Thursday, June 15, 2017

Revelation Regarding the (Alleged) Moss-Dandolos Match

Busy days here on the farm of late, although like everyone I’ve been following all that has gone on at the World Series of Poker thus far. Hard to believe they are only about two weeks into the series, as they’ve already gotten up to the 30th event today.

Have been glad to track the updates on PokerNews once more, and am tuning in over at PokerGO now and then. Speaking of the latter, they finally did get PayPal working and so I got a monthly subscription. They have it on Roku now, too, although I never have been able to get anything to load over there (it seems to stick in a “Retrieving” cycle and never quite opens the live event).

I did want to touch base, though, and let visitors know about a recent “Poker & Pop Culture” column of mine that relates somewhat to the history of the WSOP.

A few weeks back I ran a revised and expanded version of a column focusing on a famous heads-up poker game between Johnny Moss and Nick “The Greek” Dandolos. If you’re reading this blog you’ve probably heard of that match before.

According to most accounts, the pair got together sometime around 1951 (or thereabouts) at Binion’s Horseshoe to play a high-stakes match that lasted several months, with Moss ultimately said to have come away a big winner ($2 million or more, say some). The game was open to the public, goes the story, and for that reason sometimes gets linked to the later idea of the WSOP first run at Binion’s in 1970.

That column, titled “Moss and Dandolos at the Horseshoe - Legend or Myth?” was really more about the many stories about the game than about the game itself.

I included in there how one of the most referenced sources for details regarding the match is Al Alvarez’s The Biggest Game in Town (1983), a favorite poker book of mine that I’ve written about here many, many times over the years.

I also included a bit from Jesse May regarding how some of those who talked to Alvarez for his book (including Moss) likely embellished their tales more than a little bit.

In any case, about a week after that column went up I had a nice surprise when I got a note from a person who works for Jack Binion. The note asked if I could get in touch, as Mr. Binion had some information to share about the Moss-Dandolos story that could help clear up a lot of the uncertainty surrounding it.

I called and after a couple more exchanges ended up getting some fairly remarkable memories from Jack Binion regarding the alleged match. I say “alleged” because one of the clarifications he made was to explain that the match never really happened! At least not at Binion’s, and not in public. And likely not for the super-high stakes often cited, either.

I won’t give away the rest of the story here, but instead point you over to the newer article that shares Jack Binion’s insight:

Poker & Pop Culture: Jack Binion Sorts Fact From Fiction Regarding Moss-Dandolos Match.”

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Blogger THETA Poker said...

Wow, thanks for clearing that up! Makes perfect sense, too, for two decades-old events to be conflated then exaggerated. But why didn't Jack Binion speak up sooner?

6/15/2017 7:11 PM  

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