Bob Hooks: The Forgotten Texas Road Gambler

“Seat open.” It’s a common poker expression Bob Hooks has heard and barked out countless times going back to his days as a Texas road gambler and then later as the poker room manager at Binion’s Horseshoe during the first World Series of Poker. The 84-year-old is no stranger to poker, even if the game has passed him by. But today is a new day. Today, Mr. Hooks is getting a new chair.

Whatever figurative sentiment might be read into that, the reality is that on this otherwise ordinary East Texas day, inside, in the Best Western hotel room that Mr. Hooks now calls home, a space has been cleared for the delivery of a brand new La-Z-Boy recliner. While the hotel’s manager and Hooks’ de facto caretaker, an eye-catching blonde named Kristi Michels, readies the room for the new piece of furniture, Mr. Hooks lingers in the hotel’s lobby with a cup of coffee in his hand, eyes firmly fixed to the East.

His sleepy gaze is the kind formed by years of staring down the white lines cutting through the surprisingly lush Texarkana plains. No matter which direction he turns, Mr. Hooks can recall a story, and more often than not it’s a decades-old poker tale long lost to history. To the East — which is today’s focus — is Shreveport where he tangled on countless occasions with T.J. Cloutier and Doc Ramsey; behind him to the West lie the bright lights of Las Vegas, a path previously pioneered by Benny Binion. If he were to look South, Hooks might recall the miles he racked up chauffeuring Johnny Moss to Waco; and to the North is where Hook’s own story began.

The Grand Old Man, Boss Gamblers & a Poker Education

Located 10.3 miles north of his hotel hospice, Edgewood, Texas, is Hooks’ true home. That’s where he was born on August 18, 1929, the first of Alex and Inez Hooks’ four children. His father, a well-respected baseball coach at Southern Methodist University (SMU), once played first base for the Philadelphia Athletics and also at one time held the state record for the shot put.

“Daddy would get the shot put and he would throw it all the way [along his walk] to school — about 2.5 miles — and all the way back,” Hooks recalls. “That’s how dedicated he was.”

Like many young boys in small towns, Hooks longed for adventure. In Edgewood, a dry county to this day, adventure came in the form of bootleg liquor and poker. When he was 16, Hooks learned about both and took advantage of the former to excel at the latter.

“I had no car, no bicycle, no shows, no TV, no nothing,” Hooks relates. “I’d see these guys going out in the woods to play cards. So to get away from home I’d go out and watch them play. This one guy would come and let me watch. That’s how I got started. Every one of them would get drunk but I never did. When the game was over, I’d have [all] the chips because they drank.”

One time, Hooks won $16 in the game. That might not seem like a lot, but in 1945, for a 16-year-old boy, it felt like life-changing money. With his father on the road, Hooks returned home to share his fortune with the family.

Bob Hooks is #89. (Photo c/o
Bob Hooks is #89. (Photo c/o

“I go home and there’sJerry, he’s my little brother, two years younger, and James, he’s 10 years younger,” Hooks says. “I come in and I’ve won $16. You’d have thought I won $16,000. I went into the living room and said, ‘Y’all come on in here to the bedroom.’ I threw that $16 on the bed and said you get what you want. James didn’t get nothing, you know, he was just six years old, but Jerry, who turned out to be the banker, got two or $3 of it. That $16, I thought that was all the money in the world.”

Six years later, Hooks’ younger sister Mary was born. By this time he had followed in his father’s footsteps and made his way to SMU on a football scholarship. During his time on the team, the SMU Mustangs upset the fifth-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish 27-20 in an October 13, 1951 game that was ranked as the 16th greatest moment in SMU Football History — an accomplishment Hooks recently relived when the Dallas Morning Newsran his team photo in their paper. Looking back, this is one of Hook’s proudest accomplishments.

It was also at SMU that Hooks met upperclassman Kenny Smith, who became a noted chess player and one of poker’s first true characters (every time he won a pot he’d doff a top hat he claimed was from the Ford Theater the day Lincoln was shot and proclaim, “Whatta Player.”). Together, the pair embarked on a lifelong friendship that included a fair amount of time spent at poker tables.

One memorable hand between them took place at the AmVets, a poker club Hooks opened in Dallas. According to the lore, Hooks limped into the pot only to have Smith put in a big raise. Hooks, who held pocket kings, then three-bet all in and Smith went into the tank for more than three minutes. When Hooks couldn’t take it any longer, he grabbed Smith’s cards, saw that he had two aces, and put Smith’s chips in himself.

“That’s a true story,” Hooks recalls with a laugh. “There wasn’t any more decisions and he was aggravating me. He’s got the nuts, the world knows it, and he was sticking it to me. [That was the way] we ribbed each other.”

After graduating from SMU, Hooks returned to Edgewood and began life as a family man and poker player, though he kept his occupation under wraps. “In a little town like that, ain’t nobody know I gambled when I was young,” Hooks says. “A poker player was like a bootlegger.”

Hooks married his wife, Cynthia Gready, in December 1952, and they had four children — Bobby, Larry, Catherine and Ronnie. In his early 20s, Hooks finally got a car to call his own, and he put it to good use, becoming a Texas road gambler. Over time he developed a reputation as a solid player, and before long some of the game’s best took notice, including Doc Ramsey.

Hooks in action
Hooks in action

“Boss gambler” refers to the head honcho of the poker scene in any particular area. These days it’d be players like Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu, but back then players were notorious more than they were famous. In regards to Ramsey, boss gambler is a term Hooks uses with great respect.

“Hooks, how old are you?” Ramsey asked when the two first encountered one another in a game down in Tyler.

“Twenty nine,” a brash Hooks replied.

“Twenty nine,” the 65-year-old Ramsey repeated. “Wish I had your age.”

“Well,” Hooks retorted, “I wish I had your money.”

A lifelong friendship was born in that moment, one that even resulted in Ramsey staking Hooks in his early days. Ramsey passed long ago, but Hooks remembers his friend fondly: “Everywhere you went he was the top cream.”

Hooks would know too, because he really did go everywhere. He played in nearby Dallas and would then head down to Houston followed by a quick jaunt to Long View — which doesn’t even take into account his out-of-state excursions. The miles seemed endless, but that’s what was required to stay in action. “Nowadays in one block you can find that many games,” Hooks reflects.

Hooks also went to a game every Monday night in Waco. That’s where he first met Johnny Moss, a Poker Hall of Famer who won nine WSOP bracelets including three Main Event titles. Moss became known as the “Grand Old Man of Poker,” and it was a well-deserved nickname.

“He was my hero, the best player around,” Hooks says. “I listened to everything he said. He wasn’t welcome in some places because he was so good, but they couldn’t turn him away because everybody wanted to play with Johnny Moss.

“He took a liking to me. I’d take him every week to Waco. He would swap me 10 percent. As time drew on, he wanted to swap quarters. I was getting to where I was a little bit better of a player I guess. Soon, people were calling me Johnny Moss’ boy.”

