The famous professional poker player Amarillo Slim, who was also inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame, died of colon cancer at the ripe old age of 83. According to Bunky Preston, his son, who spoke to The Los Angeles Times after his father died, Slim had been fighting the disease for a long time.
Slim played a very active role in making the game of poker more popular than ever. Born as Thomas Austin Preston, he “brought poker out of the back alleys.” As Larry Grossman, a poker historian puts it, “It was really Slim that became the face of poker for middle America.”
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Born in 1928 in Arkansas, Slim spent several years working as an illegal bookmaker and as a pool hustler, jobs he did in between time spend in the US Navy. Ultimately, he became a very important part of the poker world of the sixties. The popularity of poker and the popularity of Slim went hand in hand. He found himself winning one poker championship after another and soon became a household name when he emerged as the World Series of Poker (WSOP) champion in the year 1972.
Slim’s WSOP poker success inspired a large number of poker players across America to take the game seriously, which further made the game more popular than ever. On his part, Slim did a lot to popularize the game and bring it into the limelight by participating in TV shows such as the Tonight Show. He also wrote a large number of books on poker rules, tips, and strategies. Owing to his exceptional poker talent, everybody agreed with him when he claimed to be the “best gambler in the world.”
Slim is associated with a number of interesting stories. Reportedly, he played a game of pool with a broomstick and actually won it. In another case, he played a game of Ping Pong with a frying pan and again won it. Some of these stories were reported in newspapers such as The Times.
Slim has some interesting advice to give people interested in the game of poker. He says, “Look around the table. If you don’t see a sucker, get up, because you’re the sucker.” Here is another interesting piece of advice from Slim, “Anyone that never loses doesn’t do much playing. If there wasn’t any losing, it wouldn’t be any fun.”
Slim has left behind Helen, his wife, 3 children, and 10 grandchildren and great grandchildren.

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