Some of these players had an impactful influence on tactics; others altered how the game was played forever; all left their mark on it.
In The 1875 edition of American Hoyle, two games known as Whiskey Poker and Mistigris using 53 cards was mentioned despite mathematical principles that held four Aces unbeatable. Straights outranked fulls.
Doyle Brunson was one of the pioneers who elevated poker from backrooms to prestigious arenas. With 10 World Series of Poker bracelets and two Main Event wins under his belt – as well as authoring multiple books such as his legendary “Super System,” one could argue he revolutionized strategy for all poker games.
Brunson began playing illegal gambling games while growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, witnessing violence at a poker table. Along with Amarillo Slim and Sailor Roberts, Brunson traveled around gambling wherever possible.
Brunson believes the true goal of poker should not be winning money, but rather making wise decisions consistently over time. He advocates rigorous training in analytical reasoning, observational skills and reading opponents as a true art form. In turn, his books helped legitimize it in Hollywood films like Rounders which featured Matt Damon playing poker quoting Brunson maxims.
Jack Binion made his mark in casinos and gambling, but has found great success in other business ventures as well. Co-founding the World Series of Poker after seeing its potential to become an iconic event is one such venture he engaged in successfully.
Jack Binion was one of Benny Binion’s sons and quickly made an impactful contribution to expanding and revolutionizing his casino empire and revolutionizing the industry. For these groundbreaking efforts, Jack earned himself induction into both the American Gaming Association’s Gaming Hall of Fame and Poker Hall of Fame.
Although details about his personal life remain private, Binion remains a significant player in the casino industry and continues to have an immense impact on it – one which will have lasting ramifications on Las Vegas in coming years.
David Reese is an active philanthropist and civic leader. Initially he participated in “A Better Chance” and Wedleigh Scholars programs to provide minority scholarships to prep schools. Since moving to Phoenix he has also become involved with several charitable and civic organizations.
Poker cannot predate playing cards themselves, which were first confirmed as such in 13th century China. It may be possible, though, that certain three-card games such as Belle (French and British from 17th-18th centuries), Flux et Trente-un (German from 16th century), Post and Pair (17th-18th centuries English/French/Brazilian combination from 17th-18th centuries) may have contributed towards its creation and subsequent evolution over time.
Reese has made numerous appearances on Good Morning Charlottesville and CBS19 News at Noon programs as a guest host and correspondent, in addition to being involved with nearly every aspect of alumni philanthropy at Denison. His current activities involve leadership and governance; systems change/alignment/alignment and collective impact projects.
Stu Ungar was one of the greatest poker players ever, but his demons overpowered him. A legend in New York before moving to Las Vegas where he won three World Series of Poker events before dying suddenly at 45 at an undisclosed motel on the Strip due to a heart attack caused by years of cocaine abuse, his death was officially attributed as due to heart disease rather than any direct result.
Stu was the son of an established Jewish bookie on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Skipping grade school, Stu became an underground card-table sensation backed by the Genovese crime family and traveled around busting every top money gin player across the country.
His story inspired the classic film, Goodfellas, starring Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci, while Michael Imperioli played him in High Roller in 2003. However, despite having an excellent intellect and memory, he became an alcoholic with violent temper who couldn’t stop drinking or taking drugs.