Johnny Moss – the great-grandfather of modern poker
Johnny Moss is considered one of the greatest poker players of his time. He became the first ever winner of the Main Event WSOP at Benny Binion’s establishment Binions Horseshoe ” and topped the list of the best poker players from Poker Hall of Fame in 1979. How Moss’ poker career developed – read in our material.
How Johnny Moss’ poker career began
Johnny Moss was born on May 14 in 1907 in Texas. At that time, players went to casinos with a gun for self-defense – this is just for reference so that you understand in what period Moss lived. His family was not very rich, and Johnny was already working full-time at the Western Telegraph Company at fifteen to help her somehow. As a result, his work became the main source of income for the family.
Johnny spent his free time with his friends, with whom he learned to play various board games. It is said that around this time period, Moss met Benny Binion, who taught him some poker strategy, and later became his close friend.
At the age of 16, Johnny Moss found a second job at a gambling establishment, where he was taught to spy on players and prevent cheating on their part. The guy followed both the dealers and the poker players. It was then that he fell in love with poker. He constantly observed the combinations of others and received through this experience, which he was soon able to demonstrate.
Of course, learning poker is much easier now than it was in the days of Moss. In his days there was no strategy books , there were no other alternative platforms for learning about the game. All Johnny’s knowledge of poker is his own observation of others. This helped him develop his own strategy and ideas that improved his skills and made him stand out from his rivals.
By the way, it’s important to note that when Johnny Moss started playing, poker was not legalized. At that time, there were no official gambling establishments or special tournaments. Moss traveled to Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, where he competed with wealthy poker players. Johnny often walked away with millions in winnings, thanks to them.
Johnny Moss and his gun
We already said at the beginning that in the days when Johnny Moss played poker, it was customary to come to the casino with a gun for their own safety.
Once, while playing in one institution, Johnny noticed small holes in the ceiling, from which his eyes peeped out. So the casino executives tried to read the hole cards of the players. Moss, of course, did not like this very much, and he grabbed a pistol from his pocket, lifted it towards the ceiling and shouted that he would open fire in the eyes if these holes were not immediately plugged with something.
The gambling establishment owners decided to assure Moss that he was bluffing like that and did not even understand what he was talking about. Then Johnny fired several shots at the ceiling. The man who peeped was injured.
The famous game with Nick Dandolos: truth or fiction?
In 1949, Benny Binion invited Johnny Moss to play in a tournament he organized against Nick Dandolos. Moss took up the challenge and traveled to Las Vegas for the first time for the longest gaming session of his career.
Moss and Dandolos played against each other for five days in a row, then they had two days to rest, and they returned to the table again. The poker players played five-card no-limit stud, seven-card stud, seven-card high-low and lowball.
Other players could join their table, but they had to pay a starting buy-in for this in the amount of more than 10 thousand US dollars. There were several who wanted to, but they could not hold out for a couple of days.
The poker battle lasted five months. By the very end, Nick was already in the red by $ 4 million. He was exhausted and ready to admit defeat. He accompanied his refusal to continue with his most famous quote:
“Mr. Moss, I have to let you go.”
Many say the game was the inspiration for Benny Binion, who later launched the World Series of Poker.
However, some experts doubted the authenticity of this story. As a result of numerous investigations, it turned out that Johnny Moss and Nick Dandolos once played against each other, but not at Binion’s hotel. Moreover, their joint game lasted only a couple of hours.
Benny Binion himself often avoided questions on this topic. In the end, in one of the interviews, he admitted that there was confusion, the stories were mixed up, but he was not involved in this.
The most interesting facts from the life of Johnny Moss
Little Known Facts About Johnny Mosse:
- Johnny’s mother died of a ruptured appendix when he was eight years old.
- Moss became engaged to his wife, Virgie Ann Mauser in 1926, but later she was never mentioned in any sources.
- Johnny Moss has won 8 WSOP gold bracelets throughout his career.
- Moss’s biggest loss ever was $ 1.5 million.
- He loved to bet on tennis.
Johnny Moss passed away on December 16 in 1995 at the age of 88.