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Poker Legend Bobby Hoff Dead At 73

Hoff Widely Regarded As One Of The Game's Best All-Time Cash Players


Poker legend Bobby Hoff passed away Sunday at the age of 73, according to Internet reports.

Hoff, nicknamed “The Wizard”, was a fixture in high-stakes cash games in Las Vegas and California for decades. His poker career dates back to the 1960s, and he was a regular competitor with the likes of Doyle Brunson and Brian “Sailor” Roberts.

Hoff finished second — after several bad beats — in the 1979 WSOP main event to Hal Fowler.

Hoff’s face might be best known thanks to Fox Sports Net’s Poker Super Stars invitational, where he competed with some of the new crop of elites in a sit-and-go type format.

Hoff learned the game at the University of Texas, first taking the game seriously in 1959.

He told Card Player in 2008:

“I was a winning player from the start in that game, because my opponents were so poor. If you were a bad player in that game, you were dead. I won 40 times in a row and thought I was surely the best poker player in the world. I won $8,000 in those 40 sessions. In 1959, that was just amazing. So, I thought I was not only the best poker player in the world, but one of the richest ones. I soon discovered I was not.”

Eventually Hoff went broke and started working in a Nevada casino. He dealt craps and blackjack, before taking a shot grinding blackjack for a living. Thanks to card counting, he was eventually barred from all the casinos in the Silver State, making the switch back to poker. Toward the end of his life he was playing $20-$40 no-limit hold’em at Commerce near Los Angeles and even had some online poker success, despite being an old timer.

As for how the game has changed over the years, Hoff told Card Player:

“Occasionally, I get discouraged because I look around and there are just so many more good players than there was. Then I remember that there are also many more bad players than there used to be. I am not so sure that the percentage of good players is higher than it used to be; it might be, because of all of the information that is out there. But I can say that there are a lot of good players right now.”

Hoff was interviewed by Dan Harrington for the former’s book on cash game play. In tournaments, Hoff won more than $550,000 over his lifetime, which, in addition to the main event runner-up finish, included three WSOP prelim final tables.

He cashed in major tournaments 29 times over his lengthy career, but never won a bracelet.

The cause of Hoff’s death was unknown. He suffered a stroke back in 2010.

Here are just a handful of Tweets about Hoff’s death.