"The Grand Old Man" of poker Jonny Moss, was quite literally the living embodiment of poker culture and its progression throughout the 20th Century. Having played poker almost his entire life, Moss experienced, and was a major force behind, poker's evolution from the illegal gambling halls of the early nineteen hundreds through to the present day, where it sits comfortably in the main stream of popular culture.
"If things get tough,
you get tougher.
As a young boy growing up in Odessa, Texas, Moss learnt his craft from "a gang of cheaters" in the backrooms of the South during the dark days of the Great Depression. These flamboyant characters introduced him to the less savoury side of card gambling like dealing from the bottom of the deck and using marked cards in high stakes games. They also showed him how to look after himself in the rough and often dangerous world of illegal gambling.
As he entered his teens, Moss found employment keeping games clean in a local card saloon. It was here that Moss started to refine the legendary poker skills that would serve him so well throughout his life. For example, during this time Moss honed his extraordinary ability to detect the pulse of apprehension in the veins of an opponent's neck
In today's sanitised world it is almost impossible to believe some of the tales told of Johnny Moss as he journeyed through the underworld card rooms of the USA. One such tale he retold in his own words:
One night I'm playing in some small town - I don't remember where, maybe in Oklahoma - and I see they got the room set up as a peep joint. So I pull my gun - always carried a gun back in those days - and said 'Now fellas, do I have to go and shoot a bullet in the ceiling? Or you going to send your boy down without any harm?' Hell, they thought I was bluffing" Moss said, laughing "ended up shooting the guy in the ass.
How to Play:
Moss's achievements at the poker table are endless and almost unparalleled in the world of card gambling. They include winning the World Series Of Poker three times, a feet only matched by Stu Ungar, and in all honesty if time had not caught up with him (or the WSOP was created sooner) there is not telling how many championships he would have won. Perhaps his most memorable achievement - and indeed his most famous - was his heads up poker match again Nick "The Greek" Dandalos - considered the greatest single poker match of 5 Card Stud ever, lasting a staggering 21 weeks!