Former World Series of Poker director Eric Drache mostly avoids the spotlight, now that he is a behind the camera executive for some of the most successful TV poker productions, but Drache was looking for the chance to be heard following the passing last week of his long time top assistant James "Jimmy" Knight of lung cancer at the age of 64.
"I first met Jimmy in the early 1970s and we played poker together many times," Drache said. "Jimmy had the normal ups and downs of a poker player, but he never blamed his down time on any dealers, other employees or players.
"He always handled himself with style and eventually, in 1978, became assistant cardroom manager at the old Silverbird, where Doyle Brunson and myself were licensed to lease the cardroom. The Silverbird became the spot for the highest limit games anywhere at that time and, as a result, became a spot where employees would be tested and tempted by characters who wanted to get help from the inside for their cheating scams."
Drache continued, "Jimmy, despite his often poor financial situation, never once gave into the temptation that could have rewarded him greatly. He remained this way during his entire career. To me, this is his legacy. Although most games were honest, the bigger games always had cheaters trying to figure out ways to infiltrate them
"Younger players understandably have no idea how Las Vegas was during that period of time … Jimmy just politely barred them (cheaters) with little fanfare."
And the games went on. Rest in peace, Jimmy.