Poker is a game that is always looking forward, but sometimes it is right to look back. The last 12 months have shown us that no matter how big the player, how effusive the personality, how gargantuan the name is, anyone can leave their stack behind permanently as life is so fragile.

We’ve lost several legends in the last year. These are just some of the names we’ll never forget.

Warne Spun Out Aged Just 52

Shane Warne will by no means be remembered as a poker player above anything else, but this is purely because he revolutionized a sport during this life on Earth. The Australian spin bowler, who died aged just 52 years old in Thailand after a suspected heart attack, was looking to get ‘shredded’ in a latest fitness drive when his huge heart gave up.

Warne’s sudden death shocked the poker world, of which he was a frequent part, including a period where he represented 888poker in some style. Like his life at the crease, Warne’s poker journey was interrupted by bouts of euphoria and then dips in form, but his class remained permanent.

The loss of other peripheral poker figures such as Louie Anderson, the comedian who once played under the PokerStars banner as well as Warne’s fellow Australian and Poker Nerve founder Kelvin Beattie also shocked the poker world. Anderson was just 68 years old, succumbing to cancer, the same disease that took Paul Strom and Beattie, who battled the disease for 10 months before his tragic passing.

Circuit Regulars Pass Away

The WSOP Circuit Ring winner Moe Moeini died in shocking circumstances, as he was shot dead in a killing spree in Mississippi in April. Having previously won the 2014 WSOP Circuit Main Event in Biloxi for over $106,000, Moeini’s death stunned the poker world, as the jovial and much-loved poker player was in the wrong place at the wrong time, the victim of a shooter who killed two others at the Broadway Inn Express Motel.

With lifetime winnings of over half a million dollars, Moeini will be hugely missed, and he’s not the only one. Former poker pro and Czech poker legend Jan Suchanek died in September having won over a million in tournament cashes alone according to The Hendon Mob. Suchanek suffered stomach complaints and died soon after, with the popular player disappearing from view in cruel circumstances for his many friends.

Another who was taken too soon was the former poker pro Todd Terry. The former attorney converted from the world of law to poker with consummate ease and won over $2.4 million in ranking tournaments alone. A runner-up at the Borgata Winter Open for over $434,000, Terry’s poker career included a WSOP Circuit Ring victory in 2006 and died after a long battle with FTD, Frontotemporal Dementia, at the age of just 48.

Pete the Greek’s Passing Mourned

One player who will be sorely missed in 2023 is Pete Vilandos, known throughout the game as ‘Pete the Greek’ . Vilandos won three WSOP bracelets in a glittering career, passing away at the age of 82 in 2022. The true depiction of an immigrant self-made into a success, Vilandos was born during the Second World War in Greece, arriving in 1967 on American soil with a dream.

Graduating with a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Houston, Vilandos won over $3.2 million at poker and over $2.5 million of those winnings came in World Series of Poker events, as the series he truly loved became something of a mutual love affair that spanned the latter years of his life.

As we look to the future of poker, it is worth pausing for a moment to remember those we leave behind who helped make the path so much brighter, and with the passing of these poker legends, as well as other enthusiasts such as UFC Fighter and passionate poker player Elias Theodorou, remind us how lucky any of us are to be in a seat at the felt.

 

 

Dave Consolazio

Dave Consolazio has been passionate about writing and sports journalism since his high school years. He has a degree in Broadcast Journalism from USC where he worked with the school's radio and television stations. His work has been featured in SportsbookReview, Sports Illustrated and SB Nation. Dave's experience ranges across multiple fields in the gambling industry. You can find his sports, casino, and poker articles in GambleOnline.co.

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