Sailor Roberts, Drache Selected for Poker Hall of Fame

Eric Drache Behind Doyle Brunson
Eric Drache (top). Photo:

The legendary Brian “Sailor” Roberts and industry icon Eric Drache will both be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame at the WSOP Main Event at the end of the month.

Roberts, along with Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim, was part of poker’s old guard of Texas road gamblers that travelled across the United States in search of games.

Brunson is the only member of the crew still alive as Roberts passed away in 1995 and Slim died earlier this year.

Meanwhile Drache was a poker player, cardroom manager and consultant for NBC sports.

Well respected in the community, Drache’s contributions to the poker world are numerous. He was the one who initially came up with the idea for the Poker Hall of Fame. Perhaps most notably he came up with the idea of tournament satellites.

“I’m not only surprised and honored to have been selected, I’m also a bit embarrassed considering the other nominees,” said Drache. 

“When Jack Binion and myself worked on creating the Hall of Fame, I never considered myself a potential candidate.  I’m particularly happy for the family of Sailor Roberts.  Sailor by everyone’s account, including my own personal observations, was a great player and played many games very well.”

Underrated Roberts Flourished Before the Poker Boom

Roberts won two WSOP bracelets including the 1979 WSOP Main Event for $210,000. He earned the nickname “Sailor” for having served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.

Originally from San Angelo, Texas, Roberts was also a top-flight bridge player.

Drache and Roberts will be officially inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in a special ceremony on Oct. 30 at the Rio’s Penn & Teller Theater as part of the WSOP Main Event final-table festivities.

Both players were nominated by the public and voted in by a 36-person panel made up of existing Hall of Fame members and members of the media. The initial 10 nominees included John Juanda and Scotty Nguyen.

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