After more than a decade traveling the Texas circuit, Hooks and a partner opened the renowned AmVets Post No. 4 at 308 ½ South Irving Street in Dallas in 1969. It was an illegal operation, but because they were chartered under the AmVets ruse, the game’s rake was justified — generally 5-10 percent of the pot — as necessary to cover club expenses. Hooks ran the club successfully for a year, but eventually sold to Byron “Cowboy” Wolford in order to head out West.

From the Texan Plains to the Nevada Desert

Legend has it that Poker Hall of Famer Felton “Corky” McCorquodale introduced the game of Texas hold’em to Sin City when he started a $10/$20 limit hold’em game at the Golden Nugget, but before he did, he and Hooks had become fast friends.

“Ask me a question on who the best player is and I’m going to say Corky. Uncle Corky, goddamn,” Hooks says of McCorquodale, who would only don suits from Neiman Marcus. “That’s a high-dollar suit down here,” Hooks clarifies.

Unfortunately his friendship with McCorquodale didn’t sit well with Moss. As Hooks tells it:

“I’m gonna tell you something ain’t nobody else know. They didn’t care for each other. You know what Moss and them used to do to him? Corky would get broke and they would stake him. They’d give him $5,000, go to the hotel game, and he would win. He’d win $6,000, give them $3,000, and keep $3,000. Now after two or three months, he’d have his bankroll built up to $40,000-$50,000. They didn’t cheat him, you know what they did? They’d buy him Old Forester. I know what kind of whiskey he drank, and [they’d get him] a bottle. Johnny would get him drunk and win all his money. That don’t make Johnny bad, but Corky was so helpless it wasn’t even funny. Corky, I love that man. He always said to me, ‘Hooks, let your word be your bond.’ Truer words were never spoken.”

Around that time news made its way back to Texas that the games in Vegas were too good to miss. Hooks wanted to go, but he couldn’t convince Moss to go with him.

Johnny Moss, Jack Strauss and Bob Hooks
Johnny Moss, Jack Strauss and Bob Hooks

“We ain’t going out there. It ain’t worth nothing out there,” Moss said flatly. Hooks abided Moss’ command for a month, but the lure of Glitter Gulch was strong; Hooks eventually went without his mentor. As it turned out, Moss was unwelcome in Vegas. Apparently, he had borrowed money from singer Tony Bennettand failed to pay it back. Bennett, as the story goes, had connections to the mob, so Moss’ failure to pay him did not result in a welcome mat being rolled out.

So how did Moss later make it to Vegas and establish himself in the poker pantheon? According to Hooks, it was all thanks to one man — Benny Binion.

“You didn’t want to fuck with the outfit — I call them the outfit or the Italians — unless you were Benny Binion. Anyway, Benny loaned them $2 million one time and he never had any problems with them after that. So Moss got Benny Binion to smooth it over. The reason he was able to do it was that one afternoon in come two ‘security guards’ from the DunesJack Binion said they came down to get money. He said [the mobsters in charge of the Dunes] were broke. They had a junket that came in from New York. Binion said the dice had been hot for about two hours and the junket players won all of the Dunes’ money. Now they’ve got money in the bank, but the bank ain’t open. They called Benny to see if he had any money on hand, which he always did. Plenty of it I guess. I’ve been down in the room, a big old room with silver dollars, money stacked everywhere like hay. They walked out of there [with the $2 million], and from then on they [the Binions] never got any [trouble] from the outfit.”

Hooks continued to travel back and forth from Dallas to Vegas, and on one such junket Moss introduced him to Benny. The three met at the coffee shop at the Horseshoe, and Moss told Binion, “Y’all are hiring, here’s who you need to hire right here.”

Moss’ word carried a lot of weight with the patriarch, and the next day Hooks was offered a job. It wasn’t something Hooks asked for nor necessarily wanted. “Binion called me the next day and [offered me a job]. I had a family, farm, cows, and was hustling every which way to make a living, which was hard to do in those days,” Hooks says. “He called me, this was on Friday, and he said, ‘I’ll give you a call on Monday and you let me know.’ I said, ‘Whoa, whoa, I haven’t even talked to my family yet.’ It was hard because all my family was there in Edgewood. I had four kids.”

Hooks continues: “I was playing at the Redmond Club there on South Irving in 1970 and the phone rang. He said, ‘Well, have you thought that over?’ I said, ‘No sir.’ He said, ‘Well think before we hang up.’ I said, ‘Okay, I’ll take it.’ I didn’t know what I was making, didn’t know what I’d be doing. I knew I was going to be a boss, I knew that. I went out there within the next couple of days, moved in still not knowing what I’d be making.”

Before he left for Vegas, Hooks needed to tell his wife, kids, and kinfolk — all of whom had just moved into a new house. It wasn’t a negotiation, but a notice. With his family’s “permission” acquired, Hooks relocated to Vegas and immediately got to work on the graveyard shift.

“They wanted me to learn how to make the schedules, how to hire, and what they did when they caught them cheating. There was a lot of that going on in those days,” Hooks recalls. Indeed, cheating was so commonplace that even Hooks’ good friend Moss was involved.

“He had a girlfriend in Alabama,” Hooks says of the married Moss. “I’m not sure how to say this, but she’d help him get in cold decks. He wasn’t an angel. There weren’t many angels back in those days. She had tits this big. I’d never seen them that big in those days. She’d flop one of them out and all six of the players would be looking and bingo, you got aces.”

Even though cheating was rampant, Hooks was tasked with curbing it. “I’d go up there and they’d show me how they cheated. I wanted to know so I could protect players’ money.”

Learning the Vegas Ropes & the 1972 WSOP

In all his time working in Vegas, Hooks never saw a paycheck. He had free room and board, but all his wages were sent straight back to his family in Edgewood. On the other hand, as long as he had a poker bankroll, he could keep himself flush with spending money.

Bob Hooks and Jack Binion: "It's like the rookie telling Babe Ruth how to play baseball," Hooks said of the picture.
Bob Hooks and Jack Binion: “It’s like the rookie telling Babe Ruth how to play baseball,” Hooks said of the picture.

“One time I got broke playing a Las Vegas hero. I was just a country boy. He had 15 people around him, and it was just me and Jack [Binion]. Well, he broke me. I knew I could beat him. There weren’t a lot of people I knew I could beat, but he was one of them. I don’t have a big ego, but I knew I could beat him. My daddy had given us some stock, so I told Jack [Binion] I needed $3,000. I said, ‘I’ve got some stock I’ll let you have.’ Jack said, ‘No, you come on back to the table.’ He sent me $10,000. That was my first taste of big money. I asked for $3,000 and he gave me $10,000. He had a little confidence in me. Sure enough, I finally broke [the guy]. I never will forget that.”

Another thing Hooks got a taste of in Vegas was drugs. Of course it was commonplace back then, so much so that one of the world’s most infamous drug dealers, Jimmy Chagra, played in many of the high-stakes poker games.

