The Wild West: 7 Of The Most Legendary Texas Road Gamblers

Poker video games in Texas had been so much tougher to come back through within the mid-1900s than they’re lately. On the time, many of the motion within the nation might be discovered at the Texas Circuit, which “consisted of thirty or 40 cities round Texas and the South the place poker video games had been held steadily,” in step with poker legend and Texas local Doyle Brunson.

Brunson is one of the now-Poker Corridor of Famers who were given their get started at the Texas Circuit, grinding out video games in small cities during Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico, Alabama and different southern states.

However those poker video games were not like maximum video games lately. Gamers at the Texas Circuit didn’t simplest have to fret about taking a foul beat or dropping a buy-in, but in addition getting cheated, robbed, arrested or killed.

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“Anytime there used to be some huge cash concerned, anyone used to be going to check out to get it,” Brunson recalled in his autobiography Godfather of Poker. “Killers, con artists, cheats and thieves had been a fixture of the playing panorama … (in) Texas and the South. The most important risk used to be getting hijacked, which most often supposed getting robbed at gunpoint.”

The “nucleus” of avid gamers who grinded the harmful Texas Circuit within the past due Fifties and early Nineteen Sixties had been referred to as highway gamblers, the earliest of poker professionals who, as Brunson put it, “traveled to anyplace the motion might be discovered.”

In honor of PokerNewsTexas Week, here’s a have a look at seven maximum mythical Texas highway gamblers, from the proposition bet-obsessed Thomas “Amarillo Narrow” Preston to the sharp-dressed Crandell Addington.

The Wild West: 7 of the Most Legendary Texas Road Gamblers
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1. Doyle Brunson

The primary participant in this listing wishes no creation and equipped a lot of the supply subject matter for this text. The “Godfather of Poker,” Doyle Brunson emerged at the Texas Circuit in 1958 after retiring from the notorious mafia-linked poker video games on Trade Road and Jacksboro Freeway in Castle Price.

Brunson left the video games in Castle Price and headed for a “recent get started” within the Midland and Odessa house in West Texas “and the nice poker video games there.”

Doyle Brunson
Doyle Brunson

However lifestyles at the highway used to be similarly difficult, and the poker godfather has no scarcity of news about his highway playing days about getting cheated, held at gunpoint or taking down large pots. In his autobiography, Brunson tells the tale of a sport at a farmhouse in Austin that “used to be interrupted through the sounds of home windows shattering and doorways bursting open.”

“Seven guys with ski mask and shotguns rushed in. No person had a possibility to flee,” Brunson mentioned. “The robbers herded us up towards a wall and ordered us to drop our decrease clothes — they all.”

No longer your on a regular basis house sport enjoy, correct?

Brunson additionally recounts a hand performed towards Johnny Moss that he referred to as “an important hand in my early poker profession” that happened all the way through a three-day poker marathon in Brenham.

“I used to be retaining (jack-ten) offsuit on a board of {k-}{7-}{8-}{2-}{3-},” recalled Brunson. “I had none of that board, but if Moss guess $4,000, a monstrous bet in that sport, I referred to as him with only a jack top! I used to be positive he used to be drawing to a few roughly immediately, and because I used to be drawing to the best one conceivable, I felt I needed to have him beat … There used to be some huge cash within the pot, however I had a learn on Johnny.”

Moss confirmed a busted immediately draw with six-five and Brunson took down the pot within the “step forward” hand.

“That one hand outlined the instant the place I knew I used to be a height participant, and from that time on, I used to be regarded as a world-class participant through a lot of my friends,” displays Brunson.

And the ones are only a few of “Texas Dolly’s” tales from his iconic years as a Texas highway gambler.


2. Thomas “Amarillo Narrow” Preston

Fellow Poker Corridor of Famer Thomas “Amarillo Narrow” Preston used to be one among Brunson’s right-hand males all the way through Brunson’s highway playing days after the 2 met round 1960, together with Bryan “Sailor” Roberts, any other Poker Corridor of Status Inductee.

Amarillo Slim Preston
Thomas “Amarillo Narrow” Preston

The trio shaped a partnership based totally out of Odessa, enjoying off of the similar bankroll and sharing the similar wins and losses, and protective one any other as they traveled around the treacherous Texas Circuit.

“We watched out after every different,” mentioned Brunson. “There used to be numerous risk at the highway; and with the 3 folks, we had been extra secure than if we went solo.”

By means of all accounts, Narrow used to be a prolific prop bettor who by no means handed up a chance to bet on one thing, akin to having a bet that he may just beat tennis champion Bobby Riggs in desk tennis the usage of frying pans as an alternative of paddles; or that he may just beat billiards professional Minnesota Fat in pool the usage of a broomstick.

Lots of Narrow’s hustles are docmented in his memoir Amarillo Slim in a World Full of Fat People. His sufferers incorporated nation musician Willie Nelson, who he beat out of $300,000 in dominoes, and Hustler writer Larry Flynt, who he took for $2 million in poker.

“If there’s anything else price arguing about, I’ll both guess on it or close up,” wrote Narrow. “And because it’s no longer very changing into for a cowboy to be arguing, I’ve made a couple of wagers in my day.”

Narrow’s popularity as a poker participant, pool participant prop bettor and general hustler make him one of the crucial mythical highway gamblers of all time.


3. Bryan “Sailor” Roberts

Bryan “Sailor” Roberts of San Angelo made up the general piece of Brunson’s highway playing workforce that tore up video games during the south.

