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WSOP: History -- 1975 Recap

Sailor Roberts Takes it Down


Twenty-one players put up $10,000 in 1975 to compete for the title of world champion and a gold bracelet, marking yet another year of growth for the World Series of Poker. Despite the growth the tournament experienced, the titans from Texas that started it all continued to dominate competition. Johnny Moss added another bracelet to his collection by winning the preliminary seven-card stud event that year (bringing his total title count to four). The event was still a Texas road-gambler’s reunion at heart, and a trio of Texans reinforced this fact when they comprised three-handed action at the final table.

Brian “Sailor” Roberts (the nickname was inspired by the four years he served in the Navy during the Korean War), Bob Hooks, and Crandell Addington faced off for the championship. Roberts had developed a bit of a reputation for his enthusiasm and passion for life, which carried over in large part to his love for the ladies. T.J. Cloutier said, “Boy, did Sailor love the girls and the parties.” Roberts was also a member of the legendary traveling team of Texas road gamblers — along with “Amarillo Slim” Preston and Doyle Brunson — that faded the white line in the 1960’s in search of the next big game on the green felt. This had built Roberts a poker reputation as boisterous as his larger-than-life one away from the tables.

The always dapper Addington was, of course, dressed in his finest at the final table, while his opponent Roberts wore a short-sleeved jumpsuit that must have made “Dandy Crandell” cringe. It eventually proved to be too much for Addington, and he was the first of the three players to make an exit. This set the stage for a battle between two hardened Texas road gamblers, which ended abruptly. Hooks moved all in for 59,500 in the final hand on a flop of 7 6 2. Roberts decided to call, and he had Hooks covered with 150,500 to his name. Roberts turned up pocket jacks and saw that he was up against a draw when Hooks revealed J 9. Hooks’ hopes received a little help on the turn, when the 9 hit the table, but he was eliminated after the 10 fell on the river. Roberts took home $210,000 and the gold bracelet.

The way that Sailor Roberts lived his life and his sheer poker talent unfortunately foreshadowed the footsteps of another legend — Stu Ungar. When Roberts was at his best, he was considered to be one of the greatest no-limit hold’em players ever. Unfortunately, Roberts’ life in the fast lane ultimately led to his premature death.

1975 WSOP Results

WSOP history article links:

Preludes - 1970 - 1971 - 1972 - 1973 - 1974

Quote source: “All-In the (Almost) Entirely True Story of the World Series of Poker,” by Jonathan Grotenstein and Storms Reback