Legend Lost: Amarillo Slim Breaks his Silence Pt. 2

Amarillo Slim
Slim speaks out for the first time since pleading no-contest.

This is the second of a two-part interview between Amarillo Slim and Nolan Dalla, who was on assignment from PokerListings for this exclusive feature.

Part two focuses on the legal proceedings with regards to the indecency charges, Slim's strained relationships with his family and the poker community's reaction to the controversy. If you haven't read part one catch up here.

NOLAN DALLA: Let's talk about the legal case. You ended up pleading guilty to assault charges.

Editor's note: Despite Nolan and Slim referring to his plea as "guilty," Slim actually pled no contest.

AMARILLO SLIM: Yes, to get this over with. God damn, it's breaking up my family. It was the best thing to do. All I had to do was accept the charges and get probation. That wasn't anything.

There were no felonies. I could accept that. And the main reason was I didn't want to be in the courthouse as an enemy to my wife and family, and especially my grandbaby. I'm going to end up being the enemy, if we go to court. I can't stand for that.

NOLAN DALLA: But the bottom line remains that you pled guilty to assault charges. You stated in a court of law that you were guilty. Why would you ever plead guilty to something you did not do if you were truly an innocent man?

AMARILLO SLIM: When my lawyer told me there's an easy way to end all this, I asked him "How?" And he said to do a plea bargain. So, I said yeah - go ahead and do it.

So, he came out of court and said I got you probation and you pay a $4,000 fine. I was told it was just a misdemeanor for simple assault, whatever that means.

I asked him what he thought about the plea bargain, and he said - this will keep your family out of the courthouse and end it. See, I was trying to protect my family. 

NOLAN DALLA: You decided to plead guilty to assault. Before that, did you fear a felony conviction and being sentenced to prison?

AMARILLO SLIM: No! The felony charges were already dismissed. I didn't even have a bond set. Don't you think that if I'd had felonies against me they would have arrested me and made me post bail?

NOLAN DALLA: Some have speculated as to the reasons for your guilty plea. They suggest it might be justifiable for a man in his late 70s, facing possible jail time, to accept any deal which would keep him out of a Texas prison.

AMARILLO SLIM: That's not it. I would not have had to fight the case in court much. It would have been very easy for me [to win]. But I didn't want my family dragged through a trial and being made my enemy in the court. I didn't want my 12-year-old granddaughter to have to take the stand.

Amarillo Slim Preston
"Everything I loved was gone. It was taken away from me."

NOLAN DALLA: You must have known the public would hear about this controversy and suspect you might be guilty of worse crimes. Weren't you afraid of the harm this might do to your reputation?

AMARILLO SLIM: No, I'm not even scared of a big old grizzly bear. I just did what was appropriate - or at least what I thought was appropriate.

NOLAN DALLA: Were you depressed?

AMARILLO SLIM: [Expletive] yes. Everything I loved was gone. It was taken away from me.

NOLAN DALLA: But now you say you have your family's support. At what point did they come back to you and want to move on?

AMARILLO SLIM: Yeah. They came to me when they realized they had it all wrong. I can't remember when exactly that was, but all of a sudden everybody was calling and visiting and everything.

We were all sitting in the same room, eating the same food, swimming in the same pool. Everybody did a complete 360.

NOLAN DALLA: I think you'd acknowledge that you have a reputation as a master manipulator and a hustler. You know how to get things done. You can fix things. In short, you are capable of just about anything. Did you buy these people off?

AMARILLO SLIM: No. People might think that, but they can think what they want. Just so they know I didn't molest a child or fondle a child or anything like that. I didn't.

NOLAN DALLA: Let's discuss the public's reaction to the controversy.

AMARILLO SLIM: The Associated Press found out about it but they didn't want to touch it. Why not, I don't know. Then, John L. Smith [a writer with the Las Vegas Review-Journal] wrote the most damaging article you ever saw in your life.

But I never talked to him and there is nothing factual in the entire thing. He said they now call me "Amarillo Slime." I haven't heard that. I might interview him with a baseball bat.

NOLAN DALLA: But Smith was basing his article, as are most writers, on court records and ...

