring, but I will get back to that. Sounds interesting, baby.


We can look ahead to a new and exciting poker year. With Scotty Nguyen onboard planet poker, you feel that anything can happen.