Eric Drache and Brian “Sailor” Roberts will become the 43rd and 44th individuals to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. The two were nominated by the public and voted in by a 36-person panel made up of existing Poker Hall of Famers and members of the media.
Drache and Roberts will be inducted officially on Tuesday, October 30 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas prior to the finale of the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event.
Roberts, who passed away in 1995, was part of poker’s old guard of Texas Road Gamblers along with fellow Hall of Famers Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim.
Drache has contributed in a variety of ways to the game of poker over the past 30 years – including originally coming up with the idea to create the Poker Hall of Fame. But his legacy likely will be the creation of “satellite” events – a series of smaller buy-in events that instead of awarding money, award seats into larger buy-in events.
“I’m not only surprised and honoured to have been selected, I’m also a bit embarrassed considering the other nominees,” the humble Drache said.
“When Jack Binion and myself worked on creating the Hall of Fame, I never considered myself a potential candidate. I’m particularly happy for the family of Sailor Roberts. Sailor by everyone’s account, including my own personal observations, was a great player and played many games very well.”
Current Hall of Famer Crandell Addington on behalf of Sailor Roberts: “In a time 50 years ago when poker players relied on luck, Sailor was developing sophisticated strategies that would enable him to make his own luck,” Addington said.
“At a time in which professional poker players were viewed as outlaws and poker was illegal, he formed a partnership with Doyle and Slim and they travelled across the country from poker game to poker game. They deployed advanced strategies unknown at the time that featured playing their opponents hands on many occasions rather than their own hands. More often than not, they got the money.”
An accomplished Seven-Card Stud player, Drache made five WSOP final tables over the course of his career, finishing in the top three every time. In addition to a poker playing career spanning more than three decades, Drache also left his mark on the WSOP by serving as the event’s tournament director from 1973-1988.
During that time, Drache came up with the concept of satellite events, forever changing the tournament poker landscape. In his role as the card room manager of casinos like Silverbird, Mirage, and the Golden Nugget, he also helped to build up the Las Vegas poker scene. Most recently, Drache had a hand in the television poker boom, serving as a consultant on numerous poker productions.
To anyone who knew him, Brian “Sailor” Roberts was truly one of the ‘good guys’ of the game. Along with his poker skill, Roberts’ wit, charm and reputable integrity served him well in cementing his place as one of poker’s legends.
A gambler at his very core, the 1975 WSOP Main Event champion grew up in the small town of San Angelo, TX where at age 12 he made his first winnings shooting dice while working as a caddie.
After serving in the Navy during the Korean War, Roberts returned home to Texas, where he met Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim. The three travelled throughout the south and Midwest in search of poker games and became known as the famous “Texas Rounders,” whose exploits have been romanticized over the years in both film and literature.
A pillar of poker’s old guard, Roberts was beloved by his fellow gamblers. The two-time WSOP champion also finished eighth in the 1982 WSOP Main Event won by fellow Hall of Famer Jack “Treetop” Strauss. Roberts passed away in 1995.
About the Poker Hall of Fame: Established in 1979, the Poker Hall of Fame was acquired by Harrah’s Entertainment along with the World Series of Poker in 2004. Though the Hall of Fame is virtual in nature, its membership includes poker’s most influential players and other important contributors to the game. There are now 19 living members, and 44 members have been bestowed the honour of Poker Hall of Famer. The Poker Hall of Fame traditionally elects one or two members annually. The enshrinement ceremony is now held in concert with the final table of the Main Event of the WSOP.
• Additional reporting, wsop.com