“We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”

Since everyone is wondering who is going into the Poker Hall of Fame this year, I thought it would be interesting to have a Poker Hall of Shame. This would consist of poker players who abuse dealers, players, or both. The only other criteria to make the Hall would be you gotta be dead. We all know living players who deserve to be in, but we don’t want to make too many enemies.

Maybe this will inspire some of us living players to be ore courteous to the dealers and our fellow players. I know I could be a lot better even though I do try to keep control of my temper. I never saw Chip Reese lose control, nor have I seen Barry Greenstein be abusive to anyone. We should learn from them. The Poker Hall of Fame started with six inductees the first year so I’ll start with the same number. Perhaps more will be added later.

In no particular order:

Puggy Pearson – a great poker player who vented his frustrations to both dealers and players. I once saw a lady Chinese dealer take a high heeled shoe and hit Pug repeatedly after he pushed her when he lost a pot.

John “Doc” Holliday – “I’m your huckleberry”, words uttered by Doc Holliday in the movie Tombstone. There are written accounts Doc killed at least nine men, mostly at the poker table. I guess you could call that abusive!

Nick “Shoeshine” Simpson – He was abusive on to the dealers. Nick was the head man in the cheating rings in the 60’s and 70’s. I once saw him urinate under the table on a dealer’s leg after a bad beat. Bill Boyd, former card room manager at the Golden Nugget once shot Nick in the butt after warning Nick not to cheat. I always admired Bill for that.

“Nigger Nate” Lanette – Please, no racist comments about his name. That is what everybody called him before he died in the early 70’s. He bit a dealer’s ear off in the Stardust then returned the next day and gave the dealer $5,000. Nate was questioned in the shooting death of mobster Arnold Rothstein after an argument about a poker game.

Stu Ungar – Stu “The Kid” Ungar was the most volatile person I’ve ever seen at a poker table. It was like some demon possessed person you see in horror movies. He would just erupt and use the most foul language you can imagine. I saw Stu spit on bad cards and throw them back to the dealer. Away from poker, he was a likeable person.

Nick Vacchiano – “Nicky Vach”, everybody called this handsome player. He was a ladies man, everywhere except the poker table. He would try to get in the one or eight seat where he could talk in a low voice to the dealers, particularly women. I saw him make a young dealer at the Flamingo actually cry.

This blog is the result of having too much time on your hands. I remember writing something like this a year or so ago. I’m in Montana, it’s too cold to go on the lake and after 4 days, I’m ready to go back to Vegas and find some action

-DB