Top 10: Poker Stories & Folklore

AvasMom

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With the mind-boggling surge in the popularity of poker in the past few years, the game is attracting record numbers of players to casino poker rooms, online poker sites and home games across the planet. Never before has so much media attention been paid to the classic game that rewards skill, mental dexterity, money management, bluffing, luck, patience, deductive reasoning, and an all-around killer instinct.

Anyone who plays the game has dozens of stories of bad beats, classic confrontations and dramatic battles over the green felt. This is not surprising considering the infinite possibilities that arise when you combine a 52-card deck with a group of players bent on relieving their opponents of all their hard-earned money.

Hence this top 10 list of some of history's most famous poker stories and folklore.

Number 10
Richard Nixon's poker career
Former U.S. President Richard Nixon reportedly financed his first political campaign with money he won playing poker in the U.S. Navy during World War II. The winnings helped pay for his successful U.S. Congress run in 1946. Apparently, Nixon decided that his lucrative pastime would not sit well as his political career gained momentum, and he gave up poker in 1952 when he became Dwight Eisenhower's running mate.

Cool Fact: In his autobiography, Nixon wrote: "I learned that the people who have the cards are usually the ones who talk the least and the softest; those who are bluffing tend to talk loudly and give themselves away."

Number 9
The Legend of Poker Alice
One of the most memorable wild women of the old west, Poker Alice moved to Colorado from England in the 1860s and eventually married a mining engineer who played cards at local gambling parlors. Alice accompanied her husband, learned the games and began playing for a living after her spouse died. She earned the name Poker Alice and quite a reputation to boot. By the end of the gold rush, Alice had made over $5,000 (an enormous amount for those days) and moved to New York to retire. In her lifetime, the wild woman shot two men, killing one, and eventually opened an establishment which was a combination of a card room and a brothel.

Cool Fact: Despite her wild ways, Alice refused to play or deal cards on Sunday, and chose to teach Sunday school lessons to her fellow ladies.

Number 8
Origin of "the nuts"
In poker, "the nuts" refers to an unbeatable poker hand. According to some poker experts, the term originated in the old west, where players often bet their horse and wagon. When a player put up his horse and wagon in a game, he would be required to remove the nuts from his wagon wheels and place them in the pot, so that he could not flee if he lost the bet. Therefore, it was assumed that anyone would bet "the nuts" with only with the best possible poker hand.

Cool fact: Similarly, a "nut" player is one who tends to play only strong hands. A "calling station" is someone who frequently checks and calls, but rarely raises.

I'll post 2 more tomorrow ...
 

AvasMom

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Number 7
Canada Bill, History's Greatest Con Man
A gambler and con man, William "Canada Bill" Jones played along the Mississippi River in the mid-1800s. Supposedly, Jones had a squeaking voice, seemed to be somewhat of a klutz and came across as a bit of a clueless simpleton. But nothing was further from the truth. Canada Bill was a poker cheat and three-card monte hustler of legendary status who regularly fleeced unsuspecting opponents who had him pegged as a sucker.

His gambling winnings were routinely lost in rigged games operated by other con men and he eventually died penniless. When a friend once tried to warn him to stay away from a particular game he knew to be crooked, Canada Bill responded: "I know, but it's the only game in town."

Cool Fact: Perhaps the best-known Canada Bill quote has become a mantra for many poker players: "Suckers have no business with money, anyway."

Number 6
Doyle's Infamous 10-2
Poker pro Doyle Brunson won the final hands of the World Series of Poker two years in a row (1976 and 1977) with the exact same hole cards: a 10 and a 2. Today, many poker players refer to a 10-2 in their hand as a "Doyle Brunson."

Cool Fact: In poker, "rags" refers to holdings that are of low denomination or ones that have a low chance of winning, such as a 10-2.

Number 5
Famous Poker Misquote
Poker legend Amarillo "Slim" Preston is often quoted as saying that if a woman ever won the World Series of Poker, he would slit his own throat. But like many quotes that get people in trouble, it was taken way out of context. Playing in a tournament, Slim watched a rather annoying woman declare to the media in a loud and arrogant fashion that she was going to win the event. When she asked Slim what he thought of that, he said that if she won he would slit his throat. Thankfully for Slim, she did not win.

Cool Fact: Amarillo "Slim" Preston, who helped establish gaming facilities around the world, was kidnapped by associates of drug lord Pablo Escobar in Colombia because they believed he was a spy or informant. He was eventually released.
 

AvasMom

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Number 4
The Fixer Killed at a Poker Table
Arnold Rothstein, the American gambler and underworld figure who was rumored to be the mastermind behind the fixing of the 1919 World Series, was murdered in a hotel room in New York while playing poker, supposedly for welching on a large bet he lost at the table.

Cool Fact: In 1919, Rothstein allegedly paid a number of players from the Chicago White Sox $80,000 to throw the game and lose the World Series.

Number 3

Chris Moneymaker Takes the Poker World by Storm
Chris Moneymaker (his real name), a then 27-year-old accountant, became the Cinderella story of the poker world when he won the 2003 World Series of Poker No Limit Hold'em Championship event for a record-setting payout of $2.5 million. The dream-come-true poker victory made (and continues to make) headlines for two reasons.

First, Chris had been playing poker for only three years, and at the time of the 2003 event, he had never played in a live poker tournament in his life. Second, Chris won his entry into the main event through an online poker contest for a total investment of only $40.

Cool Fact: Chris won the final hand of the 2003 World Series with a full house, 5s over 4s, defeating poker pro Sam Farha, who held top pair. Sam wasn't too upset though; he received a cool $1.3 million for placing second.

Number 2
Johnny Moss cleans out Nick the Greek
In one of the most famous poker confrontations of modern times, poker legend Johnny Moss battled with Nick "The Greek" Dandalos in a marathon game in 1949 at Binion's Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas. The game lasted five months (they took breaks to sleep) and consisted of every variation of poker there was. At the end, Moss reportedly bled the Greek for $4 million. The game was actually a precursor to the World Series of Poker (WSOP), which would officially begin in 1970. Johnny Moss went on to become the first player in history to win the WSOP three times (Stu Ungar is the only other player to have accomplished this feat).

Number 1
Wild Bill and the Dead Man's Hand
On August 2, 1876, in Deadwood, South Dakota, old west legend Wild Bill Hickok was shot to death by Jack McCall during a poker game because McCall believed he was being cheated. The poker hand Wild Bill was holding at that moment was two pair, black aces and black 8s. Since that fateful day, that poker hand has been known as the Dead Man's Hand.
 

Casinodepositors

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Are those real life stories or just imagination? I mean yes it is possible to make a fortune playing poker but when reading some of them is like a fairy tale. The most likely story involving poker is a Bovado player outsmart the casino.