Lakers Owner and Poker Player Jerry Buss Dies at 80

jerry buss 2
Dr. Jerry Buss.

The LA Times reports Los Angeles Lakers owner and long-time poker player Dr. Jerry Buss died in hospital this morning after an extended battle with cancer.

Buss, a long-time poker player who was a regular at both high-stakes cash games and major poker tournaments in the LA area, was 80 years old.

A very popular figure in Southern California, Buss purchased the Lakers in 1979 from Jack Kent Cooke and encouraged the fast-paced, "Showtime" Lakers basketball of the 80s.

Passing over control of the team in recent years to his son Jim and daughter Jeannie, Buss spent much of his later years playing poker, including several appearances at the World Series of Poker and on GSN's High Stakes Poker.

Also among Buss’ poker credits were appearances on NBC’s Poker After Dark and the $25k National Heads-Up Championship.

Third-Place Finish at 1991 WSOP

An accomplished poker player Buss had several tournament cashes in his career, mostly around the Los Angeles area.

His top cashes include a 3rd-place finish in a $2,500 Seven-Card Stud event at the 1991 World Series of Poker and second in the 2003 WPT Celebrity Invitational. Most recently Buss finished 25th in the $2,500 Omaha/Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo event at the 2011 WSOP.

Buss learned how to play poker at an early age from his mother and grew up in Kemmerer, Wyoming. He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Poker players who knew Dr. Buss have turned to Twitter to express their condolences:

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Hank 2013-02-20 16:32:59

RIP Mr. Buss. Seemed liked a wonderful gent and great representative for the game of poker.