Bill Smith (poker player)

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Bill Smith
Born (1934-03-14)March 14, 1934
Roswell, New Mexico, United States
Died February 28, 1996(1996-02-28) (aged 61)
Nevada, United States
World Series of Poker
Bracelet(s) 1
Money finish(es) 3
Highest ITM
Main Event finish
Winner, 1985

Bill Smith (March 14, 1934 – February 28, 1996)[1] was a professional poker player who won the 1985 World Series of Poker Main Event.

Poker career[edit]

Smith was a staple at the World Series of Poker during the 1980s. He was involved in three final tables of the Main Event. At the 1981 and 1986 WSOP Smith placed fifth, but at the 1985 World Series of Poker he won the bracelet, and $700,000. His total tournament winnings exceeded $1,050,000.[2] His three cashes at the WSOP accounted for $788,800 of his lifetime winnings.[3]

Smith would often play professional poker tournaments drunk. By all accounts, he was an alcoholic.[4][5]

According to fellow poker player T. J. Cloutier, Smith did not play well when he was sober or totally drunk. “Bill was the tightest player you'd ever played in your life when he was sober. And when he was halfway drunk, he was the best player I'd ever played with. No one could read opponents’ hands better than half- drunk Smith. But when he got past that halfway mark, he was the worst player I'd ever played with.” [6]

The year Smith won the Main Event, he entered the final day's play sober and just sat there while he warmed up. After he started drinking, he accumulated a huge pile of chips by well-timed aggressive play. He had so many chips once he was totally drunk that good luck led him to victory.[7]

World Series of Poker Bracelets[edit]

Year Tournament Prize (US$)
1985 $10,000 No Limit Hold'em World Championship $700,000


Smith died in 1996.