“There was just so much money,” Hooks says of the drug culture. “Kids were getting like $10,000 for one kilo, 2.2 lbs. It was just everywhere. Girls had it, bosses had it, I can tell you people who had it, myself included. I sampled it. A lot of movie stars did it. Anybody who had money. You could go into a bathroom back then late at night, and someone would ask, ‘You don’t happen to have a bump do ya?’”

“I was playing dice one time out at the Sahara. There was this one lady at the craps table, bless her heart, she was about my age. I was about 50 then. We were going to shoot the dice. She was the only one at the table. She was shaking the dice, and bingo, out came out one of those little brown, amber looking vials that you put cocaine in. It just bounced right out on the table. The stickman kicked it right back to her and they kept on playing.”

Nowadays such a mishap might land a person in the slammer, but this was the early 1970s — which was also when Hooks left the Horseshoe to serve as an Executive Host at the Golden Nugget under Steve Wynn.

“One reason that Steve Wynn hired me, he wanted higher players,” Hooks says. “The Golden Nugget was way, way down there, and he was envious of the Horseshoe.”

Hooks had made dozens of connections in the poker world, so it wasn’t surprising to see some of the game’s biggest names, like Thomas “Amarillo Slim” Preston, visit him at the Nugget — always with a quid-pro-quo attitude of course, wanting a comped room or some other freebie.

“I said go on over to the Horseshoe, them your cowboy friends,” Hooks explains. “He said, ‘I’ve got a girl out there.’ I said, ‘Well, that don’t have nothing to do with me.’ I said to go on over to the Horseshoe to get a room. Well he did, and he came back with this long face. He said, ‘Bob, don’t tell nobody but that was a gay person. I went to kiss her and I found out she wasn’t a girl. Now don’t tell anybody.’ I said, ‘I’m not going to tell anybody until I get to somebody I know.’”

Hooks’ association with Amarillo Slim went deeper than a simple transvestite encounter. Hooks was there in 1972 when the fast-talking Texan “won” the WSOP. Eight players entered the Main Event that year, and a dilemma arose during three-handed play between Amarillo Slim, Doyle Brunson, and Puggy Pearson.

“Didn’t anyone want the title of champion because there wasn’t any money for it,” Hooks explained. Indeed, being a professional poker player in those days was far from glamorous. Brunson didn’t want his name in the mainstream media, Pearson was indifferent, and Amarillo Slim, well he was a showman.

“Me and Jack got up in his office to decide who to give it to. He said, ‘Who do you think?’ I said, ‘Well, I know who wants it the worst, and that’s Amarillo Slim.’ We ended up giving it to Amarillo Slim. He wants to be it, he brags all the time anyway. He couldn’t wait to get it. He thought more of himself than the majority of people.”

With the decision made, Brunson was allowed to cash out due to “exhaustion,” and Pearson and Amarillo Slim put on a show before the latter “won” the title. It was a disreputable turn of events, but of course the WSOP wasn’t held to any sort of standard in those days. Besides, Amarillo Slim proved a wise choice as he cherished the attention and set about making the talk show rounds, which included numerous appearances on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. Without a doubt, he did more to promote and recast poker in a positive light than anyone who had come before him.

Hooks Misses Out on Poker Immortality

By 1975 the WSOP Main Event had grown to 21 players, but it was still played in a winner-take-all format. Hooks played that year, as did his roommate and fellow Texas road gambler Brian “Sailor” Roberts. The pair managed to make the final four alongside Crandall Addington and Aubrey Day, and it was at that point the idea of a deal was brought up.

Sailor Roberts
Sailor Roberts

“Aubrey said, ‘Let’s just all count down and keep all we’ve got.’ I said, ‘No, you’re going to have to play,’” Hooks explained. “Of course he got knocked out. Now Crandall, he’s got that new suit and Sailor’s got a hole in his shoes. I only had like 19,000 and I’m raising every pot. I’ve got two sixes, Addington bet, and I called him. The board came {k-}{6-}{2-}, and he’s got {K-}{q-}. Bingo, I hit three sixes and there he goes. Well, I broke him, and me and Sailor tried to chop it but Benny Binion stopped that because he thought it’d make [the tournament] less authentic.”

Unfortunately, neither Hooks, who had sold a quarter of his action to Jack Binion, nor Roberts wanted the title of World Champion. “You talk about tight, you can’t get any tighter than we were,” Hooks said. “Didn’t either one of us want to win it. He had his reasons, and the IRS was after me all the time.”

Unbeknownst to Binion, the two struck a secret deal to split the $210,000 prize and played it out. “We gave them a good show,” Hooks said. “The hand I got broke on*, it was a legitimate hand. The hand he beat me on was all legit. It looked so good. It turned out you couldn’t have put a cold deck in any better.”

*Hooks couldn’t recall the details of the final hand, and the only thing the record books show is that Hooks lost with the {j-Clubs}{9-Clubs} to Roberts’ {j-Spades}{j-Hearts}.

Finishing runner-up in the WSOP Main Event would haunt some people, but that wasn’t the case with Hooks. For him it was all about the money, and he had struck a deal for his fair share.

“That’s what gets me more than anything. [Some people] would rather have a bracelet than a million dollars,” Hooks says when asked about missing out on the bracelet. “I can’t believe the egos of some people. All Sailor and I wanted was the money. Let us get out of here, you know what I mean. Good gosh, trophies and all that.”

Big Wins, Bookmaking & Befriending a Notorious Killer

While in Vegas, Hooks spent a year working at The Flamingo under Sam Boyd. One night, Hooks was at home (in an apartment owned by Boyd) after working a long shift and decided to head back to the poker room to check out the action. The high-stakes game had broken by that time, but Boyd lingered hoping to reclaim some of his losses.

“C’mon Hooks, you might as well get the rest of this,” he said. Hooks obeyed, taking a seat in the game, and promptly relieved his boss of his last $60,000 — his biggest-ever win. By comparison, Hooks’ biggest loss was for $76,000 at the craps tables — a thrashing he contributes to a combination of liquor and a two-timing woman.

Bob Hooks (left) and Doyle Brunson (center)
Bob Hooks (left) and Doyle Brunson (center)

Eventually being so far away from home and away from his family wore on Hooks. “I guess I was homesick,” he admits. “My family was back there and at the age where they needed their daddy there. They didn’t want to come out to Vegas. I should have made them come out I guess, but you can’t raise a family without being there with them. My daddy taught me that.”

With Benny Binion’s blessing, Hooks moved back to Dallas to open a bookmaking and craps operation, a business that proved extremely fruitful when Hooks applied the knowledge he’d gained in Vegas.

“Wasn’t no payoffs, but ain’t nobody get in our way,” Hooks says. “I made them shut the door down at 2 a.m. so the husbands couldn’t stay out all night and cause trouble. I tried to help with the law.”

Of course, cheating and the threat of robbery were always part of the business, but Hooks had both covered. “I wasn’t in with them, but I wasn’t against them either,” Hooks says of the cheaters. “They showed me the courtesy of leaving when I was there most of the time. Basically, there were some good guys, but there’s always bad ones anywhere you go.”

