I had the great privilege of meeting GamingToday columnist George “The Engineer” Epstein at the Claude Pepper Seniors Poker Group in Los Angeles where he taught poker classes for seniors.
My dad was retired, and I would accompany him to George’s poker classes, where there would be world-class poker pros giving tips on how to improve your game. The group would play a tournament afterward to put their new knowledge into practice. It was great fun.
One day my dad asked me if I wanted to go to one of these talks where Marsha Waggoner and Robert Turner were going to speak. I thought about it for a minute, then said, “Ok. I have heard of Marsha, but who is Robert Turner?”
Famous last words.
To make a very long story short, that was the day I would meet my future husband. Robert still likes to rib George about it whenever we see him around the Los Angeles casinos.
George holds a very special place in our hearts, and this is his story:
George began playing poker as a pre-teen. He would play other kids for baseball cards. He continued playing at college and on board his ship when he was out at sea during World War II, playing on the radar room plotting table.
After he retired from the aerospace industry in 1991, George decided it was important not to become a “couch potato,” so he decided poker would become his second career.
George is a tireless advocate for poker keeping seniors’ minds healthy. As George says, “A healthy mind helps to keep a healthy body.”
He has been teaching poker classes to seniors at the Claude Pepper Senior Citizen Center since 2005. It started with just six people, and it grew and grew. People came from all over the area until the group grew to over 200 members. George is proud to say not a single member (to his knowledge) has developed Alzheimer’s disease.
He also became a poker columnist for several publications, including Poker Digest, Card Player magazine, the Poker Player newspaper and Gaming Today.
George has also written several poker books I would highly recommend: “Hold’em or Fold’em? – An Algorithm for Making the Key Decision” (starting-hand selection) and “The Art of Bluffing,” introducing the Esther Bluff tactic – named after his granddaughter who introduced it to him.