Amarillo Slim Preston
Playing Poker In London
In the Sixities
How Amarillo Slim got busted for verbal deception
at an early British poker club
AMARILLO SLIM, THE COWBOY RIDES IN!
It’s the late 1960’s and the World’s most famous gambler, Amarillo Slim Preston, has been lured to London for a high stakes game at the legendary Curzon club in Mayfair. Slim, who had been reared on the culture of the Vegas strip ala Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lanksy and a host of heavily armed mobsters, found it difficult to adjust to the idea that nobody in England in those days carried guns: Not even the police! Cowboy Slim had seen more than a few poker showdowns back home in Texas settled with a scatter gun, so this was a whole new world. However, it had its own unique dangers. Whilst playing for a pot valued at around twenty thousand pounds (a lot of money in the sixties), Amarillo Slim let loose one of his comments about an opponent probably having a pair and was immediately told the statement was a breach of etiquette that required him to be sanctioned.
He was removed from the game and lost his entire investment in the pot. Amarillo was one of the prime exponents of fishing for intel with his table chatter but while it was acceptable behaviour in America in those days, it certainly wasn’t permitted in the private gaming clubs of upper crust England. Times have changed. What once used to be called “verbal cheating” is now known as “verbal deception” and is a prime weapon in any poker game. We owe it to Slim that his celebrity status eventually won through, and many of the tactics now employed in Texas Hold’em have become accepted worldwide. Good job Slim was unarmed in Lo