One of the bad ones was R.D. Matthews, a long-time associate of Binion’s that reportedly did wet work in Cuba and was embroiled in the JFK assassination as an associate of Jack Ruby. Out of respect, Hooks paid Matthews 25% of his profits, and that in turn provided him unendorsed protection.

“Baddest son of a gun, but when he knew that I knew the Binions, ain’t nobody looked at me crossway,” Hooks grins. “He came in one night to play and put his pistol down on the table. Drunker than hell he was. We were playing five-card draw lowball and he was drawing three cards (laughs). Every Friday, I’d look him up and give him 25 percent.” Hooks says it matter-of-factly — that’s just the way it was.

Hooks Nowadays

Even though Hooks left Vegas, he continued to visit his home away from home by frequently running junkets back and forth from Dallas. More times than not, these junkets coincided with the WSOP, which was held in May back in those days. Hooks played in the WSOP throughout the mid-eighties, but he never replicated the success he had in 1975. In fact, the records show that Hooks doesn’t have a single WSOP cash to his credit.

As Hooks sits in the hotel lobby, his eyes become resolute. “I don’t know whether I could win [today] or not,” Hooks says as he downs the last of his coffee. “It’s too different, the way the tournaments are. I see these guys make some plays that I just don’t see how in the world they put their money in there. They know something that I don’t know. That’s when I realized I didn’t know how to play [the game nowadays].”

That’s not to say Hooks doesn’t give it a go from time to time. In early 2012, Hooks was actually staying at theWinstar Casino just across the border in Oklahoma. Hooks had used his history with Steve Wynn to secure a position as a room ambassador, which required him to bring in clientele and keep the games thriving. In exchange, Hooks was provided with a free room. It wasn’t a bad arrangement, but eventually Hooks’ failing health inspired him to seek out his doctor back in Edgewood.

The author, Chad Holloway, with Bob Hooks today in Canton, Texas
The author, Chad Holloway, with Bob Hooks today in Canton, Texas

It was during that return visit that Hooks spent the night at the Best Western. After visiting with his doctor, who informed him that he had a deteriorating hip and a fluid build up in his knee, Hooks took the opportunity to see some friends. Being back home suited him just fine, so after decades on the road, Hooks opted to settle down. As to what’s become of his family, Hooks is a bit reticent to share. There’s an unmistakable sense of regret and misfortune that clouds his eyes, but he does say that many family members have reentered his life.

As far as Vegas and his high-rolling lifestyle are concerned, those days are squarely in his rearview mirror. It’s been 20 years since Hooks last visited Vegas, and 15 since he’s conversed with his old pals Jack Binion and Doyle Brunson. While paying a visit to his past may not be in the cards, Hooks passes the time the same way he has for years. He still enjoys making and taking a bet, and occasionally antes up in a poker game at the local country club. However, neither of those things is on today’s agenda. Now it’s time to empty his mind of old memories and take a seat in his brand new chair for an afternoon nap.

“I’m not a saint, but I’ve been this long doing what’s right,” Hooks said before setting down his coffee cup and turning towards the door. “I’m going to go the rest of the little spell I’ve got doing the same thing. Yeah, I’m gonna do that.”

  • November 28, 2013
  • Chad Holloway

Is Gus Hansen a Degen?

Gus Hansen is not having the best of times at the poker tables these days. The multiple WPT winner has never had the best of runs on the online felt, but recently it seems he has started to spiral, leading many to ask, “Is Gus Hansen a degen?”

As of the end of the 4th of November 2013, Gus had lifetime online losses of$13,908,337. About $3.21m of these losses were before Full Tilt changed hands, but the lion’s share of the losses have been since Full Tilt re-launched with Gus part of the three man “Professional” Full Tilt Poker sponsored team.

I talked to Hansen back in March of 2013 at the Season 9 London stop of the PokerStars European Poker Tour. We discussed his losses, and why he thought he was on a downward trend with his online results.




Gus Hansen at WSOP 2006 Rio, Las Vegas
Gus Hansen at WSOP 2006 Rio, Las Vegas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




As you can see, Gus seemed aware that he wasn’t optimising his chances at the table, but based on what’s happened since, I have to think not much has changed.

He claimed to be “rusty” but considering he’s been playing online consistently all year, that can’t be an ongoing factor in his losses. He’s had more than enough time to knock the rust off his game, so there must be other factors impacting his inability to win in any consistent manner. Maybe he’s not giving the games his full concentration, in his words “being Sloppy…” and playing while watching TV, or maybe he’s a little “lazy” and not working to improve his game. Back in 2002 he was one of the best players on the circuit, but the game has advanced a long way from those heady pre-Moneymaker days. If Gus hasn’t kept up to date with the cutting edge theories in the games he’s playing, while his competition has, it puts him at a massive disadvantage, and would significantly impact his winning potential.

Full Tilt Professional Gus Hansen

Gus Hansen at the Season 9 London EPT

Hansen also talked about his game selection. Gus consistently seeks out the best players online, and proceeds to sit at tables that maybe 3 players in the world could expect to break even at in the long term, let alone be a consistent winner. Sitting at these table, he then seems to be support several professional poker players around the world including “SallyWoo,” Alexander “PostflopAction” Kostritsyn, and fellow Full Tilt “Professional” Viktor Blom. Gus even seemed to know he was outclassed in some of his matchups, saying Alex “Alexonmoon” Luneau was the best 2-7TD player, while “SallyWoo” was the best FLO8 player. Thing is, he has kept playing them. Alex may not have been online in months, but he left the high stakes games with a big chunk of Gus’s bankroll. SallyWoo has also been a regular in the line to pick Hansen’s pocket.

So we have to ask ourselves, why does Gus keep doing this? It seems he’s outclassed at the elite end of the current online cash games, and has lost more than one fortune in playing them. His sponsorship deal with Full Tilt isn’t going to be enough to cover these losses, in fact I doubt it even scratches the surface. Hansen has some small live victories in the past 12 months, but these are equivalent to a very small drop in the ocean. We don’t know about Gus’s other income, including what he may have won playing live cash and Open Face Chinese Poker. Regardless of the other potential income sources Gus may have, it doesn’t change the fact Hansen seems to haemorrhage his bankroll every time he logs into Full Tilt.

I have to consider why Gus keeps doing this. He may have a requirement in his Full Tilt contract to play certain games, but what ever the penalty might be to break the terms of his contract can’t be worse than the losses he seems to encounter every month.

The question about Gus’s motives always seem to return to the statement “Is Gus Hansen a Degen?”

What do you think?

Third question of the promotion: Defeat NTIT at HU and win 100 dollars

All In
All In (Photo credit: banspy)

This one is actually two questions:

1- At any point in a hand in Pot Limit Omaha what is the highest number of outs you can have? you have to give an example with both players holecards and board, and enumerate the actual cards that you are counting as outs.

2-  At any point in a hand in No Limit Holdem what is the highest number of outs you can have? you have to give an example with both players holecards and board, and enumerate the actual cards that you are counting as outs.

PS: if you think that somebody’s else answer is wrong, please point the mistake and then give your right answer. Remember that only the first correct answer wins the point.

