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Poker Hall Of Famer Crandell Addington Passes Away

‘Dandy’ Businessman Played Critical Role In Founding Of WSOP


Crandell Addington at WSOP by flipchipTexas businessman and Poker Hall of Fame member Crandell Addington passed away on April 14 at age 85.

A contemporary of Doyle Brunson, Puggy Pearson, and Amarillo Slim Preston, Addington played at the first World Series of Poker and organized a tournament that served as inspiration for the original event.

Nicknamed “Dandy” for his proclivity of being well-dressed at the table, Addington also found success in industry – leading an oil and gas firm and co-founding and serving as CEO of Phoenix Biotechnology, which specializes in the development of safe and effective natural products for the treatment of human and animal disease.

While Addington wasn’t a full-time poker player, his contemporaries from the time remembered him for a sharp intellect and bringing serious skills to the table. Addington played at a time when players not only looked to win, but also hoped not to get robbed in the process.

“We did have weapons,” he once said of playing in the 1960s and ‘70s. “It was not really to use on each other. What we really wanted to be able to do was, if we won, we wanted to be able to get back to the car with the money. And so, not only did we have to beat a lot of really good players, but we had to dodge the hijackers and oftentimes the sheriff of the county.”

Businessman And Poker Player

A 1961 graduate of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, Addington held degrees in economics and accounting, He then went on to a career as an entrepreneur, but always loved poker as well.

After moving to Reno in the late ‘60s, Addington was one of the men who envisioned a major poker tournament featuring some of the game’s best high-stakes players. That brought about the Texas Gamblers Convention in Reno in 1969, which inspired Benny Binion to found the WSOP a year later in Las Vegas.

Brunson once described his fellow Texan as a “no-limit hold’em legend” and as “one of the most colorful and greatest players of poker history.”

“Limit poker is a science, but no limit is an art,” Addington once said. “In limit, you’re shooting at a target. In no limit, the target comes alive and shoots back at you.”

Addington became a regular in the series and finished runner-up in 1974 and ‘78. The first of those, however, was a winner-take-all event and he received no cash for the accomplishment. He went on to record several appearances at the final table. By the 1980s, life in business and industry occupied much more of Addington’s time and he focused less on poker.

Photo by flipchip /