Memorial service for Puggy Pearson held at Bellagio

An intimate memorial service for 1973 World Series of Poker (WSOP) champion and Poker Hall of Famer, Puggy Pearson, was hosted Monday in the ballroom of the Bellagio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, home of Puggy's favorite card room. Las Vegas Sun columnist, Jeff Haney, was in attendance to share in the memory of Pearson and exchange stories about his life as a gambler.

The 77-year-old player died in Las Vegas on Wednesday, April 12. His memorial service was attended by friends and family, including Doyle Brunson, Eric Brache, and Tom Sexton, brother of World Poker Tour (WPT) host, Mike Sexton.

Mourners were treated to light-hearted stories commemorating the legendary antics of Pearson at the poker table and on the golf course, and often broke into laughter as fellow pros and family members remembered Puggy as "a colorful hustler who used his wits and imagination to become a success, and 'the greatest rounder this country has ever seen.'"

Pearson's daughter, Andrea Phelan of Nashville, Tenn., said her father would have been happy to see that the service was "celebrating who he was and not mourning his loss."

Doyle Brunson praised his fellow WSOP champion and Poker Hall of Fame member for being Vegas' top dog in the early days of high stakes poker.

"Make no mistake about it, there was only one No. 1, and Puggy was it," Brunson said. "He was the king of poker. He had the best natural instincts of anyone I've known."

The ceremony also included a video montage of images from Pearson's life set to music, including a song written by Mike Sexton, "Puggy Pearson, King of the Gambling World."

Please see Poker Legend Passes Away At 77 for further details.

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