The Science of Winning Poker

Bluffing still matters, but the best players now depend on math theory


July 26, 2013 6:56 p.m. ET

The World Series of Poker, 2010. Associated Press

More than 6,300 players, each paying an entry fee of $10,000, gathered in Las Vegas early this month for the championship event of the 44th annual World Series of Poker. The tournament ran for 10 days, and just nine players now remain. They will reunite in November for a two-day live telecast to determine who wins the first prize: $8.3 million.

Poker didn’t get this big overnight. In 2003, a then-record 839 players entered the championship for a shot at $2.5 million. The winner was an amateur with the improbable name of Chris Moneymaker. After ESPN devoted seven prime-time hours to his triumph, online poker took off and tournament participation ballooned, as did prize pools. The U.S. government’s ban on the major online poker sites in 2011 reined in enthusiasm, but the game has continued to grow in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

This growth over the past decade has been accompanied by a profound change in how the game is played. Concepts from the branch of mathematics known as game theory have inspired new ideas in poker strategy and new advice for ordinary players. Poker is still a game of reading people, but grasping the significance of their tics and twitches isn’t nearly as important as being able to profile their playing styles and understand what their bets mean.

In no-limit hold’em poker, the game used for the World Series championship, each player is dealt two private cards and attempts to make the best five-card hand that he can by combining his own cards with five cards that are shown faceup and shared by all players. Those cards are revealed in stages: The first three are the “flop,” the fourth is the “turn,” and the fifth is the “river.” Players can bet any amount they like at each stage.

Suppose you hold a pair of sevens, and before the flop is dealt you go all-in (bet all of your chips). One player calls your bet, and everyone else folds their hands. You both turn your cards face up, and you are happy to see your opponent show a pair of sixes. You are in great shape, since you have the better hand. But when the flop arrives, it contains a six, giving your opponent three sixes, and your own hand doesn’t improve, so you lose. Was your all-in play correct?

In terms of results, it wasn’t, because you lost all your chips. But according to the math of hold’em, a pair of sevens is favored to beat a pair of sixes 81% of the time. So if you can go all-in with sevens and get your bet called by players holding sixes over and over again, luck should even out, and eventually you will be a big winner.

Poker theorist David Sklansky once wrote that you should consider yourself a winner as long as you had the higher probability of winning the hand when all the money went into the pot. This attitude is consistent with the underlying mathematical reality of poker, and it can smooth out your emotional reactions to losses and wins. What matters is the quality of your decisions, not the results that come from them.

A few years ago, a young pro named Phil Galfond published a crucial refinement to Mr. Sklansky’s point. He showed that the right way to analyze a poker decision is to consider your opponent’s “range”—that is, the full set of different hands that he could plausibly have, given all the actions that he has thus far taken.

So if, for example, you believed that your opponent would only call your bet if he held sixes or a better pair, then at the moment he calls—before he turns up his cards—you should be unhappy. You want to see the sixes and be an 81% favorite, but you are much more likely to see a hand like eights, nines or higher, and against any of these your likelihood of winning is only about 19%. In fact, against this range of pairs from sixes up to aces, your “equity”—your winning chances averaged over all of those possible hands—would be just 27%.

Of course, in poker, you rarely know your opponent’s range precisely, nor does he know yours. In our example, if your opponent thinks you would never go all-in without at least a pair of tens, he probably won’t call you with anything worse than that. So his calling range depends on what he thinks your range could be.

In practice, this means that you should not make a particular play (such as an all-in bet) only when you have a superstrong hand, because this makes it easy for an observant opponent to deduce your range and fold with all but his own superstrong hands. If you sometimes make a strong play with weak hands—the ancient practice of bluffing—your opponent has a harder time narrowing your range down. This concept, known as “balancing” one’s range, supplements an expert’s intuition about when to bluff with logical explanations of why and how often it is the right play.

Calculating equities for ranges is too complicated to do while you are playing. Today’s top tournament players advise up-and-comers not to memorize formulas but to improve their feeling for ranges by playing with poker calculation apps that rapidly estimate odds by simulating thousands of hands.

Why this sudden leap forward in the strategy of a game that has existed for over a century? Computer analysis has contributed, just as it has wrought changes in backgammon and chess theory. But the real cause of the advances that have accompanied the poker boom has been the boom itself.

With 10 times more people seriously playing the game, the collective creativity and thinking power of the poker world has grown by at least an order of magnitude. The growth of poker theory is a perfect example of how innovation accelerates in interacting communities. Today’s poker players are in a world-wide arms race to discover new ideas and refine their playing styles, led by the younger generation of more mathematically minded pros. And collective progress comes from the application of collective intelligence: Putting more minds to work on a problem makes the discovery of new and better solutions much more likely.

Jason Lee

1. Each player is dealt two private cards. The goal: to make the best five-card hand using the five faceup cards shared by all players.

2. Player A gets two sevens; Player B gets two sixes. Neither player knows what the other has yet, but a pair of sevens is favored to beatapair of sixes 81% of the time.

3. After the shared cards are dealt and the players reveal their hands, Player B wins with three sixes, beating the odds.

—Mr. Chabris is a psychology professor at Union College, the co-author of “The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us” and a chess master. He played in his first World Series of Poker this year.

Carter Gill Wins LAPT Grand Final

Poker News :: Nov 26, 2013 :: 

Tournament Tracker: Carter Gill Wins LAPT Grand Final


Carter Gill has a good day in Uruguay, winning the LAPT Grand Final.

Carter Gill has a good day in Uruguay, winning the LAPT Grand Final. (photo credit Carlos Monti/

Tournament Tracker heads out into the vast poker community once again, featuring results spanning four continents. This week’s featured result features a player who became a viral sensation for his reaction to a bad beat as he finally breaks through to win his first major tournament. The final table of the PokerStars Latin American Poker Tour Grand Final in Uruguay had Carter Gill was in a familiar position, holding a dominant chip stack at the start of the final table. When in this spot at the LAPT Main Event in Panama, Gill finished in 4th place and was in no mood to duplicate the feat. His domination of the final table continued until he was heads-up, holding a 19 to 1 chip lead over Ivan Raich. Victory temporary slipped from Gill’s grasp as Raich came charging back until he held a 3-1 chip advantage. Eventually, the tables turned once again and when Gill put Raich all-in on the final hand, the Argentinian couldn’t fold his straight as Gill made a flush on the river to take his first major title and win over $215,000.


The World Series of Poker Circuit made their first visit to the Casino Lac Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec drawing many of Canada’s finest players. Charles Sylvestre, one of the Great White North’s numerous WSOP bracelet holders in 2013, added a WSOPC ring to his collection earning over $120,000. Continuing with the French accent, the PokerStars France Poker Series visited Paris. Bertrand (ElkY) Grospellier made the final table, eventually finishing in 4th. Rodolphe Dethiere saw his back account boosted by over $206,000 in triumph.