“With guys like Sailor and Narrow, uninteresting moments didn’t exist,” wrote Brunson. “They had been two of essentially the most colourful guys I’ve ever met.”

Brian “Sailor” Roberts
Brian “Sailor” Roberts

Roberts specifically had his proportion of colourful moments. Brunson advised the story of a poker sport on Castle Price’s Trade Road that were given held up through hijackers pretending to be cops. Roberts used to be in a pot and courteously requested the intruders to let him end the hand — which they did.

An avid gambler and partier, it didn’t take a theft to split Roberts from his winnings. After a sports activities having a bet heater that left him with $90,000, he “took his cash and went partying with the ladies.”

“When he wasn’t dropping his cash, he used to be giving it away,” in step with Brunson. “Naturally, all his cash used to be quickly long gone, which stricken him under no circumstances.”

Brunson additionally stated Roberts used to be an superb poker participant on par with himself: “Sailor used to be possibly as just right as I used to be when he set his thoughts to it, however he used to be extra enthusiastic about ladies than playing.”


4. Johnny Moss

9-time WSOP bracelet winner Johnny Moss used to be already a longtime identify at the Texas Circuit when Brunson, Narrow and Roberts entered the scene.

Moss, who used to be born in Marshall in 1906, were given his get started in poker as a “cheat catcher” hired to observe avid gamers on the desk, a ability that surely was helpful when he took up the sport and started a profession as a highway gambler.

Johnny Moss
Johnny Moss

“Once I were given cash I began to hold a gun … The street used to be actual tough in them days goin’ from the city to the city,” Moss advised the creator Jon Bradshaw for the e book Fast Company. “You all the time needed to fear about hijackers and the Rangers. All the ones highway gamblers and thieves and cheaters. You need to know them cheaters prematurely. I were given me a rundown on maximum of ‘em. They by no means slipped up at the blind aspect of me.”

“The Grand Previous Guy of Poker” could also be the topic of various poker legends and myths, together with a top stakes heads-up fit between himself and Nick “the Greek” Dandolos in Las Vegas.

Moss kicked the bucket in 1995 and is laid to leisure in Odessa, the place PokerNews just lately visited as part of our weeklong Texas Street Go back and forth.

Johnny Moss
The resting position of Johnny Moss & his spouse, Virgie.

5. Jack “Treetop” Straus

Earlier than taking down the 1982 WSOP Primary Tournament or getting inducted into the Poker Corridor of Status in 1988, Jack “Treetop” Straus used to be a highway gambler who traveled around the south enjoying in no matter poker video games he may just in finding.

Straus, a six-foot-six Texan who’s credited with spawning the phrase “All you want is a chip and a chair” after mountaineering again from a unmarried chip to win the 1982 Primary Tournament, used to be described through Brunson as “no longer simplest essentially the most entertaining individual I’ve ever been round, however an uncommonly ingenious soul, particularly when it got here to dodging money owed.”

Jack "Treetop" Straus
Jack “Treetop” Straus

“Jack compulsively guess on the entirety, without or with a pulse — the entirety he may just lay a chance on — which used to be the explanation he used to be broke all his lifestyles although he received some huge cash,” mentioned Brunson.

Just like the stuff of poker legend, Straus died in 1988 after struggling an aortic aneurysm whilst enjoying a top stakes poker sport on the Bicycle On line casino in Los Angeles. He used to be laid to leisure in Austin, Texas.

Jack Straus
The general resting position of Jack Straus in Austin, Texas.

6. Crandell Addington

The snazzy Crandell Addington used to be any other persona at the Texas Circuit, identified each for his no-limit Cling’em prowess and all the time being the best-dressed participant on the desk.

“Crandell stood out from the group as a result of he used to be all the time wearing fancy clothes, like he used to be some film famous person,” in step with Brunson. “He preferred to put on pricey cowboy boots, immaculate Western outfits, and a top-line Stetson (cowboy hat).”

Doyle Brunson and Crandell Addington in the WSOP. (Image: Ulvis Alberts)
Doyle Brunson and Crandell Addington within the WSOP. (Symbol: Ulvis Alberts)

Addington, of San Antonio, necessarily retired from poker within the Eighties however displays fondly on his reminiscences with the sport, together with his years as a highway gambler within the south.

“From a historic viewpoint, I suppose almost certainly Doyle (Brunson) and I are the ultimate of the Texas highway gamblers nonetheless round to come up with a little of historical past,” Addington told PokerNews in 2020.

In 1969, Addington used to be declared “Mr. Out of doors” for being the finest highway gambler in a poker match, incomes him a transparent spot in this listing.


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7. Bob Hooks

A lesser-known participant in this listing is Bob Hooks, a Texas highway gambler who later labored because the poker site supervisor at Binion’s Horseshoe all the way through the primary WSOP.

Hooks was a highway gambler all the way through his early 20s and “advanced a name as a cast participant, and sooner than lengthy one of the vital sport’s ultimate took understand,” as PokerNews reported in 2013.

Bob Hooks
Bob Hooks

After his highway playing days in Texas, Hooks completed 2nd within the 1975 WSOP Primary Tournament to none instead of roommate and fellow highway gambler Roberts, who received the name and $210,000.

Whilst he didn’t get the honour that incorporates being a Primary Tournament champion, he did strike a handle Roberts that left him with part of the prize cash.


Honorable Mentions

Different mythical Texas highway gamblers who’re price bringing up come with Document Ramsey, Felton “Corky” McCorquodale, Aubrey Day and Invoice Smith.

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Author: Bradley Watson