AMARILLO SLIM: On the word of an assistant district attorney.

NOLAN DALLA: Yeah, but also the fact that you did plead guilty to three charges.

AMARILLO SLIM: I already told you how that was.

NOLAN DALLA: Yes, I can appreciate and even respect that. But you did plead guilty - yes?

AMARILLO SLIM: Yes, because I was advised to plead guilty. Because - we needed to end all that mess. It was also to assault, not to being a molester or doing something like that.

Amarillo Slim Preston
"I resent it. I resent it with every bone in my body."

Then, everyone got a hold of it and the next thing I read was that I had pled guilty to whatever it was, being a child molester, and a pedophile. It just got worse and worse.

And it wasn't true. I can't even say the word pedophile. I resent it. I resent it with every bone in my body. I was 77 years old and all of a sudden I'm going to start molesting kids?

Huh? Not a lot of logic there, is it? There was a site [WickedChopsPoker] which called me a pedophile. I'm considering suing them if they don't publish a retraction because none of it is true.

Back when I could have sex, I don't have it anymore - I can't help that - I would have had it when I could. How come I waited until I was impotent to do something like this?

NOLAN DALLA: But can you see how a writer or journalist following this story might conclude that since you pled guilty in a court of law, then that opens you up to speculation about what really happened?

AMARILLO SLIM: I guess so. But saying I committed molestation? No. That's when I fight back. You want to know how many psychiatrists and child counselors I went and saw? Five. The D.A. set all these up while I was being investigated. To a person, every one of them said "There's nothing we can do for this man. He's no more a sex molester than I am."

NOLAN DALLA: If you could do this all over again, would you do things differently?

AMARILLO SLIM: I have tried to have an understanding with all of my family about what I was doing [during the court case]. Now, they know what I was doing. I know it, and they know it. I was trying to protect my family. Hell yes, I would do the same thing over again.

NOLAN DALLA: But when you walk into a poker room today, some of the people in that room who once respected you might think differently.

AMARILLO SLIM: Yes, and that bothered me. But I have never had anyone say anything negative to me. Whether I was playing, or not playing. I think there are a bunch of hypocrites in the poker world and a lot of them are obligated to me.

Not a one of them has showed up and stood beside me ... I don't hear from them anymore. Some of them could have said something and shown their support. But they didn't.

Amarillo Slim Preston
"I think there are a bunch of hypocrites in the poker world and a lot of them are obligated to me."

NOLAN DALLA: Care to name any names?

AMARILLO SLIM: They know who they are.

NOLAN DALLA: Did you get support from anyone in the poker community?

AMARILLO SLIM: No, I didn't seek any. But I sure should have had some. I will say that one person did speak up and say that what I was charged with couldn't have possibly happened.

He told everybody that we had traveled together for years and slept in the same room. He said it never could have happened what was said about me.

NOLAN DALLA: Was Doyle Brunson the player who spoke up?


NOLAN DALLA: No matter what, some people are still going to say, he's Amarillo Slim. He beat the rap. He beat the legal system. That's who he is, and he's guilty. What do you say to that?

AMARILLO SLIM: They don't know the truth. They are wrong to condemn someone without any substance whatsoever. There's not one single person who ever got up and testified I did something wrong.

The little girl never saw any counselors, because it never happened. The [felony] charges were dismissed against me. The grand jury never heard that I passed a lie detector test.

All of my family is on my side now, including my grandbaby. I don't know how I can make it more clear that all of this was wrong. And now, I am ready to do something about it and speak out.

Special thanks to Michael Hirschensohn for his efforts in setting up the interview.

Click through to read part one of this exclusive story.

Please fill the required fields correctly!

Error saving comment!

You need to wait 3 minutes before posting another comment.

Johnny Hughes 2009-04-05 16:11:00

Re: Amarillo Slim Breaks His Silence


I played poker with Amarillo Slim off an on since 1961. I attended the World Series of Poker most years after 1975. As a writer, and press person, I always, always pointed out Amarillo Slim to anyone with a press badge. I told them truthfully that he was the best interveiw there, or anywhere. I did not tell them he would rather climb a Georgia Pine and lie, than stand on the ground and tell the truth, when the truth was more interesting. I wrote an article about gambler's nicknames. In the lead, I said that, "Amarillo Slim is the best known gambler in the world."

