Scotty Nguyen gives back at tournament

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For years, poker room manager Rick O’Connell had dreamed of putting together a big tournament at Seminole Casino Immokalee near Ft. Myers, Fla. On the weekend of Sept. 24-25, his dream came true with two events featuring former world champion Scotty Nguyen in the casino’s decked-out Events Pavilion.

The action started on Saturday, with an event that exceeded the casino’s expectations and had O’Connell and his staff scrambling the night before to accommodate the growing numbers of players who wanted to enter. In the end, the event had accommodated 168 players, including alternates, by securing every table, tournament chip and dealer available to the casino.

All entrants in the $230 Ante Up Poker Tour event got to meet-and-greet Nguyen beforehand, with Nguyen signing multiple autographs. Nguyen proved to be a gregarious host throughout the event, greeting each player at the table and checking in on many of them several times and continuing to sign more autographs and still managing to make a deep run in the event. Players were treated to a lavish dinner buffet, as well as free soft drinks and water and had a large projection screen on which to watch college football while waiting for their next big hand.

Bounties of future tournament entries were put on the heads of Nguyen and Ante Up publishers Christopher Cosenza and Scott Long. All three made it far in the event, with Long squeaking into the final table and finishing 10th. But the day belonged to Louis Pfaff, who won the custom-designed trophy and a chopped first-place prize of $6,300.

Nguyen returned the next day for a $75 charity event that raised $3,600 for Poker Gives, an organization founded by Mike Sexton, Linda Johnson, Jan Fisher and Lisa Tenner that distributes money to a variety of charities. Frantisek “Frank” Sloboda, who had finished second the night before, won the trophy and a $1,186 chopped first-place prize.

Results

Ante Up Tour event
1. Louis A. Pfaff, $6,300
2. Frantisek Sloboda, $6,300
3. Walter Hess, $3,024
4. Robert Ondre
5. Erik Moelvang
6. Andrea Lloha
7. Daniel Gottlieb
8. Michael Justice
9. Melissa Kaywell
10. Scott Long

Poker Gives event
1. Frantisek Sloboda, $1,186
2. Andrea Lloha, $1,186
3. Steve Bederson, $1,186