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This Just In: Amarillo Slim, Not A Murderer
He sat alone on the bench outside of the Amazon Room at the end of the dinner break. He signed a few t-shirts and took some fan pictures. Seems like a pretty calm old man.
Wrong. Amarillo Slim is an eccentric, strange old man with a lot to say. I caught up with him during a color-up break in the Seniors' Event to get his take on the 2007 WSOP thus far.
Here's what he had to divulge. Please read this with his drawl in mind, and note that parts of the interview have been deleted, due to inappropriate content. Trust me - I've spared you.
So tell me about your 2007 World Series experience so far - the Seniors' Event. How's it going?
Well I didn't wanna play in this - they asked me to come play in the Seniors' Tournament and I said I'd play in the Omaha, $10,000, the re-buys, and then I'd play in the big one. I played in all of the big ones but one. Thirty odd-some years, I never missed it - I had a health problem one year, the year before last, and the doctors wouldn't let me come out and play. I said I'd hire somebody to hold me up at the table. Yeah! I said I'd get someone to hold me up!
But you're holding yourself up quite well today, so you're doing okay?
Oh, I dunno. You can't tell, it's too early for predictions. I don't give a damn about this tournament.
You're just here for the hell of it?
Well, I don't know the hell of it, I'm just here. Out of sheer boredom. I live a good life. I just came back from Lebanon, I had my own tournament in Sun City, Africa, I had one in Adelaide so I go there twice a year, I represented America in the World Tournament for forty some-odd years in a row - undeserved, undeserved.
You live the poker dream.
I really do. You understand? I got a lot of scalps on the wall, I mean -
Well look, your picture's right up there (Amarillo's picture is up on the Amazon Room wall from his Main Event win in 1972)
Oh, hell no, I didn't know that. What year is it?
1972 I think, or '73. The year you won the Main Event.
Lord. That's a long time ago.
So tell me a story that you've never told anyone before.
About myself? Two-seater, runnin' water, maid service, paid it all the way, they walked off, bit it like a reptile. Did her neater and shleater and more completer…and…[laughs] I didn't say it!
I didn't say it! Scout's honor! [Laughing hysterically.]
I don't get it. So tell me, I saw you bluffing at the table a lot. You showed 10-2 and raised it up a whole lot. You showed it and started laughing! Are you doing it cause you can or what?
They're a little scared of me when I bet, you understand? And I take advantage of that.
How do you like playing with the other seniors? Are you at least having fun?
Having fun? Well, it's not very exciting for me. I've been through all this. I get excited when it gets short-handed, when it's just me and another one of them, you know. Cause that's a different game. And most of these folks are ultra conservative. I mean they're real…they're awfully bad players! You didn't hear what I said did you?
Uh, you said, they're awfully tight players?
When you listen to it, you can take it out. [laughs.]
So did you ever play with Jimmy Shagra (Jimmy Shagra is a well-known ex-drug lord)?
God, I had known Shagra for about five years before Nevada ever heard of him! I bought Pizza Planet in El Paso just to gamble with Jimmy and Lisa Shagra!
So did you see him today? He was playing!
Jimmy's here?? [eyebrows raise up, he is genuinely excited and surprised]
Yeah he was playing in the Senior's Event!
No, I didn't know, I didn't see him. Last I heard they transferred him from Leavenworth to um, the penitentiary there in Illinois. I forgot. I heard that he did roll over and got out. But I liked his brother Leo real well. Leo was a good man. I was down there when he got murdered. I didn't kill him.
Well, I didn't. They thought I did but I didn't.
They thought you did?
Yeah! I put a rattlesnake in his pocket and then asked him for a match!
Well. Awesome. Thanks for the interview, Mr. Slim.
* * * * * * * * * *
And there you have it: Legendary poker player Amarillo Slim, in the flesh and itchin' for some real poker action. He's still alive in the Seniors' Event and has even hit the money.
He may have to start caring about this tournament soon, because it seems he's actually doing pretty well, and may even have a chance to win it all.