As the calendar closes in on December, several other tournament series concluded their seasons over the weekend. The GUKPT Grand Final in London saw defending champion Sam Grafton make a deep run before falling short of the final table. In the end, it was Kevin Allen picking up the biggest win of the weekend, earning over $257,000. The Heartland Poker Tour held their final event of their ninth season at the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Ronald Bellhad his picture taken as the winner, earning almost $160,000. Allen Kessler earned the HPT Player of the Year title, finishing in the top 20 six times, including four final tables. The DeepStacks Poker Tour held their World Championship at Mohegan Sun Casino as Jia Liu cashes for just under $130,000 at a final table that featured 2012 October Niner Michael Esposito and 2013 WSOP bracelet winner Matthew Waxman.

Heading to the West, the second Poker Night in America tournament series headed to the Peppermill in Reno as David Miller defeated WSOPC Lake Tahoe winner Daniel Harmetz heads-up, collecting $70,000. The Commerce in Los Angeles concluded their LA Poker Open with a WPT Regional Event featuring a prize pool close to $1,000,000. A three-way deal had Mark Ketteringham earn the title along with over $150,000.

PokerStars LAPT Grand Final, Punta del Este, Uruguay

Buy-In: $2,500
Entrants: 508
Prize Pool: $1,133,340

  1. Carter Gill – $218,692*
  2. Ivan Raich – $172,568*
  3. Ariel Mantel – $106,300
  4. Andres Norberto Korn – $79,100
  5. Juan Manuel Perez Solari – $59,840
  6. Cesar Carlos Sanguinetti Guichon – $45,100
  7. Joao Divino Dorneles Neto – $33,780
  8. Walid Mubarak – $25,840
  9. Daniel Wilkinson – $20,620

*Reflects deal made heads-up

Notable cashes: Leo Fernandez (39th), Jose (Nacho) Barbero (42nd), Bolivar Palacios (44th)

World Series of Poker Circuit: Casino Lac Leamy

Buy-In: $1,500
Entrants: 371
Prize Pool: $556,500

  1. Charles Sylvestre – $122,435
  2. John Nelson – $75,656
  3. Dinara Khaziyeva – $55,283
  4. Sol Bergren – $41,047
  5. Mike Leah – $30,953
  6. Justin Dean – $23,690
  7. Bryan Moon – $18,398
  8. Adam Podstawka – $14,491
  9. Ioannis Pentefountas – $11,575

Notable cashes: Pratyush Buddiga (35th), Scott Montgomery (39th)

PokerStars France Poker Series – Circle Cadet Cardroom, Paris

Buy-In: $1,345
Entrants: 818
Prize Pool: $1,095,951

  1. Rodolphe Dethiere – $206,511
  2. Fangzhong Yang – $137,674
  3. Julien Kron – $91,216
  4. Bertrand (ElkY) Grospellier – $70,862
  5. Kevin Montagne – $56,014
  6. Thanh Huynh – $41,842
  7. Philippe Pertuisot – $29,694
  8. Sandra Modestine – $24,025
  9. Francois Creignou – $20,651

GUKPT Grand Final: UK Poker Room, London

Buy-In: $3,245
Entrants: 294
Prize Pool: $952,201

  1. Kevin Allen – $257,302
  2. Rudolf Fourie – $171,535
  3. Matt Davenport – $114,465
  4. Ben Jackson – $66,798
  5. Scott Margerson – $51,396
  6. Richard Kellett – $41,992
  7. Thomas Bichon – $32,426
  8. Will Kassouf – $25,292
  9. Pratik Ghatge – $17,997

Notable cashes:
 Zimnan Ziyard (10th), Sam Grafton (11th), Jan Sjavik (16th), Sergio Aido (17th)

Heartland Poker Tour Championship Open – Soaring Eagle Casino, Mount Pleasant, Michigan

Buy-In: $1,500
Entrants: 472
Prize Pool: $678,120

  1. Ronald Bell – $159,353
  2. Andrew Beardsley – $98,327
  3. Charles Tonne – $64,421
  4. Benjamin Grise – $44,756
  5. Ardeshir Azadnia – $33,228
  6. John Drikakis – $25,769
  7. William Rogers – $22,310
  8. Tonya Provost-Hawkins – $18,309
  9. Dapreesch Scates – $14,919

Notable cash: Joe Cada (34th)

DeepStacks Poker Tour World Championship – Mohegan Sun

Buy-In: $2,500
Entrants: 247
Prize Pool: $551,057

  1. Jia Liu – $129,663
  2. Mike Nye – $90,980
  3. Charlie Hawkins – $58,522
  4. Jon Reinhardt – $43,313
  5. Justin Adams – $32,512
  6. Michael Esposito – $26,010
  7. Steven Karp – $21,601
  8. Matthew Waxman – $17,303
  9. Avdo Djokovic – $12,950

Notable cashes:
 Chino Rheem (13th), Tim Reilly (19th), Jamie Kerstetter (24th), Jason Strasser (25th)

Poker Night in America: Peppermill Casino, Reno

Buy-In: $1,100
Entrants: 260
Prize Pool: $250,010

  1. David Miller – $70,000
  2. Daniel Harmetz – $41,250
  3. George Kleinman – $27,500
  4. Vincent Remmel – $19,125
  5. Vince Cardinale – $14,250
  6. Joshua Atkinson – $11,000
  7. Kirill Tarasenko – $8,500
  8. Bill Watchman – $6,260
  9. Adam Bishop – $4,500

Notable cashes:
 Chip Jett (10th), Chad Brown (12th), Steve Brecher (15th)

LA Poker Open – WPT Regional Main Event – Commerce Casino, Los Angeles

Buy-In: $1,500
Entrants: 652
Prize Pool: $978,000

  1. Mark Ketteringham – $152,970*
  2. Jack Wu – $129,250*
  3. Lance Allred – $106,770*
  4. Brian Yoon – $60,340
  5. Heath Mendelsohn – $45,180
  6. Danny Illingworth – $36,480
  7. Derek Kwan – $30,220
  8. Tony Gordy – $24,060
  9. Dat Luu – $18,090

*Reflects deal made three-handed

Notable cashes: Mimi Tran (10th), Jeff Madsen (34th), Matt Salsberg (35th)

By: Kevin Mathers (283 Posts)Widely known among the poker community by his twitter handle “Kevmath”, many in the poker community consider Kevin a go-to source for news and information in the poker community.

Pick: Real Madrid – Galatasaray

Carlo Ancelotti
Carlo Ancelotti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Following a 5-0 demolition of Almeria at the weekend, Real Madrid host Galatasaray in the Champions League group stage. Los Blancos have already secured their place in the last 16 round of the competition, while the Turks will be looking to upset the Spanish giants as they need to win at least a point from this clash in order to keep their hopes of reaching the knock-out phase alive.

It has been a mixed campaign for the Italian manager as Real Madrid are only in third place in the Spanish Liga with a six-points deficit from Barcelona which is surely not something that is pleasing club management and fans in the capital.In Champions League however they have been nearly perfect with 10 points made in four games and there are only objective is to finish with a maximum advantage over the other teams. Galatasaray are currently in second place with four points in joined position with surprise package Copenhagen. Roberto Mancini is likely to play very defensively at the Bernabeu hoping to get at least a point which will give them a bit more chances ahead of the last match at home against Juventus. In their domestic league things are not going well as they are in third place and have a deficit of nine points from leaders Fenerbahce.

