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Poker for Dummies - Harroch R.

Harroch R. Poker for Dummies - Wiley publishing , 2003. - 314 p.
Download (direct link): pokerfordumm2003.pdf
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Part V: The Part of Tens
What distinguishes a poker “legend” from other poker players who may be successful in their own right? Conferring legendary status means the player has reached a certain level of accomplishment in the poker world manifested in the universal respect of one’s peers. Poker legends are widely respected because they usually win (or have won) the most money in years past. They also usually win (or have won) the biggest tournaments in their careers.
Their play is feared and respected. They have a powerful public image, even a celebrity-like status in poker circles when they walk into a cardroom and sit down in a game. That’s a poker legend.
In this chapter, we identify ten legendary poker professionals. It’s possible you will encounter some of these names during your poker career, particularly the younger superstars who are now dominating tournament competition. At the very least, you will hear these names spoken around poker tables, so it’s certainly wise to give yourself some background about poker’s rich history and discover what makes these players truly special.
Stu Ungar
In the late 1970s, Stuey “the Kid” Ungar burst onto the Las Vegas poker scene with the full force of a firestorm. When it came to conventional poker strategy, Ungar didn’t just push the envelope, he ripped it to shreds. Poker hasn’t been the same since. From an early age growing up in New York City, Ungar was a savant at the card table. Before becoming a successful poker player, Ungar set the gin rummy world ablaze. His talent was so overwhelming that by the time Ungar was a teenager, he could no longer find opponents willing to play for money. So, at age 24 Ungar moved to Las Vegas and immediately jumped into the biggest poker games he could find.
Ungar won the World Series of Poker and the Super Bowl of Poker three times each. (No other player has won both events even once.) But the genius that made him also destroyed him. Ungar’s lifestyle was as flamboyant as his rollicking character at the table, his eccentricities amplified by astronomical wins and devastating losses. As brilliant as he was at the poker table, Ungar was burdened with personal problems that were largely of his own making. This ultimately resulted in his tragic death in 1998, at age 45.
Most memorable quote: “1 just want to destroy people at the poker table.”
Johnny Moss
Johnny Moss was called “The Grand Old Man” for good reason. He played poker almost daily his entire life, all the way until his 89th birthday. Originally from Texas, Moss played on the famous underground circuit in illegal gambling
Chapter 18: Ten Poker Legends 255
halls and backrooms of the South during the Great Depression and eventually became respected as one of the best traveling pros in the world. Moss was the first to launch the concept of poker as a spectator event, participating in perhaps the greatest heads-up poker match of all-time, the 1949 duel on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas when he faced Nick “the Greek” Dandalos in a 21-week marathon of Five-Card Stud.
Moss later moved to Las Vegas and took over the Dunes poker room, which for many years was the mecca for high-stakes poker. Moss won the World Series of Poker three times (the only player other than Stu Ungar with as many victories). Had the World Series been initiated earlier — before Moss’s advanced age — there’s no telling how many more world championships he would have won. He passed away in 1997.
Most memorable quote: “If things get tough, you get tougher.”
Jack “Treetop" Straus
Everyone called Jack Straus “Treetop” because he stood six-feet seven-inches tall and had a big bushy beard. He was a truly lovable man, a larger-than-life figure with a reputation for gambling every single dollar in his pocket on a daily basis. Straus carried around bundles of money, which often amounted to thousands of dollars, stuffed haphazardly into a brown paper bag. On more than one occasion, Straus lost the bag and was left flat broke. He usually dismissed these losses with a casual comment, “Such is life.” Straus was a truly great No-Limit Texas Hold’em player, certainly one of the best of his day. He won poker’s world championship in 1982. For many years, the Frontier Casino in Las Vegas held a major tournament in his name, which attracted poker’s top players. He died of a heart attack in 1988 while in Los Angeles, fittingly while sitting in a high-stakes poker game. No doubt, Straus died with a smile on his face, doing what he loved best — playing poker.
Most memorable quote: “I have only a limited amount of time on this earth, and I want to live every second of it.”
Benny Binion
One of Las Vegas’s last true patriarchs, Benny Binion started out by running illegal bootlegging and gambling rackets in Dallas during the 1930s. Binion arrived in Las Vegas in 1946 (some insist to evade murder charges back in Texas) and bought the dilapidated Eldorado Casino. He renamed it Binion’s Horseshoe, and it soon became the epicenter of gambling activity. The Horseshoe wasn’t really built for common tourists; it was a place for real gamblers.
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