Great 'opportunity' for us at Caesars

Feb 12, 2008 10:01 PM

Back in the Saddle by Johnny Hale | Carol, you and our daughter "Oklahoma Sarah" have been invited to play with me and a lot of other folks in the Third Annual Celebrity Poker Tournament at Caesars Palace this Saturday.

All the proceeds will be for the benefit of Opportunity Village, one of Las Vegas’s favorite charities. There will be a lot of celebrity folks playing in this event, including magician Ronn Lucas, Frankie and Joey Scinta of The Scintas, the performers from The Thunder From Down Under, along with a lot of well known poker celebrities.

There will be a VIP reception at PURE nightclub and a silent auction! We want to invite all our friends and especially poker players to play a few hands with us.

This annual charity poker tournament is always a sellout and we will have a lot of fun playing for charity and a very worthwhile cause – Opportunity Village. For more information call 702-880-4038 or visit

Do you remember Johnny Moss and his wife Virgie? A lot of times I am mistakenly called Mr. Moss! I guess it is part of the history of poker and Las Vegas.

I have been reading an old poker book [copyright 1981 by Johnny Moss] from the autographed section in our library of new and old poker books.

Moss was the first inductee of "The Seniors" World Championship of Poker/Poker Players Hall of Fame. I have a letter signed by Moss giving me permission to use his likeness and biographical sketch. Yes, I have the right to quote from his authorized biographical book.

Today I would like to tell you that I got these facts on the history of poker from Moss, the Grand Old Man of Poker. Some of the facts were retold to me many times by Johnny. Some of the facts come from his excellent book, Champion of Champions.

Here’s a quote from page 175 on the book Champion of Champions written by Mr. Don Jenkins, who is the authorized biographer of Moss.

"In 1961, the Interstate Gambling Law was passed by the federal government, making it a federal offense to cross state lines for the purpose of illegal gambling. Persons could play only in places where state or local ordinances defined the legality of certain games. Violation of this law carried a stiff fine and up to five years in a federal penitentiary."

Johnny told me with this law on the books, several of us decided that we would consider moving our poker playing activities to Nevada, where it was legal to play poker.

Nevada was host to all types of conventions so several of us poker players decided to form "The Texas Gambler’s Convention."

This was an assemblage of the best poker players that the country had ever seen. The convention was held in Nevada, where gambling was legal and no possible recriminations from Federal authorities.

The men, whose activities had been limited greatly by the Federal legislation, were once again free to participate in poker games in the open. It was a large success.

Stud draw, lowball and hold’em games were held, and Johnny virtually overwhelmed the competition. At the end of the tournament, he was voted, unanimously, the best player of the convention. He was awarded a silver cup calling him the King of Cards.

It was highly acclaimed when it was announced that the tournament would be repeated the following year. In 1970, the event was moved from Reno to Las Vegas and was located at the downtown Binion’s Horseshoe. The name was changed to The World Series of Poker.

Now you know the beginning. Most of you folks know the current history of the WSOP! If any of you poker players are interested, email me at [email protected] with any questions that you may have about the WSOP. I will try to give you the historical information when I write my next column in GamingToday, the oldest gaming newspaper in the world.

Poker Tip of Week

It’s from the Grand Old Man of Poker, Mr. Johnny Moss.

Confidence is the most important skill in poker.

"I feel that my skill at poker is good enough collateral for a bank loan."

Johnny told me the story of using his skill as collateral for a $10 loan with full knowledge from the bank that he would use the money to play poker.

Yes, he repaid the loan with interest.

I say, if you do not think your poker skill is good enough collateral for a bank loan then improve your poker skills until you can take the money to the bank.

Until next time remember to stay lucky!