Howard "Tahoe" Andrew Plays 39th Consecutive WSOP

Howard Andew Tahoe
Tahoe has played in every WSOP since 1974.

Howard “Tahoe” Andrew has attended the World Series of Poker every year since 1974 and today, at the age of 77, he added another cash to his poker résumé.

Andrew first attended the World Series in 1974, the year Johnny Moss won his third Main Event. Two years later Tahoe won two WSOP bracelets in the span of two days, both in No-Limit events.

“You want to know what was different back then? Everything,” Andrew told in Las Vegas.

“Back then there wasn’t all the hype there is now,” said Andrew.

“There weren’t so many kids in the games back then like there is now and it was a lot more conservative.

“Now you’ve got all these young kids. They’re smart, well-educated and they’re not afraid to gamble. They’re very good at what they do now and it’s very hard to overcome,” he added.

Back in the 1970s Andrew was an engineer at General Motors, having graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree.

But at that point he had already been playing poker for twenty years. Andrew got his start in the game in Lake Tahoe in the 1950s, discovering poker as a way to make money while he was in his twenties.

Over the intervening six decades Andrew has played cards with casino moguls like Steve Wynn and Bill Boyd, as well as gambling legends like Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim.

“Amarillo Slim was always a hustler. We’d play gin and he’d cheat and say, ’I can’t help myself,’ when I’d catch him,” said Tahoe.

Howard Andew Tahoe 2
Tahoe at the 2012 WSOP.

And it was poker that gave Andrew the opportunity to get a foothold in property development when things took a turn for the worse in the American Auto Industry in the 1980s.

“I remember one time GM put me out in the repair yard because they were building so much junk we were getting buried in it,” he said.

Poker as a Stepping Stone to Property Development

In 1987 Andrew had the most profitable year of his poker career, winning $250,000 for a runner-up finish in the Grand Prix of Poker at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, and following it up with an $86,000 score at Amarillo Slim’s Super Bowl of Poker at Caesars Palace.

That windfall, and the roughly $100,000 he earned in the preceding decade gave Andrew the capital he needed to get his foot in the door as a property developer.

“I won a couple big tournaments back then and took the money and bought a few houses,” Andrew explained.

“And that was back when you could buy a house for a reasonable amount and rent it out and let the tenants pay your mortgage,” he said.

He continued building his portfolio and expanded to larger developments, which was the way he earned a living from that point on.

Cutting to the Essence of Poker

Despite Andrew’s more than 220 cashes and $1.4 million in total earnings poker has always been a hobby.

And that’s something WSOP Media Coordinator and poker writer Nolan Dalla feels is particularly noteworthy.

Dalla, who penned the classic Stu Ungar biography One of a Kind, has been on the inside of the poker industry longer than most and according to Andrew probably remembers more about Tahoe’s life than he does himself.

“Tahoe has always considered himself a recreational player. He plays for the love of the game and I think that’s something that cuts to the essence of what poker’s all about,” Dalla told

“For a lot of people it’s become a business and an industry and those are two words you’ll probably never hear Tahoe use when he’s talking about poker,” said Dalla.

“Tahoe plays because he has fun and there’s something very refreshing about that. And it’s funny that we have to turn to a man that’s almost 80 years old to get a breath of fresh air,” he said.

To follow all the action from the 2012 WSOP click through to our 2012 World Series of Poker Live Coverage section.

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