What is a real winner?
For the past year or so, I have been writing on that subject for the members of LATESTCASINOBONUSES and LATESTPOKERBONUSES.COM, two of the best gambling websites in the world.
I have written about theories of gambling, true stories of gamblers who scored big in the green felt jungle of casinos on land, in the water and on the Internet. I've even shared personal stories with you about my losses and wins in poker, dice, blackjack, roulette and the horse races.
It has been a fun journey and I thank website developer Joshua Chan, the Hong Kong Hurricane, for the opportunity to share these true stories with you. He's one of the best bosses I ever had.
While I never interviewed the real winner I am going to tell you about, I have had the privilege of interviewing some of the legendary gamblers of all time. The late Thomas 'Amarillo Slim' Preston came into Phoenix in a red convertible. He was wearing rattlesnake boots, a white Stetson, diamonds, gold and probably a platinum bar or two stashed away.
Slim winked at the cocktail waitresses at the Phoenix Press Club, signed autographs, kidded with the Press Corps when a photographer from my newspaper asked, 'Slim, what does it take to motivate you to play poker?' Slim reached into his pockets, pulled out a deck of cards and a thick bankroll of $100 bills and said, 'Name your game.'
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Doyle 'Texas Dolly' Brunson who gave a few pointers on how he had won $8 million playing poker and paid for a ranch in the process. Other winners I interviewed were Phil Hellmuth, Oklahoma Johnny Hale, Puggy Pearson and Johnny Moss. Characters all, colorful as a Texas wind, and in many ways as spectacular as an Arizona sunset.
The real winner I want to tell you about was born in Western Pennsylvania. He was still in his teens when he went to work for a coal mine. He married a local beauty, raised three sons and a daughter. Even though he had never built anything in his life, with the help of his brother-in-law and a couple of friends, he constructed a two-story, four-bedroom house with a basement on a hill overlooking a scenic river community called Sutersville.
He wasn't much to look at, although some of the town girls thought he was handsome. Just a barrel-chested Italian who loved to work with his hands and who was good with a shovel. He never shirked helping a neighbor. If he saw somebody digging a foundation or painting a house, he'd offer a helping hand. He loved hard labor, talking with friends, and a glass of homemade wine or a beer.
About once a month, he hosted a poker game in his basement next to the wine cellar. The poker table was always full with people waiting for a seat. They didn't care that much about poker, although a couple of the miners were good players. They came because of his homemade wine. One person said the wine was so potent that if you drank too much of it, you'd still be drunk two days later.
This real winner never won at poker.
His friends said, 'He played for fun, for social companionship with the other guys. Wnning wasn't that important to him. And he was a great host. He always made sure your wine glass was full and his wife made certain you had enough to eat.'
When he retired from U.S. Steel Corp. after many long years of making steel, he called his grown children to a family gathering. He had four white envelopes for them, each containing a check for $20,000 -- their inheritance. He said he wanted to give the money to them and see their eyes light up before he died.
I don't know about my two younger brothers and my sister. I know my eyes lit up and my heart exploded in love and admiration for a Depression era miner and steel worker who could accomplish such an incredible achievement for his children. Thanks, Dad. You are the greatest winner I have ever met.