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Deal Me In -- Scotty Nguyen

An Exclusive Excerpt from Phil Hellmuth's New Book


Deal Me InIn its pages are never-before-revealed details of the lives of some of the biggest names in poker. Phil Hellmuth’s new book profiles 20 of the biggest poker players in the world, giving the reader an intimate look at the game’s biggest celebrities.

Deal Me In, a collection of autobiographical accounts from many of poker’s elite, is now available to order online exclusively at The book highlights the struggles, obstacles, and tragedies that 20 of the greatest poker pros have overcome in their journeys to the top.

For the next 10 weeks, will be providing exclusive excerpts from the book every Sunday. This week’s passage focuses on Scotty Nguyen and his childhood in war-torn Vietnam:

Scotty Nguyen“I have seen atrocities firsthand that no child should ever have to witness. As a youth I would be exposed to horrible things just walking to school and back. One schoolmate was blown to bits playing soccer in an area that turned out to be a minefield. At night, we would hear bombs going off; the next day, you’d see a pile of rubble sitting where a neighbor’s house used to be. I saw dead bodies piled in semi trucks like garbage. At times, there were people in the trucks who were mortally wounded but not dead. I saw so many atrocities as a youth that I actually grew numb to it.

“I was the oldest of 13 children in my household. Eight of the children were my brothers and sisters. The other five were cousins who had been adopted by my mother and father when my aunt was unable to bear the hardships of the time and committed suicide. My mother was a special woman. She provided a safe, comfortable home for us. We weren’t rich, but she made sure we were all fed and clothed, and went to school. And as it turns out, my mother was actually the one who got me interested in poker.

“I played poker on the streets in town as a seven or eight-year-old. Poker was played on every street corner. We played a form of blackjack and a form of five-card stud with one card down and four cards up. It was a no-limit game. My mother actually played cards for money. I would sit behind her and watch. Occasionally, she’d leave the table and hand me her cards and have me play them for her. My dad, though, hated poker with a passion. If he caught me playing, he’d bring me home and beat me with a rubber hose. He’d beat me so hard that my skin would bleed and bits of my flesh would stick to the house.”

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