No Ronaldo, no problem?

Real Madrid produced a brilliant performance at the weekend, with the team rolling over Almeria 5-0, but Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo was forced off with a slight thigh strain. CR7’s injury is not as bad as initially feared, but the team’s top scorer will be rested against Galatasaray. Real Madrid are leading the Champions League group B ahead of the clash against the Turkish champions, with the team picking up 10 points from four encounters. The capital side has been scoring goals for fun this term and they will be looking to continue their unbeaten run in the competition on Wednesday night, despite already securing their place in the knock-out phase. In Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence newly-signed Welsh superstar Gareth Bale will be the man to watch in the home side. The former Tottenham man has been raising his form week by week and he will be looking to score his second goal for los Blancos in the elite competition. The winger is to find the net and I believe that there is a big value in this bet. Seeing that Real Madrid have already book their place in the last 16 round, boss Carlo Ancelotti could experiment against Galatasaray, but his replacements will be certainly very motivated to prove that they deserve their place in the starting line-up.

Marcelo and Angel Di Maria have both overcome their respective injuries. Cristiano Ronaldo, Sami Khedira and Fabio Coentrao are out of contention.

Yellow-Reds looking for a miracle

After they clinched yet another title in Turkish Super Lig, Galarasaray have not made a fine start to the new season. As a result, Roberto Mancini has replaced Fatih Terim as the team’s coach, but the Italian boss has yet to make an impact at Turk Telekom Arena Istanbul. Earlier this month the Yellow-Reds suffered a 2-0 defeat in the local derby against bitter rival Fenerbahce, and is seems as if they are unlikely to defend the league title. Roberto Mancini’s men occupy 4th position in the national championship, eight points adrift of Fener and the things do not look bright for the team in the Champions League group stage. Following a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat to Copenhagen, Galatasaray let go of what could have been a very important advantage for their hopes of securing their place in the last 16. Nonetheless, the Turks should not look back as they face an uphill task in the Spanish capital when they take on Real Madrid. Beating the Spanish giants at Santiago Bernabeu seems like a mission impossible at the moment, but the visitors will surely give their best in order to, at least, pick up a point from Wednesday’s match. Even if they suffer a heavy defeat to one of the world’s best teams at the moment, I am positive that Galata will find the net in Madrid as los Blancos struggle at the back.

One of the key players Wesley Sneider and Semih Kaya are both likely to return to the starting lineup, but first choice goalkeeper Fernando Muslera is still out of contention with injury.


Bookmakers don’t think that Real Madrid will underestimate their opponents and even though they surely will have less motivations they are still the strong favourites to win at 1.25 with a draw available at six and a Galatasaray blitz at 15. Considering the difference in quality between those two teams we don’t respect surprises however motivations are a very important factor so it is likely that Madrid will concede something at the back. We expect a very open match and our suggestion is

English: Cristiano Ronaldo during his spell at...
English: Cristiano Ronaldo during his spell at Real Madrid. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

both teams to score at 2.70 with Ladbrokes.

Real Madrid are one of those sides who always go for a win regardless of against whom they are playing. I am positive that we are about to see a lively contest at Santiago Bernabeu, with both teams likely to adopt an attack-minded approach. When the two teams met earlier in the process at Turk Telekom Arena Istanbul, Carlo Ancelotti’s men recorded a 6-1 victory. I believe that both teams will score at least one goal once again, but the in-form hosts are likely to emerge triumphant.

Real Madrid – Galatasaray betting tip
Bookie Ladbrokes
Odds 8/11


English: Vanessa Selbst after winning the $1,5...
English: Vanessa Selbst after winning the $1,500 pot-limit Omaha event at the 2008 World Series of Poker. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not yet has a woman won the World Series of Poker Main Event, but every year we come closer. Each year, much attention is focused upon the last woman standing in poker’s most celebrated tournament. Since its inception nearly 4 and 1/2 decades ago, only one lady has managed to break through and capture a final table finish. Barbara Enright took home 5th place prize money in 1995, marking the only time in the history of poker that the fairer sex was represented at a WSOP Main Event final table.

In 2012, the entire poker community was transfixed by the play of Elisabeth Hille and Gaelle Baumann, who just missed being included in the Octo-Nine, finishing 11th and 10th, respectively. Both were knocked out of the competition by Andras Koroknai, the lone 2012 final tablist who was not an American citizen. The Hungarian’s pocket 7’s held up against the three-bet all-in pre-flop A-Q of Hille, and his A-J outkicked Baumann’s A-9 when the board revealed Q-Q-3-8-K.

Many players and fans were rooting for the young ladies to make the final table and both received tremendous applause from the rail upon their eliminations. Both took home $590,422 in prize money and will forever be remembered for making a deep run that fell just short of the elite class of WSOP Main Event final tablists.

Many believe that the next lady with the best chance of landing at the WSOP Main Event final table is Vanessa Selbst. Poker’s all-time leader on the money list for females had a stellar WSOP last summer, cashing five times for more than $530,000 that included a gold bracelet in the $2,500 Six-Handed 10 Game event good for $244,259. Selbst also landed 73rd in the Main Event, grabbing $88,070.

To honour these great female poker players the second question is: what is the name of the first woman to finish in the money in the World Series of Poker Main Event, the year she did it, in what position she exited the tournament and of course how much she won?

To participate in this promotion please read the next post:

Review: Pokerstars


100% hasta 600$
Código: STARS600 – la sala de poker más grande del mundo; código EXCLUSIVO para PokerStars: bonus de primer depósito del 100% hasta $600 + ¡Exclusivos Freerrolls de 2.000$!

Información general

Nombre: PokerStars
Creación: 2000
Auditoría: PWC
Red: Independiente
Licencia: Isla de Man


– Sunday Millon: Torneo con 1.500.000$ garantizado todos los Domingos
– Satélites a todos los grandes eventos en vivo
– Posibilidad de organizar torneos privados
– PokerStars Camp: Campus de aprendizaje con las estrellas de PS
– Batalla de los Planetas: 3.000.000$ en premios
– Copa del mundo de poker. Torneo internacional por paises con final en vivo. Programa de puntos de jugador frecuente (FPP): Puntos canjeables por torneos y artículos de la tienda PS. Freerolls semanales de $2000

Nuestra valoración

· Software 10
· Gráficos 10
· Atención al cliente 7
· Nivel de los jugadores 9
· Tráfico en cash games 10
· Tráfico en torneso 10
· Promoción bienvenida 4
· Promoción fidelización 7
· Opciones depósito/retiro 9


· Software en castellano
· Sitio web en castellano
· Atención en castellano
· Opción multimesa
· Mesas ajustables
· Estadísticas en vivo
· Historial de manos
· Mesas privadas
· Notas de oponentes
· Busqueda de jugador
· Transferencias internas
· Baraja de cuatro colores
· Avatares
· Vista 3D
· Compatible con Poker Tracker
· Compatible con Poker Office
· Compatible con MAC
· Compatible con Linux
· Jugadores americanos

Opciones de depósito:

VISA, MasterCard, NETeller, Fire pay, centracoin, ukash, paysafecard, Western Union.

