Poker games in Texas had been loads extra tough to return by within the mid-1900s than they are at the present time. At the time, quite about a the action within the country shall be came all over on the Texas Circuit, which “consisted of thirty or forty towns spherical Texas and the South the place poker games had been held gradually,” in accordance with poker story and Texas native Doyle Brunson.
Brunson is one of many now-Poker Corridor of Famers who got their originate on the Texas Circuit, grinding out games in tiny towns all over Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Unique Mexico, Alabama and other southern states.
But these poker games weren’t admire most games at the present time. Players on the Texas Circuit didn’t most sharp desire to pain about taking a imperfect beat or losing a put off-in, nevertheless also getting cheated, robbed, arrested or killed.
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“Anytime there used to be quite about a money alive to, anyone used to be going to judge a watch at to accept it,” Brunson recalled in his autobiography Godfather of Poker. “Killers, con artists, cheats and thieves had been a fixture of the playing landscape … (in) Texas and the South. The critical threat used to be getting hijacked, which in most cases supposed getting robbed at gunpoint.”
The “nucleus” of gamers who grinded the unhealthy Texas Circuit within the dumb 1950s and early 1960s had been incessantly known as highway gamblers, the earliest of poker pros who, as Brunson set up it, “traveled to wherever the action shall be came all over.”
In honor of PokerNews’ Texas Week, right here’s a watch at seven most legendary Texas highway gamblers, from the proposition wager-obsessed Thomas “Amarillo Slim” Preston to the fascinating-dressed Crandell Addington.
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1. Doyle Brunson
The first player on this checklist wants no introduction and equipped grand of the source discipline matter for this text. The “Godfather of Poker,” Doyle Brunson emerged on the Texas Circuit in 1958 after retiring from the imperfect mafia-linked poker games on Substitute Avenue and Jacksboro Dual carriageway in Castle Price.
Brunson left the games in Castle Price and headed for a “recent originate” within the Midland and Odessa location in West Texas “and the staunch poker games there.”
But existence on the highway used to be equally sharp, and the poker godfather has no scarcity of tales about his highway playing days about getting cheated, held at gunpoint or taking down big pots. In his autobiography, Brunson tells the story of a game at a farmhouse in Austin that “used to be interrupted by the sounds of windows shattering and doors bursting birth.”
“Seven guys with ski masks and shotguns rushed in. No person had of project to flee,” Brunson said. “The robbers herded us up against a wall and ordered us to topple our lower dresses — all of them.”
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Brunson also recounts a hand performed against Johnny Moss that he known as “the largest hand in my early poker occupation” that took verbalize at some stage in a three-day poker marathon in Brenham.
“I was maintaining (jack-ten) offsuit on a board of ,” recalled Brunson. “I had none of that board, nevertheless when Moss wager $4,000, a frightful wager in that game, I known as him with stunning a jack high! I was obvious he used to be drawing to some extra or less straight, and since I was drawing to the supreme one which chances are you’ll additionally accept as true with of, I felt I had to comprise him beat … There used to be quite about a money within the pot, nevertheless I had a read on Johnny.”
Moss showed a busted straight plan with six-five and Brunson took down the pot within the “leap forward” hand.
“That one hand outlined the 2nd the place I knew I was a first-rate player, and from that point on, I was thought to be a world-class player by quite about a my peers,” reflects Brunson.
And these are stunning about a of “Texas Dolly’s” tales from his iconic years as a Texas highway gambler.
2. Thomas “Amarillo Slim” Preston
Fellow Poker Corridor of Famer Thomas “Amarillo Slim” Preston used to be one of Brunson’s stunning-hand males at some stage in Brunson’s highway playing days after the 2 met spherical 1960, alongside side Bryan “Sailor” Roberts, one more Poker Corridor of Fame Inductee.
The trio shaped a partnership primarily primarily based mostly out of Odessa, taking part in off of the same bankroll and sharing the same wins and losses, and retaining every other as they traveled all around the treacherous Texas Circuit.
“We watched out after every other,” said Brunson. “There used to be quite about a possibility on the highway; and with the three of us, we had been extra accept than if we went solo.”
By all accounts, Slim used to be a prolific prop bettor who by no intention passed up an opportunity to wager on something, equivalent to making a wager that he would perchance additionally beat tennis champion Bobby Riggs in desk tennis the usage of frying pans as an different of paddles; or that he would perchance additionally beat billiards expert Minnesota Fat in pool the usage of a broomstick.
Different Slim’s hustles are docmented in his memoir Amarillo Slim in a World Plump of Fleshy Participants. His victims incorporated country musician Willie Nelson, who he beat out of $300,000 in dominoes, and Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, who he took for $2 million in poker.
“If there’s the leisure price arguing about, I’ll both wager on it or shut up,” wrote Slim. “And because it’s now not very turning into for a cowboy to be arguing, I’ve made about a wagers in my day.”
Slim’s reputation as a poker player, pool player prop bettor and general hustler mark him one of potentially the most legendary highway gamblers of all time.
3. Bryan “Sailor” Roberts
Bryan “Sailor” Roberts of San Angelo made up the closing piece of Brunson’s highway playing crew that tore up games all around the south.
