Walter “Puggy” Pearson - CardspielCardspiel

Walter “Puggy” Pearson

WSOP 1973 Final Hand ‘Puggy’ Pearson vs Johnny Moss’

Walter Clyde “Puggy” Pearson (Born January 29 1929 in Adairville, Kentucky; died April 12 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada). One of 10 children he left school at age 10 to play pool to help support his family. He had earned the nicknames ‘Pug’ and ‘Puggy’ after breaking his nose in a childhood accident. It was after joining the navy at 16 years old, when he started playing poker. After 3 tours he left the military having perfected his game. He had earned more from gambling than from being a sailor during his military service.

Pearson is acknowledged as being the inspiration behind “freeze-out” poker tournaments, where play continues until one player has all the chips; as before 1969 all poker games were for cash; and players could cash out at any time. Legend has it that Pearson explained his idea to Nikos “Nick the Greek” Dandolos who took the idea to Benny Binion, the casino owner, who subsequently founded the ‘World Series of Poker’ (WSOP) in 1970.

Pearson, flattered that his idea for a new type of tournament had been taken so seriously gave great support to the WSOP. He is reported to be the only player to participate every year from 1970 to 2005 and he attended all the final tables of the main event either as a player or spectator until his death in 2006.

Puggy was famous for always playing in the biggest game in town, whether it was in the casino or on the golf course. He even owned a tour bus called the Roving Gambler, with the words “I’ll play any man from any land any game he can name for any amount I can count, provided I like it.” on the side.

Also a scratch golfer, who could play as well as most PGA tour members he was known for gambling astronomical amounts on the green; according to Jack Sheehan in an article for World Golf Magazine he once won $300,000 playing golf in one day. He told him winning $300,000 was nice, but he had suffered six-figure losses too. “It’s like the stock market,” he told him. “You just want more ups than downs.”