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  • World Poker Tour Hosts Tournament in Honor of Jerry Buss

    Tuesday, August 20th, 2013 by Ryan

The name Jerry Buss is huge and incredibly well-known in the sports world, and it’s one that’s well respected as well. In an awful turn of events back in February though, we lost Dr. Jerry Buss, as he had been battling cancer for a long while, and passed away at the age of 80. Even though he was a huge name in the sports world, he’s also a “poker celebrity” to many, and due to this, the World Poker Tour Foundation has decided that they are going to hold a tournament in honor of Dr. Buss. The tournament is going to be held on Sunday, August 25th, and will be played at his home casino as well, the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, California.

The tournament itself should be a pretty good sized one, and it’s going to be called The Frank Mariani & Jerry Buss No Limit Hold’em Poker Tournament. The event will feature a $365 buy-in, so it should draw in a good range of players from all over, including both the high rollers and the low stakes grinders who are looking to hit a big score. A key reason for this is because it’s also going to feature a guaranteed prize pool of $20,000. A total of 25 percent of the prize pool that is generated is going to be donated to the Los Angeles Lakers Youth Foundation, which is a foundation that will focus “on the use of sports to promote education, teamwork, and self-esteem among Los Angeles area youth.

The players who make it to the final table of this interesting event are going to get more than just a nice pay day too, as they are also going to get a special framed chip set which was created in honor of Jerry Buss and Frank Mariani. Buss had an incredible story behind him, and it’s one that many players and fans alike know, and if you do know it then you probably know why he’s such a well-respected face in both sports and throughout the poker world as well.

Jerry Buss grew up in Wyoming where they didn’t have very much money. He went on to earn a scholarship to the University of Wyoming and earned a degree from there as well in only two and a half years. When he was only 24 years old he had already earned both a Masters and a Ph. D in physical chemistry from the University of Southern California. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that Dr. Jerry Buss was a very motivated and impressive kid growing up, and he was insanely smart as well.

As you may know though, chemistry is not how Dr. Buss made his money. He ended up being a chemistry professor at USC, and this is where he ended up meeting Frank Mariani. The two then decided to make a move to invest in real estate together, and they saved money over the years together from their investments. In 1959 they ended up teaming up with two other investors to put $4,000 down on a $105,000 apartment building in Los Angeles. This was just a few years before real estate really hit a boom, and after 1970 when it all started, the two made a whole lot of money very fast.

Buss attempted to invest in the Los Angeles Strings of the World Team Tennis League, but that failed, and this is when he went on to buy the Los Angeles Lakers from Jack Kent Cooke. The deal happened in 1979 for $67.5 million, but the Lakers made up only $16 million of the deal, as the rest was a deal that brought him the NHL’s LA Kings, a ranch, the Inglewood Forum arena, and a few other properties from all over, including the Chrysler Building in New York.

It didn’t take long for Buss to get the Lakers really going in the right direction either, as the team featured some massive names such as James Worthy, Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, which made up the “Showtime” Lakers that we all know and love today. In the 1980’s alone the Lakers won five titles, and since that time have won five dating back to 2000 as well.

As far as poker goes though, you could likely find Dr. Jerry Buss playing the high stakes cash games, but you could tell that he was there for the fun and not so much the pressure that goes along with poker. He also took part in the popular “High Stakes Poker” multiple times, and to top it off he had four career cashes at the World Series of Poker, so the man knew what he was doing. Out of his four cashes, he had a third place finish in a WSOP event to add to his resume. Most importantly, Buss was known as a player that was simply fun to play with.

Players and fans are also able to donate to the Los Angeles Lakers Youth Foundation if they’d like to by checking out the donation site that goes through the foundation itself.

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