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The Most Famous Story in Poker

This is how the legend goes:

It’s 1949 in Las Vegas. Benny Binion, a guy of fairly doubtful track record, will get a request from a millionaire named Nick “The Greek” Dandolos: Find a player who has quality and heaps of endurance and organize a recreation.

nick the greek dandolos

Nick “the Greek” Dandalos

Binion knows who he thinks is the best player in the world and delivers him to play – it is Johnny Moss. He suggests, “Johnny, I obtained this recreation all set up for you. What do you want to do?”

“Leave town,” solutions Moss.

Had Moss followed his impulse on that working day, maybe there would’ve by no means been a WSOP and Moss wouldn’t have grow to be the “Grand Old Man” of poker.

But Moss resolved to continue to be. He sat down with Nick the Greek and started off participating in. Spectators were authorized in at Dandolos’ request.

At initially, they were just standing all-around the desk viewing. Later on, people today were standing outdoors the windows of the Holiday break Lodge Vacation resort, making an attempt to catch a glimpse of the players.

When Dandolos inevitably ran out of chips he uttered what turned 1 of the most well-known quotes in poker history – “Mr Moss, I have to allow you go.”

It was five months soon after the recreation had started off. Five months the players had used to play just about every one poker recreation there was, and they only took breaks to snooze.

Moss had taken involving $two-4 million off Dandolos (the sources vary on the variety) – and a legend was born. (See below for much more on this tale).

Increasing Up in the Demimonde

johnny moss

Johnny Moss, counting dough (Image: Mysterious)

Johnny Moss was born on May possibly fourteen, 1907, in Marshall, Texas and afterwards grew up in Odessa. He realized to play poker when he was just ten several years aged.

All through his teenage several years, card sharps taught him how to deal from the base and quite a few other methods to cheat your opponent.

Moss memorized every little thing he noticed but by no means used this knowledge in his everyday living – in accordance to him. There were some rumors that during the WSOP in 1970 he may possibly have a little deviated from his principles.

What we know for guaranteed is that he started off functioning as an “Eye in the Sky” in casinos, where he in fact manufactured guaranteed that the online games remained good and clean. Later, he switched to participating in and led the everyday living of a expert rounder at a time when gambling was unlawful in Texas.

He always carried a gun, which almost certainly had one thing to do with the legislation, but also was not everything distinctive at the time.

OG of the Globe Sequence

In 1970 poker manufactured headlines all more than the United States. Binion, who was quickly out of jail, had referred to as on all the best players in the state to appear and obtain in Las Vegas.

He referred to as the function the “World Sequence of Poker. Moss had cemented a track record of currently being a major-course player and his name was 1 of the best-recognised in poker.

Moss won the initially Globe Sequence, whilst “winning” almost certainly isn’t the correct term for what happened. The recreation was not played in a freeze-out format but as a funds recreation. And all 7(!) members were requested afterwards to vote for the best player.

With the usual modesty that permeates so quite a few poker players, all people voted for himself. To determine a winner somehow, they agreed on acquiring a 2nd poll.

This time they voted for who they imagined was the 2nd-best player. Moss acquired the most votes.

“Could Get Up to Be More Than fifty”

WSOP 1970

#one and #two.

When the Globe Sequence of Poker came back the pursuing 12 months the freeze-out format was used for the initially time and Moss came out on major at the time all over again. He won $30,000.

There were just six players in the primary function of the 2nd WSOP, 1 significantly less than the 12 months ahead of. It was the past time the variety of Primary Function players would go down till 2007, the 12 months soon after Jamie Gold’s document win.

Binion still was incredibly optimistic about the WSOP and manufactured a daring assertion in an interview. He mentioned he anticipated the variety of players to go up to twenty.

“It’s even liable to get up to fifty, may possibly get up to be much more than that,” he continued. His prophecy came accurate in 1979 when fifty four players entered the Primary Function. That 12 months also marked the initially time somebody manufactured a Royal Flush at the WSOP.

Johnny Moss won the title of unofficial world winner all over again in 1974, this time for $a hundred and sixty,000. He turned the initially player to win this event three moments and Stu Ungar would be the only player soon after him to repeat this feat.

In 1979 Moss was induced into the Poker Corridor of Fame. Over-all, Moss won eight bracelets at the WSOP and took portion in just about every WSOP from 1970 to 1994.

There are 4 players in the history of the WSOP who managed to win the Primary Function twice in a row – Doyle Brunson, Stu Ungar, Johnny Chan and Johnny Moss.

johnny moss 1

Larger sized than everyday living at the poker desk.

The Old Man and the Activity

The “Grand Old Man of Poker” – he was already sixty three the 12 months of the initially WSOP – retained participating in till his past working day, which came in 1995.

