The online poker media has reported that Bobby Hoff, the professional poker player, died at the age of 73. Hoff regularly played high stakes poker in California and Las Vegas after he kick started his poker career in the early sixties. Widely renowned as “The Wizard,” he occupied the ranks of poker pros such as Brian Roberts and Doyle Brunson.
Hoff did suffer several bad beats in the course of his career, but he finished second in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) 1979 Main Event. He also took part in the Fox Sports Net’s Poker Super Stars Invitation, a Sit ‘N’ Go tournament, in which he played against a number of top poker pros.
Hoff, who learned how to play poker in Texas University, began taking poker seriously only in 1959. In 2008, he is reported to have told Card Player: “I was a winning player from the start in that game, because my opponents were so poor. If you were a bad player in that game, you were dead. I won 40 times in a row and thought I was not only the best poker player in the world, but one of the richest ones. I soon discovered I was not.”
At one time, Hoff lost all his money playing poker and had to get a job as a dealer at a casino in Nevada. He began playing professional blackjack, but was banned from entering Nevada casinos because of his card counting abilities. Hoff returned to poker, and during the last few years of his life, he played a lot of $20/$40 NL Hold’em games in a Los Angeles casino.
Speaking about how his game evolved over the course of his career, Hoff said: “Occasionally, I get discouraged because I look around and there are just so many more good players than there was. Then I remember that there are also many more bad players than there used to be. I am not so sure that the percentage of good players is higher than it used to be; it might be, because of all of the information that is out there. But I can say that there are a lot of good players right now.”
Hoff won over $550,000 playing live poker tournaments alone, in addition to his WSOP 1979 Main Event success. He also became a WSOP finalist thrice, finished in the cash 29 times, but did not win a single WSOP bracelet.