Friday, 4 May 2012


My obit of Amarillo Slim is up at the Guardian's web site, and will be in Saturday's paper; you can link to it here. It's true what I say about Slim's influence, and thanks to the Poker Professor (I gave him the name, so I ought to use it!) for the great quote.

This wasn't the place for an essay on the progression from Slim and his cohorts, as I describe, to the next generation of players who led the boom and rode it through its massive exposure on satellite TV and of course on the internet. Televised poker went very quickly from something covered almost like a sport (in fact, that's exactly what we tried to do with the World HeadsUp Championships that Pete and I commentated on) with personalties you could sell like sportsmen, to something like televised internet poker, where youngsters in sunglasses and hoodies hide their faces and listen to Ipods while playing the game as if they were online. Not surprisingly, a 21 year old who has spent four years doing nothing but playing poker online is not necessarily the best story nor best interview. I am exaggerating a little, but not that much. So televised poker moved quickly to celebrity-driven shows, which are a whole different thing.

A generation of players, both in the US and Britain, learned from Slim, a built themselves personalties they used to hustle, both players and audiences (and TV commentators!). It is so true that in poker you're battling the person, not the cards. Slim knew that, and knew how to sell it.


Bob Cornwell said...

As a connoisseur of obituary columns, I was delighted to open my paper last Saturday and find your obit for Amarillo Slim. (John Fordham's piece on Tony Marsh was just the icing on the cake.) Being risk-averse, my gambling addiction is fed by film and book, so it sent me right back to California Split, which I now discover, requiring a copy, currently fetches a minimum of £45 on Amazon.
Still, I was able to make do with my browning copy of Jesse May's No Exit paperback, Shut Up and Deal. A bit late for Slim, but I'm sure he is in there, if only in spirit.

Anonymous said...

Nowadays gambling became much more widespread rather than earlier. Now everyone can play online casino from their laptops. I think it is really good trend, because in order to play poker with your friends do not even need to leave the house