Poker Legend ‘Amarillo Slim’ Dies at 83

(Credit: PokerWire)
Amarillo Slim2
(Credit: PokerWire)

Amarillo Slim, the famous poker Hall of Famer, died on Sunday. Slim was 83-years-old at the time of his passing and lost to a battle with colon cancer, his son Bunky Preston told The Los Angeles Times.

Slim was an instrumental figure in bringing poker into the limelight. He was born under the name Thomas Austin Preston, Jr., and “brought poker out of the back alleys,” Larry Grossman, a historian of the game, was quoted as saying in the Times. “It was really Slim that became the face of poker for middle America.”

The poker legend was born in Arkansas in 1928 and spent years being an illegal bookmaker and pool hustler, where he conducted business in and out of the US Navy, before ultimately becoming involved in the 1960s poker scene.

As the game of poker became more popular, so did Slim, who won the major titles in the game of poker and became widely known after he won the World Series of Poker in 1972.

Soon after that big win, he helped bring attention and appreciation to the game of poker by appearing on late-night talk shows such as the Tonight Show and going on to write a number of books on how to play poker.

Given his talent in the poker world, he became the self-proclaimed, “Best gambler in the world.”

There are many legends about Slim: He supposedly won a game of pool by using a broomstick and won a Ping-Pong game by using a frying pan instead of a paddle, the Times reports.

Two popular quotes by Slim are “Look around the table. If you don’t see a sucker, get up, because you’re the sucker,” and, “Anyone that never loses doesn’t do much playing. If there wasn’t any losing, it wouldn’t be any fun.”

He is survived by his wife, Helen, three children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.