“With guys admire Sailor and Slim, dull moments didn’t exist,” wrote Brunson. “They had been two of potentially the most animated guys I’ve ever met.”
Roberts in explicit had his fraction of animated moments. Brunson urged the story of a poker game on Castle Price’s Substitute Avenue that got held up by hijackers pretending to be law enforcement officials. Roberts used to be in a pot and politely asked the intruders to let him perform the hand — which they did.
An avid gambler and partier, it didn’t judge a theft to separate Roberts from his winnings. After a sports making a wager heater that left him with $90,000, he “took his money and went partying with the ladies.”
“When he wasn’t losing his money, he used to be giving it away,” in accordance with Brunson. “Naturally, all his money used to be rapidly gone, which afflicted him in no intention.”
Brunson also acknowledged Roberts used to be an very fantastic poker player on par with himself: “Sailor used to be perchance as staunch as I was when he discipline his tips to it, nevertheless he used to be extra attracted to ladies than playing.”
4. Johnny Moss
Nine-time WSOP bracelet winner Johnny Moss used to be already a longtime title on the Texas Circuit when Brunson, Slim and Roberts entered the scene.
Moss, who used to be born in Marshall in 1906, got his originate in poker as a “cheat catcher” employed to have a study gamers at the desk, a skill that in actual fact grew to become trustworthy when he took up the sport and started a occupation as a highway gambler.
“After I got money I started to raise a gun … The highway used to be precise rough in them days goin’ from metropolis to metropolis,” Moss urged the author Jon Bradshaw for the e book Hastily Company. “You always had to pain about hijackers and the Rangers. All these highway gamblers and thieves and cheaters. Or now not it’s famous to know them cheaters in approach. I got me a rundown on most of ‘em. They by no intention slipped up on the blind aspect of me.”
“The Immense Outdated faculty Man of Poker” shall be the discipline of diversified poker legends and myths, including a high stakes heads-up match between himself and Prick “the Greek” Dandolos in Las Vegas.
Moss passed away in 1995 and is laid to leisure in Odessa, the place PokerNews unbiased now not too long within the past visited as a a part of our weeklong Texas Avenue Outing.
5. Jack “Treetop” Straus
Earlier than taking down the 1982 WSOP Fundamental Event or getting inducted into the Poker Corridor of Fame in 1988, Jack “Treetop” Straus used to be a highway gambler who traveled all around the south taking part in in whatever poker games he would perchance additionally accept.
Straus, a six-foot-six Texan who is credited with spawning the phrase “All you need is a chip and a chair” after mountaineering relief from a single chip to put off the 1982 Fundamental Event, used to be described by Brunson as “now not most sharp potentially the most appealing individual I’ve ever been spherical, nevertheless an uncommonly creative soul, particularly when it got right here to dodging debts.”
“Jack compulsively wager on all the pieces, with or with out a pulse — all the pieces he would perchance additionally lay of project on — which used to be the motive he used to be broke all his existence even supposing he won quite about a money,” said Brunson.
Delight in the stuff of poker story, Straus died in 1988 after struggling an aortic aneurysm while taking part in a high stakes poker game at the Bicycle On line casino in Los Angeles. He used to be laid to leisure in Austin, Texas.
6. Crandell Addington
The snazzy Crandell Addington used to be one more personality on the Texas Circuit, known each for his no-limit Retain’em prowess and continually being the becoming-dressed player at the desk.
“Crandell stood out from the group on yarn of he used to be continually wearing esteem dresses, admire he used to be some neatly-known individual,” in accordance with Brunson. “He liked to set up on costly cowboy boots, immaculate Western outfits, and a first-rate-line Stetson (cowboy hat).”
Addington, of San Antonio, in actual fact retired from poker within the 1980s nevertheless reflects fondly on his memories with the sport, including his years as a highway gambler within the south.
“From a historic standpoint, I disclose potentially Doyle (Brunson) and I are the final of the Texas highway gamblers nonetheless spherical to provide you quite of history,” Addington urged PokerNews in 2020.
In 1969, Addington used to be declared “Mr. Outside” for being the becoming highway gambler in a poker match, earning him a clear discipline on this checklist.
7. Bob Hooks
A lesser-known player on this checklist is Bob Hooks, a Texas highway gambler who later worked as the poker web jabber supervisor at Binion’s Horseshoe at some stage within the critical WSOP.
Hooks grew to become a highway gambler at some stage in his early 20s and “developed a reputation as a valid player, and sooner than long about a of the sport’s most sharp took watch,” as PokerNews reported in 2013.
After his highway playing days in Texas, Hooks done 2nd within the 1975 WSOP Fundamental Event to none other than roommate and fellow highway gambler Roberts, who won the title and $210,000.
While he didn’t accept the glory that includes being a Fundamental Event champion, he did strike a care for Roberts that left him with half of of the prize money.
Diversified legendary Texas highway gamblers who are price pointing out consist of Doc Ramsey, Felton “Corky” McCorquodale, Aubrey Day and Invoice Smith.
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