Even during his afterwards several years people today reported a bizarre metamorphosis that Moss’ aged human body went by means of as soon as he sat down at a card desk.

Out of the blue his bleary eyes would light up all over again and grow to be these piercing torch lights that appeared to recognize just about every one motion of his opponent’s human body and that had manufactured him these kinds of a fearsome player for so quite a few several years.

All the way into the nineteen nineties it was observed virtually as an accolade to reduce a massive pot to Johnny Moss.

He was well-recognised as a golf hustler, much too. He normally won so he didn’t find it tough to find investors from the prison underworld.

But then there was this match when Moss played in opposition to a quite talented businessman and, with just a couple holes to play, Moss was way driving.

“I assume I was down about a quarter-million going into the past couple holes,” he remembered afterwards. “Fact was, the other guy was in difficulties.”

Justification me, the “other guy”? Certainly, in fact. Simply because Moss had backers, and these backers didn’t like losing. They had already manufactured up their minds to have Moss’ opponent killed if he won.

In the close Moss managed to catch up and won with a birdie on the past gap. His opponent was deeply disappointed and complained – “Moss, you are the luckiest guy alive.”

“No, sir, you are,” replied Moss who – unbeknownst to the rich businessman – had just saved his everyday living.

Johnny Moss

Grand Old Man.

Move Out and Present On your own

Though he was street gambling in the Southwest and Mexico, Moss came on a recreation where he uncovered the total area was set up to cheat him out of his cash.

There were peep holes in the wall and ceiling for someone to sit driving them and seem at the players’ cards. Without much ado Moss pulled the gun he was donning and demanded that the guy driving the wall move out and exhibit himself.

“Hell, they imagined I was bluffing,” Moss remembered in an interview. “Ended up shooting the guy in his ass.”

Which raises the issue if Moss ever shot at someone with a distinct intent than warning him.

“I never know if he died,” is his telling answer.

There are several accounts of people today getting into a recreation with Moss who recounted that he would force other players to strip down ahead of him if he suspected them to be wired up just to verify that they didn’t have any dishonest equipment on their bodies.

Few players defied the demand from customers to undress because Moss normally informed them to at gunpoint. A absolutely standard factor to do in these moments, Moss mentioned afterwards, and fully well worth it.

“I suppose I uncovered about 15 holdout (mechanical dishonest) devices on bare adult men by means of the several years.”

An Icon Prior to Moneymaker Was Born

Like numerous other players Moss was capable to win cash in poker but not to maintain it because he could stay away from neither dice nor horses.

Moss shed an believed $8 million more than the several years till he lastly give up gambling. He admits that he normally shed manage more than what he was undertaking when he won, so he went on to reduce the cash just as rapidly.

Moss only turned a rich guy soon after he give up gambling and focused on poker only, but he had grow to be an icon at the very least a quarter of a century ahead of Chris Moneymaker was even born.

Doyle Brunson

“If I had a mentor, it was Johnny Moss.”

Doyle Brunson, maybe the only player in the world these days who really deserves the label “Living Legend,” spoke about Moss soon after the “Grand Old Man” had passed absent.

“Johnny was much more fearless, much more committed and much more consumed by poker than any one I have ever recognised.”


“I realized from Johnny Moss, who was the best poker player in the world at the time. So, if I had a mentor, it was Johnny Moss.”

Mr. Ace-10

Moss obtained a variety of nicknames more than the a long time. 1 of them is “Mr Ace-10,” and just like T-two is now recognised as “Texas Dolly,” A-T is “Johnny Moss.”

There is a contact of irony in this as A-T was the hand Moss’ A-Q was crushed by in the past hand of the 1979 WSOP Primary Function when his opponent Bobby Hoff strike a 10 on the river.

Moss went on to win eight WSOP bracelets. He played poker with the most dangerous people today in the state. He knew online games that are neglected these days. But he will by no means be neglected.

Johnny Moss died in 1995 at the age of 88. Mr. Moss, we had to allow you go.


The five-thirty day period heads-up involving Moss and Nick the Greek may possibly be the best recognised of all poker tales but there are issues about how it really happened.

Some sources allocate it to 1949 even though other folks date it back to 1951 still, there are way much more intriguing issues than this.

For example, if Binion set the recreation up as a tourist attraction, why aren’t there a lot of pictures all-around? The recreation allegedly went on for virtually 50 percent a 12 months!

Also, when it arrives to the correct dates of the recreation, the Horseshoe Casino where it supposedly took location didn’t open till 1952.


Immediately after putting up this we obtained some certainly quite correct suggestions from two vital poker figures: 1 currently being Doyle Brunson and the other United kingdom poker icon Jesse May possibly. This is their enter:

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