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Poker Player, Venture Capitalist Perry Friedman Passes Away

Colorful Character Lost To Pancreatic Cancer


Perry Friedman at the 2006 WSOPThe poker world lost an interesting character and an important figure for the industry this week with the death of longtime player Perry Friedman on Sunday. He passed away at age 55 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

The venture capitalist and computer programmer channeled his keen intellect and skill with numbers into a successful career at the poker table. Many remember Friedman for his unique personality and as a member of the “Tiltboys” poker crew, which also included Phil Gordon and Dave Lambert.

Friedman was known for his unique hair colors at the tables and also for donning some interesting attire in tournaments including lighted hats, tuxedos, and sock puppets.

“Horrible news!!” Phil Hellmuth noted on Twitter. “I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my time spent with Perry Friedman, on and off the poker tables. Perry was a great guy, by all accounts, who was always smiling, joking, and infecting others with his contagious laughter.”

Originally from New York, Friedman graduated from Stanford University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics and computer science. As a poker player, he went on to put those degrees to good use at the tables and also as one of the first employees of Tiltware in 2003. The company was the software provider for Full Tilt Poker.

Friedman In 2017Beyond his involvement with the online game, success also came on the live felt. In a tournament career stretching back to 2000, Friedman recorded more than $1.1 million in live tournament winnings. That included winning a $1,500 Omaha eight-or-better event at the 2002 World Series of Poker for $176,860. Friedman’s final cash came last summer at the WSOP in a $1,500 PLO eight-or-better event.

Law School and Giving Back

While at Stanford, Friedman began playing regular poker games with Gordon and others. Many in the crew went on to work at tech firms while also playing high-stakes poker. The group collected many of their gambling stories in the book Tales from the Tiltboys in 2005.

Friedman In 2008Prior to his time at Tiltware, Friedman worked at IBM and Oracle before launching a sports handicapping startup. He went on to work for other tech firms before launching more into poker.

Beyond life at the tables, giving back also became a bigger part of Friedman’s life after going back to law school at the University Nevada, Las Vegas in 2012. That included establishing a scholarship at the university benefitting one student every fall and spring semester.

“Because of my unique situation, I was thrilled to be able to give back to the UNLV community, while also encouraging and rewarding others who want to give back to society by fighting for civil liberties,” he told the university at the time. “I hope that [the school] continues to produce outstanding lawyers who are ethical and responsible members of society. I hope, and I know, we can do many great things in the future.“

The Poker World Reacts