WSOP World Champion Winner Passes AwaySunday, April 29th, 2012 by Ryan
It’s always sad news when you have to report a popular player passing away in the poker world, but it still has to be done. This morning we lost a poker legend in Poker Hall of Fame member “Amarillo Slim” Preston. Preston took down the 1972 World Series of Poker Championship Event, and also has won a total of four gold bracelets at the World Series in his career. He was 83 years old when he passed away today, and it was due to a lengthy illness that he was dealing with which he simply couldn’t shake and continue to get worse apparently.
Preston was brought to the hospital over the past weekend with some issues with heart problems and also the fact that he was battling cancer. Preston slowly got better it seemed at first within the week, but he was not able to get rid of the illness in the end. Many poker players came to his side including one of his closer friends in Doyle Brunson as well. All of the information has not been released yet though, as Scott Clark, who is another poker player told that he had passed, but also said that more information would be given by his family.
Of course, “Amarillo Slim” was not Preston’s born name, which was Thomas Austin Preston, Jr. He was born in 1928 in Arkansas, and earned his nickname because he was known for making outlandish prop bets. He also earned it because of his incredible play at the poker tables as well of course. It all began when Preston, Brunson, and Brian “Sailor” Roberts came together to create the “road gamblers”, which were a group of players who traveled around the Southwest and played in different poker games to make a living for themselves. According to a story from Brunson, they all lost their bankroll in Las Vegas one year and the trio decided to part ways, but still remained close even after everything was said and done.
Preston’s name became a popular topic for the first time back in 1972 when he won the WSOP Main Event, and then ended up doing interviews with many different popular talk shows such as The Tonight Show, and also was in movies as well to promote poker and help make the game itself more popular. He then won three additional gold bracelets with the most recent one coming back in 1990 when he won a Pot Limit Omaha event. Amarillo Slim also wrote different poker books as well, a few that related to poker strategy, but he also wrote one that was an autobiography as well which talked about his prop bets and also about his different stories behind playing poker.
Preston had some very impressive stats including the fact that he cashed 11 times at the WSOP and even cashed back in 2007 at the Seniors Event as well. Probably his most memorable cash after that was just three years ago in 2009 when he finished in fourth place in the Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza. He has pulled in a total of $587,568 in his career, but has had a huge impact on the game of poker throughout his time playing as well.