Everyone always gossiped about Slim. We heard of his road tricks and tall tales. However, WE DID NOT ever hear he was any kind of sexual weirdo. Sailor Roberts and Doyle Brunson slept in the same room with Slim as they white-lined it crossroading. Doyle says he is innocent and I go with that. His family is back with him. That says they believe his innocence. What Slim will not say is that his Granddaughter lied. But it is there between the lines.

It would have been absolutely CRAZY to go before a Texas jury on any sex charge. Innocence and guilt are weighed in a plea bargain against freedom or the certainty of the Texas pen.

We had a case in Tulia, near Amarillo, where one rogue, lying undercover narc had most of the black people in town arrested for cocaine. A book was written, TV specials were done. The Governor pardoned many. Many of these innocent people were in the penitentary over plea bargains. Five years of your life over the possibility of eighty years was the choice. Sure they were framed. They had to plead guilty. This is Texas. Slim had to plead to the lessor charge once charges were brought against him. THERE WAS NO OTHER CHOICE. These folks that keep saying why would he plead guilty if he was innocent. The answer is, TO AOID A LONG PRISON SENTENCE. This happens everyday in the Lone Star State.

Nolan Dalla is Mr. Integrity in the poker writing world. This interview persuades me Slim was innocent. Here in West Texas, gamblers don't get a fair shake at the courthouse on other charges. I have to take off my shoes to count all the professional gamblers who went to the Texas penitentary that were wrongly convicted.

Johnny Hughes

"Lubbock Lard Ass" 2009-04-05 05:19:00

I thought Nolan Dalla's interview was pretty amatuerish and he missed asking a couple of big questions in response to Slim's answers right at the beginning of the article. I'm too lazy to go cut and paste them or look them up. Not my job. But I IMMEDIATELY felt this guy isn't much of a reporter.

will 2009-04-04 20:15:00

Can you expand on what you are saying there Johnny about Slims ranch?

I don't really get it.

Johnny Hughes 2009-04-04 16:54:00

I have known Slim and played poker with him for fifty years. I have to go with Doyle's take on this. I write a lot about the old Texas road gamblers.

Also, Slim should have stated that Amarillo juries and judges are harsh, hanging jurires.

Nolan Dalla is Mr. Integrity in poker. His strong, skilled questions gave Slim the chance to tell his story.

If his family is back with Slim, maybe poker owes Slim an apology.

Slim can't help but lie. He said they were on his ranch twenty miles from his house. His ranchette is what is called a polka dot ranch in Texas, because it wouldn't make a poka dot on the map of a real ranch.

He's told that big ranch lie in Texas Monthly, to the esteemed Anthony Holden, and to any gullible scribe that would listen. Being historically careless with the truth contributed to Slim's problems.

Kudos to Doyle Brunson, as always.


Bob 2009-04-04 08:26:00

Just for the record, I stood up for you, Slim. On 2+2 and elsewhere. I have to admit I was about the only one who said this whole thing was a bunch of horseshit.

I still stick up for you.

You got a bum rap. The poker world owes you a huge apology. See you at the WSOP.

icemonkey9 2009-04-04 06:55:00

Tremendous interview Nollan, nice job. It's good to finally hear *both* perspectives from this ordeal.

fred 2009-04-04 01:19:00

I used to think Slim was a creeper. But this article changed my mind. Thanks Nolan for giving strong evidence to believe my poker icon.

zyg0tic 2009-04-04 00:33:00


naw, wanted to give props for Brunson for standing by an old friend. Gives me yet another reason to like the guy.

Best Poker Sites - Editor`s Pick
Free Money Poker
Bonus details: $1,000 Make your first deposit at Free Money Poker and they will automatically match your initial deposit with a 0% bonus up to $1,000
Review Play now
See more Reviews



Sorry, this room is not available in your country.

Please try the best alternative which is available for your location:

Close and visit page