Legendary gambler ‘Lefty’ Schaefer, who won World Series of Poker titles at Wild Horse, passes at age 62

Dennis “Lefty” Schaefer represented the “Golden Age” of professional poker, and brought the famed Omaha High Roller-style tables that began to take root in Las Vegas in the 1970s to tournaments at the Silver Dollar and Wild Horse casinos in 1977. But Mr. Schaefer, who won $13.6 million at the 1978 World Series of Poker, died in 1999 at the age of 62. In his retirement, he gave away the profits he earned from playing poker to charities that helped fund mental health programs for children.

The Financial Times profiles the ex-professional gambler, whose next big payday was a $2.1 million jackpot at the renowned 1776 Poker Invitational, one of the longest running tournaments in Las Vegas. After seven years of his nomadic existence making a living by playing poker “in locales as varied as Hawaii, India, Canada and Africa,” Mr. Schaefer decided to invest his winnings in three hotels in Las Vegas. (Mr. Schaefer also made millions of dollars by being a former regular on the 1960s reality show “Poker Stars.”) He bought two major dealers’ clubs (Guinness Penitentiary, Victoria Jail and the Desert Inn, which were among his winning casinos) to build “poker and roulette entertainment centers.”

Read the full story at The Financial Times.


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