Top 10 most influential moments in poker history Part 1

Along the way there have been many memorable moments in poker history, but in the 175 years of poker there have been perhaps less than a dozen moments that have shaped the poker world. In this column I’ll list my 10 choices for the most influential moments in poker history.

In this, the first part of this two-part series, I will take a look at five moments that many poker players of today may be totally unaware of –or at the least not aware of the full story—since most of them weren’t even born when the last event on this list happened in 1978!

1876: Wild Bill Hickok shot in deadwood, North Dakota

When Wild Bill Hickok met his demise in a poker game in Deadwood, North Dakota the term “Dead Man’s Hand” was forever burned into the American lexicon, and the poker hand of Aces and Eights is still called this into the present day.

The legend has it that Hickok’s hand was a pair of Aces and Eights (all black) with the fifth card either unknown or not yet having been replaced on the draw.

1925: The Arnold Rothstein trial

When notorious gambler Arnold Rothstein was shot dead over debts from a poker game, the world at large got its first good look into the world of high-stakes poker when poker player after poker player was marched up to the witness stand at the trial of George “Hump” McManus, who was eventually acquitted of the charge. This was also the first time the world heard the name Titanic Thompson.

1949: Johnny Moss vs. Nick the Greek

The precise date of the match is unknown (not to mention that there is little more than circumstantial evidence that points to the match ever taking place) but the heads-up battle between Johnny Moss and Nick “The Greek” Dandalos at the Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas has spawned some of poker’s most infamous stories and quotes.

1970: The birth of the WSOP

While not an original idea (the previous year, 1969, saw the “Texas Gambling Reunion” play out in Reno, Nevada) the 1970 WSOP was the first poker event that was marketed, and ever since the tournament has been THE HIGHLIGHT on the poker schedule.  The 1970 tournament was a cash-game with the participants voting on the winner, and in 1971 it took on the freeze-out tournament structure we now know.

1979: Super System

Cashing in on his World Series of Poker victories (1976 and 1977) Doyle Brunson decided to write the definitive poker primer; the result was How I Made Over $1,000,000 Playing Poker, later renamed Super System. With a $100 price tag the book was never a best-seller, but over the year Super System was probably responsible for more poker players understanding that the game was one of a skill than anything else.

 Read Part 2 HERE

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