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Men of Action: Walter “Puggy” Pearson

by Bob Pajich |  Published: Sep 18, 2013


A cloud of smoke that could choke the Tennessee Valley hovered over one of the handful of men everyone seemed to know in Las Vegas in the early 1970s. His cigar tip glowed red and he had to decide what to do — either toss the jack that hung at the end of his lowball hand like a piano teetering out of a window attached by string to his incisor, or stand pat and put Johnny Moss to the test. Moss had already called an all-in bet by Pearson, assuming he’d be getting the correct odds, before a tight player they both assumed would call folded instead. Pearson knew he probably didn’t have the best hand. If the tight player called, he would’ve discarded that jack and hoped his one-card draw made him the winner. He also knew Moss knew that he knew — all poker players know what it’s ...

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