The 40th Annual World Series of Poker is only weeks away. Between now and the start of the Main Event BluffMagazine.com will be presenting the 40 Greatest Champions in WSOP history exclusively on WorldSeriesofPoker.com.
Jack Strauss finds himself on the list as a two-time bracelet winner and the 1982 WSOP Main Event Champion. His win took the most unlikely of routes and gave the game one of its long standing clichés. Early in the tournament Strauss had pushed what he thought was all of his chips into the pot. His opponent called and won the hand. As he was getting up to leave he noticed he had one single $500 chip hidden under a napkin, since he never said “All in” the chip was still in play. With that one chip he went on to win the Main Event giving the phrase “a chip and a chair.”
Strauss stood an imposing six feet six inches tall which earned him the nickname “Tree Top.” He won his second bracelet in a Deuce to Seven Lowball in 1973. Strauss also made the final table of the Main Event three times
Another addition Strauss made for poker lore was what has become one of the best bluffs in history. He was on a rush winning a few large pots in a row and decided that he was going to play his next hand strong no matter what two cards he was dealt. He looked down at 7-2, the worst starting in Hold ‘Em, he opened with a raise and was called by one player. The flop came 7-3-3 and he fired a bet. The player made a large raise, but Strauss decided to call in order to bluff on the turn. A deuce came on the turn and Strauss led out with a huge bet; his opponent tanked for several minutes. Strauss told his opponent that for $25 he could pick one of Strauss’ cards and have it exposed. He tossed Strauss a chip and picked the deuce. Figuring that the only way Straus could do something like was if he had pocket twos giving him a full house.
Strauss lived the ultimate gambler’s life, and unfortunately, in death. He passed away while playing in the Bicycle Casino in 1988. He was posthumously inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame later that year.