In 2008 Scotty Nguyen embarrassed himself on national television for the way he acted during the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship. His performance, in terms of the way he finished the event, certainly wasn’t embarrassing. He played great poker the entire final table, he made good reads throughout, and he ended up winning the event. It was the way he acted en route to the championship that gave him the negative press. Nguyen was drunk, and did a very poor job hiding it. During the process of the final table he managed to upset everyone at his table, including Lyle Berman and the usually mild-mannered Erick Lindgren.
About a week after the conclusion of the event Nguyen apologized for his behavior. In the interview he said he was out of line, and he embarrassed his family. He also added that he would no longer drink during events that are being televised.
For the most part Nguyen has been true to his word. He has, for the most part, remained respectful at the table, and the only bottles he’s been seen with on television are non-alcoholic O’Doul’s. This week he has reportedly taken a step back. While playing the Tournament of Champions, he became involved in a hand with Mike Matusow and Mike Sexton. A lot of pre-flop raising took place, with Matusow folding. Right after he folded he told the dealer, “Please don’t show a queen.”
Sexton ended up going all-in with Nguyen making the call.
Nguyen’s pocket kings held up against the A-K offsuit of Sexton, but a queen came on the river. Nguyen didn’t believe Matusow folded queens, so he reached into the muck and pulled out Matusow’s cards, revealing jacks.
Reaching into the muck is against all kinds of rules, which was quickly pointed out by Matusow, and other bystanders. The tournament director approached, and asked Matusow, “What do you want to do?” For whatever reason Matusow elected not to have Nguyen punished, maybe because the tournament is a freeroll, and the tournament continued. The truth is that the tournament director shouldn’t have asked Matusow if Nguyen should be punished or not. Of course he should have been punished. If it would have been an unknown player that did that he would have been penalized immediately. Like the NBA, the stars of the poker world get free passes sometimes. This whole scene played out on the live ESPN3 coverage.
Additionally, Nguyen was drinking O’Doul’s during the event, or at least drinking from an O’Doul’s bottle. The rumor going around the rail is that Nguyen has tipped the cocktail staff to pour out the O’Doul’s and replace it with his beverage of choice, Michelob Light, which surprisingly enough, does contain alcohol. This rumor hasn’t been confirmed, but it does seem to hold some water (or beer) based on Nguyen’s recent behavior.
Nearly anybody who’s anybody in the poker world has a Twitter account. Some use their accounts more than others (see: Phil Hellmuth) while others have seemed to let the fad pass. However, it’s acted as a great service to those who wish to follow the ups-and-downs of their favorite poker pros. One poker pro, Tom “Durrrr” Dwan, excited railbirds everywhere as he has finally jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. On Monday Dwan started his account and as it’s become confirmed that it’s actually him the number of followers has skyrocketed. In less than 48 hours Dwan has attracted about 3,000 followers. It really makes sense, because Dwan is one of the most interesting figures of this year’s World Series of Poker, and gaining even a bit of insight to what he is going through this summer is certainly exciting.
Prop-bets are certainly a part of Dwan’s life, and that’s just one of the things he has given us an insight into. One of his first Tweets mentioned that Eric Cloutier said he’d walk-up to any random person in the $5k Pot-Limit Omaha tournament and flick them in the ear. He did it, and gave the random person $100 for his trouble.
Dwan also posted an interesting question that many other people have thought during not only this WSOP, but the last few. When someone wins a bracelet, their national anthem is played during the ceremony the next day. Dwan noticed that when the American National Anthem is played that the Americans in the room expect everyone to stand. However, he says, many of those same people will remain seated when a national anthem is played of another country. Dwan feels this is a double standard, and says he is growing tired of it.
Seeing scouts for different poker websites walking around the Rio poker rooms is a common occurrence. Scouts generally approach players who are at the final table and ask them if they will wear their company’s logo in turn for some compensation. Depending on the event, and the player, that compensation can range from a couple thousand to a couple million.
That’s not the only work the major poker sites have been doing. Generally big online poker rooms have their contracts with the big stars of poker figured out before the start of the WSOP, but from time to time they make major announcements during the series. Two names of big players joining a popular online room have apparently been “leaked” two weeks earlier than planned. Both David Williams and Vanessa Selbst have confirmed that they both have signed exclusive contracts with PokerStars. Williams first confirmed it on his Twitter account, and the PokerStars blog has since confirmed it, making it official. Williams’ first event under the PokerStars banner is a big one, the $25,000 6-Max No Limit Holdem event. Selbst has yet to comment on the new deal on her Twitter account.