Johnny Moss

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 18:32

Johnny Moss

A poker biography of Johnny Moss.

Quick Information

Name - Johnny Moss

Born - May 14th 1907, Marshall, Texas, United States

Poker Room - Not Available


Up to this day, the name Johnny Moss still rings a bell for true poker aficionados. Born on May 14, 1907, Moss was born in an era where poker is played in saloons and players slung pistols in their waistbands. Those were the days when only the toughest survive play. Fame and fortune were based on skill and not on endorsement deals. A player gets known by being the best; and Johnny Moss was certainly one of the best during his time.

A native of Marshall, Texas, Moss showed definite interest in poker. But it was only when he and his family moved to the nearby town of Odessa where the poker legend learned his trade. Smack in the middle of the Western lifestyle, Moss learned card tricks and sleights of the hand from his early exposure to card playing. However, a true gentleman, Moss was never inclined to use these tricks to fool people. Instead, he used his knowledge by working for local card game saloons and shops to ensure honest play and fair game among the patrons. It was during his stint in the local card saloons that Moss learned the intricacies of poker and through the years had proved himself to be a worthy and serious player.

There were no books and tip sheets that teach poker playing during Moss's time and players could only learn by experience. Moss did experience poker the way it should be played -- gritty, tough, and calculated. He learned his poker and earned the respect of many players by observing and treating his every game as a learning experience. He further developed his skills by being a traveling gambler. Since there were no big time casinos and large-scale tournaments during his time, Moss traveled from city to city and playing whenever possible.

Learning poker the hard way proved to be a blessing for Moss as he earned a total of eight WSOP gold bracelets, thereby cementing his place as a poker legend. He even won three of these eight bracelets from the earliest WSOP tournaments. From this perspective, everything seemed to have gone well for Moss. But this was not so; his old poker ways and legendary status also spawned a lot of rumors about him. Fortunately, Moss was not one to be affected by rumors and continued on his way to becoming the best player he can be.

One popular story about Moss - which made him more popular today- was his poker duel with another poker legend. Aside from the countless tournament wins, and WSOP championships, Johnny was best remembered for his "epic battle" with a fellow poker developer Nick "The Greek" Dandalos back in 1949. The battle between the two was considered as the "highest stakes game" game ever played. It was reported that Dandalos lost about $4 million after their months-long of pot trading. Dandalos was very well-known for the words he uttered after he lost millions and stood up from the poker table, and the words were: "Mr. Moss, I have to let you go."

Poker has certainly brought so much fortune and success to Johnny Moss. However, people not only respected and feared him on the poker table, but also in the golf course and bowling alley where he won millions of dollars, too. However, life as we all know is not that all beautiful. Johnny Moss also lost millions of dollars on sports and dice betting. As a result, he quit those vices and his smoking habit. He was able to live a happy, healthy, and much better kind of life before he died in 1995 at age 88.

Johnny Moss will always be remember as a legend in the poker world being tied with Stu Ungar for the number of Main Event titles; being inducted in the Poker Hall of Fame in 1979; and for having eight WSOP gold bracelets. All the more, Moss' greatest legacy would probably be the number of lives of poker players he has touched during his time and up to the present. Doyle Brunson, a poker living legend, once said in an interview that he learned so much from Johnny Moss, and he considered Moss as his mentor. Moss "who was the best poker player in the world at the time."