Scotty Nguyen returns to Oklahoma



After a four-year hiatus, Scotty Nguyen is returning to Oklahoma with a new tournament venue and hosting property.Cherokee Casino in Tulsa had hosted the annual Scotty Nguyen Poker Challenge in 2004-08.The annual events were popular with local players and pros. Players will again have the opportunity to mix it up with the Prince of Poker this fall at Choctaw Casino in Durant. Scotty Nguyen’s Dream Catcher World Poker Challenge runs Oct. 25-Nov. 5. Poker room manager Ken Lambert, an industry veteran, had left a management position to be poker room manager at the Choctaw Casino about a year ago.And now these two poker giants are coming together.

Lambert began his career as a busboy at Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas when he was 16. At 21, he became a security officer for the Horseshoe. He taught himself to deal poker and began working with his father (Ken Lambert Sr.) as a poker dealer at Vegas World, then as a tournament supervisor in 1984 at the Frontier Casino and back to Vegas World as a tournament assistant (1985-87). He then opened the Mirage in 1989 with Eric Drache, starting as a brush and within two years became the assistant shift manager. He left the Mirage in 1995 to work for Jack Binion again, but this time as the poker room manager in Tunica, Miss.

In 1999, he launched a tournament called the Mid-America Poker Classic and then in 2000 he started the World Poker Open and signed with the World Poker Tour in 2002, quickly becoming the second largest tournament in the country.

After Harrah’s purchased the Horseshoe Casinos, Lambert became the WSOP tournament director and was the first to hold a WSOP event outside of Las Vegas. He resigned from Harrah’s in 2005 and began working again for the MGM Mirage team until 2011, when took over at Choctaw Casino.

Nguyen has also enjoyed a long and colorful history as a pro player.His first tournament success came at the 1997 World Series of Poker where he won the $2K Omaha/8 event, netting more than $150K. Unfortunately, Nguyen blew this bankroll and was broke shortly before the 1998 WSOP. Nguyen, with backing help Mike Matusow, entered and won the main event, punctuating his victory with one of the most famous lines in all of poker: “You call, it’s gonna be all over baby!”

Nguyen has won five bracelets and plenty of prestigious events, including the $50K H.O.R.S.E. title at the WSOP and the $10K H.O.R.S.E. title at the L.A. Poker Classic. His total live tournament winnings exceed $11.25 million.

The combination of experience between these industry legends as a tournament partnership should prove to produce an interesting tournament series this fall. Watch for details in Ante Up.

— Bonnie Demos is Ante Up’s Oklahoma Ambassador. Email her at

$500K Guarantee Series, Choctaw Casino Resort, July 26-Aug. 5

Event 1 • $235 NLHE
Entries: 936 • Pool: $181,584
Mike Fitzgerald, $33,779
Event 2 • $200 NLHE
Entries: 105 • Pool: $17,315
Keith Carter, $5,089
Event 3 • $200 NLHE
Entries: 219 • Pool: $36,113
Sebastian Tejada, $8,843
Event 4 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 779 • Pool: $226,689
Mykel Comroe, $44,402
Event 5 • $235 NLHE
Entries: 260 • Pool: $50,440
Jimmy Bunch, $12,101
Event 6 • $235 NLHE
Entries: 324 • Pool: $62,856
Daniel Hughes, $14,466
Event 7 • $300 O/8
Entries: 103 • Pool: $25,977
Derek Browning, $7,635
Event 8 • $235 NLHE
Entries: 185 • Pool: $35,890
William Austin, $9,139
Event 9 • $200 NLHE
Entries: 62 • Pool: $10,224
Soutchay Chansembath, $3,505
Event 11 • $345 PLO
Entries: 91 • Pool: $26,481
Kevin Martinez, $7,780
Event 12 • $200 NLHE
Entries: 162 • Pool: $26,714
Steven Gordon, $7,063
Event 13 • $300 O/8
Entries: 72 • Pool: $18,158
James Astorino, $6,047
Event 14 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 246 • Pool: $71,586
Josh Palmer, $17,178
Event 15 • $1,080 PLO
Entries: 53 • Pool: $51,410
John Reading, $18,881
$1,080 Main Event
Entries: 800 • Pool: $760K
Maxx Dansky, $152,008
Event 17 • $235 NLHE
Entries: 120 • Pool: $23,280
John Garnica, $6,839
Event 18 • $200 NLHE
Entries: 121 • Pool: $19,953
Hartt Stearns, $5,471

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine