Winning at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) is a big deal. But shipping WSOP events multiple times is truly a bigger deal. Nostalgia will immediately pour in when we speak of the first-ever WSOP. We are going to look into the man who played at the inaugural WSOP event and won the World Championship—The Grand Old Man of Poker, Johnny Moss!
A true legend, Moss impressively won nine WSOP titles and had 25 in the money (ITM) finishes. He held the record of being the oldest bracelet winner in the history of WSOP when he won the $1,500 Limit Ace-to-Five Draw event on 24th May 1988 at the age of 81. This record stands unbroken till date which makes Moss stand out even today. Among the other achievements of Moss, the most significant one is being the first-ever WSOP Main Event winner in 1970—the year WSOP was established.
Johnny Moss’ Social Profiles 🌐
Moss was born on 14th May 1907 in the town of Marshall in Texas. He spent his childhood days in Dallas, Texas, where this poker maestro picked up the game at a young age. While still a teenager, Moss was hired by a local saloon to keep an eye on the games played there and ensure that the games were fairly played. While Moss was doing his job, he observed and learned different poker strategies.
In the 1950s, Moss shifted to Odessa in Texas to join the oil boom and gambling action. Moss participated in one of the biggest poker games in Texas for several years. It is believed that Moss played a five-month-long heads-up poker marathon against poker legend Nick Dandolos aka Nick the Greek. The marathon was reportedly organized by Benny Binion, the man behind the Binion Horseshoe casino.
All the stats in this article are updated as of 6th March 2022!
The heads-up concluded with Dandolos saying the words “Mr. Moss, I have to let you go,” which has become a popular poker quote. It is also believed that this game was the inspiration behind the inception of the WSOP. The game was also the foundation of the book ‘The Biggest Game in Town’ by Al Alvarez, which still is one of the most popular stories in the poker universe.
Though there is no solid evidence or reports of the game, author Steve Fischer claims that the details of the game came to be known only six year after Dandolos’ death. Even Binion refused to speak about the game due to his criminal convictions and difficulty in running the casino.
Moss won the WSOP Main Event for two consecutive years in 1970 and 1971. He was elected by his peers as the champion of the 1970 Main Event, for which he received a silver cup as the prize.
Moss’ most preferred poker tournament strategy was survival in the early stages. As the tournament progressed and blinds increased, Moss would test opponents with aggression and bigger pots. Author Don Jenkins also wrote an authorized autobiography on Moss named ‘Champion of Champions.’ Moss breathed his last on 16th December 1995 at the age of 88 years and the world lost a poker legend.
Amarylisa Gonsalves is a Content Writer at Gutshot Magazine. Advancing from a marketing background, she found her calling in writing. She takes delight in exploring genres and is a curious learner. Patient and ambivert, she believes in letting her work speak for itself. Apart from content writing, she finds solace in writing poetry by expressing herself through words. Additionally, she adores indulging in anything that satisfies her creative self, like drawing and DIY crafts.
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