Opciones de retiro:

VISA, MasterCard, NETeller, Fire pay, centracoin, ukash, paysafecard, Western Union.


Email: Sí, Teléfono: No, Chat: No

Juegos: Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, H.O.R.S.E., H.O.S.E, 2-7 Triple Draw, Five-Card Draw, Five Card Omaha, Courchevel and Razz
Límites en cash games Texas Hold´em

– Limit: Desde 0.2-0.4$ hasta 1.000-2.000$.
– NO Limit / Pot Limit: Desde 0.01-0.02$ hasta 200-400$


List of World Series of Poker Main Event champions

Lan aced this one. The answer we were looking for was right there in the photograph holding his cigar.

Walter Clyde “Puggy” Pearson is a poker legend. He’s a former World Champion and a member of the Poker Hall of Fame. Puggy played in the first world championship at Binion’s and was the second living person inducted into the Hall of Fame (behind Johnny Moss.) He is one of the most famous poker players of all time and is indeed a “Poker Great”.

Puggy (who acquired his nickname because of his pug nose) played in the highest stakes poker games in Las Vegas for over 25 years. He is one of the few players in history who said, “Deal me in” (for the highest game in the room) as soon as he walked into a poker room – and this was without knowing what the game was or who was playing.

Puggy rose to the top of his profession on his own. He was born in a shack in the hills of Tennessee. He came from a large, poor family (nine brothers and sisters). As he says, “We were so poor that we had to move every time the rent came due.” He then adds, “I didn’t know what shoes were until I left home.”

Puggy dropped out of school in the fifth grade to work and help the family financially. He doesn’t have a formal education. His education in life consisted of the “school of hard knocks”. In this “school”, he was a fast learner and was always at the head of the class. Don’t confuse his lack of formal education with not being intelligent as Puggy is a brilliant man.

At 16 years of age, Puggy left home to join the Navy. He did three hitches in the Navy. It’s here that he recognized his talents as a gambler. Puggy is an expert at things people gamble on. In the Navy, this was cards and pool. He was a shark in a world of minnows. He knew then that gambling, scuffling, and hustling would be his career. Make no mistake about one thing – Puggy Pearson is one of the greatest “rounders” in history.

When Puggy discovered that there was big action in golf, he decided to learn how to play. (Golf is a hustler’s dream.) He practiced faithfully and became a scratch player. Like all great gamblers, the more Puggy bets, the better he plays. Having heard about how good Puggy played golf, a reporter once asked him, “Just how good do you play?” Puggy answered truthfully, “I shoot whatever it takes to get the money.” And he could.

Puggy’s golf stories are legendary. Once, a few years back, I was playing with Puggy, Tommy Fischer, and a professional player from the PGA Senior Tour. Puggy was getting four shots a side from the pro. Puggy hit only three greens in regulation that day but virtually got the ball up and down on every hole and shot a 75. He beat the pro for $7000. While writing out his check to Puggy in the snack bar after the round, the pro said, “Puggy, I’ve played golf with the greatest players in the world for 40 years and I promise you that none of them, including NicklausPlayer, or anyone else, could ever chip and putt like you do.” Puggy reached across the table, picked up the check, wiggled that cigar of his, broke into a wide grin and said, “You should have seen me ten years ago.”

Once, during a high stakes poker game, the players were discussing golf and this question came up: “If you had to choose anyone in the world to putt a ten foot putt for your life (if they missed it, you would be killed), who would you choose to putt it?” The first guy said Nicklaus, the second guy Crenshaw, another said Tom Watson in his prime. When it came to Doyle Brunson, he said, “Puggy Pearson”. Everyone stared at him in somewhat disbelief and Doyle said emphatically, “That’s right. Puggy Pearson. He’s the greatest pressure putter I’ve ever seen.” Doyle quickly added, “I’ll tell you one thing about Puggy. He won’t dog it. He might not make it, but you’ll get a good roll for your life.”

Puggy likes to call himself a roving gambler. He owns a bus that he named the “Rovin’ Gambler”. On the side of the bus in large letters is his name and the quote, “I’ll play any man from any land any game he can name for any amount he can count” and then in very fine print it says, “Provided I like it.” That sums up Puggy pretty well.

Puggy’s skill as a gambler and talent as a poker player are remarkable. However, he also has a somewhat notorious reputation with dealers (and deservedly so). What many don’t see or know about Puggy, though, is that he has a heart of gold. For example, whenever a poker dealer is ill or someone in their family has died (or anyone in the poker community for that matter), Puggy is the first one there to help. He is also famous for helping out fellow gamblers down on their luck. (Amarillo Slim once said Puggy “was softer than butter on a hot stove”.)

I wrote a song about Puggy. It’s called, “Puggy Pearson, King of the Gambling World”. The song is about Puggy’s life from the hills of Tennesse to his induction into the Poker Hall of Fame. As it says in his song, “He is a gambler’s best friend”.

Puggy, along with many of the original WSOP players in the early 70’s, is a big reason for the success of poker today. These poker pioneers paved the way for all of us. They deserve our thanks and a tip of the hat.

In case you didn’t know, now you do – former World Champion and member of the Poker Hall of Fame Puggy Pearson is indeed a “Poker Great”.

By Mike Sexton

Read more:

6 New Jersey Casinos Approved for Online Gambling


New Jersey today approved online betting at half a dozen local casinos.
Just days after the state completed its “soft play” testing, the Division of Gaming Enforcement gave the OK to six of the seven casinos that hold Internet gambling permits.
Each location was put through a five-day test to prove that its technology is up to snuff and ready for an entire state to log on and begin throwing their money around.
“At this point in time, the casinos are trying to gear up for larger play in the state,” division director David Rebuck told The Washington Post.
Casinos that passed include the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Tropicana Casino and Resort, Trump Plaza Associates, Trump Taj Mahal Associates, and Caesars Interactive Entertainment affiliates Bally’s Park Place and the Boardwalk Regency Corporation.
The Golden Nugget Atlantic City, however, was held back, and will need to continue its testing before being cleared for unrestricted play, according to the Post.
The setback isn’t a big deal for the casino, which is waiting another week to launch. “It is more important to be among the best” than the first, a company spokesman told the newspaper.
Though Rebuck did not specify why The Golden Nugget initially failed, he admitted that the test period exploited geolocation software problems that incorrectly placed many users outside of the New Jersey borders, therefore locking them out of the online games. Each casino is independently responsible for fixing those issues.
Free of restrictions that limit the number of players, there is no word on how many users are expected to sign in at a time. Rebuck revealed, however, that the five-day test period quickly surpassed 10,000 people.
New Jersey joins Nevada and Delaware as states that have greenlit Web-based gambling.

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