WSOP Poker Legends, Amarillo Slim

Tom Preston, aka Amarillo Slim remains in the same genre as Binion, Brunson and Moss – the original hustlers of United States of America. Like Moss and Binion, Slim had plenty of scrapes with both the law and some remarkably shady characters, but he etched his name into the annals of folk lore and poker history by winning the elite Main Event of the 1972 WSOP.

Slim used his World Series of Poker triumph as a means to stardom and within weeks of his famous win at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas he appeared in a number of television and radio talk shows. His popularity and exposure grew and he was soon regarded as one of the true icons of America and professional poker.

Slim the Hustler

Born in the late 1920’s Preston spent most of his youth in Amarillo, Texas and this, together with his slim physique, was the origin of his unusual nickname. He became an inveterate hustler and soon joined Doyle Brunson and Brian Roberts in a nation-wide quest for lucrative card games, or any games for that matter, as long as they were profitable. The trio proved remarkably successful and with the slow demise of illicit poker games they followed the scent of the dollar and headed for the casinos and card rooms of Las Vegas.

Slim soon became a very close friend of Benny Binion and in 1972 was lured to the Horseshoe for the annual poker championship. He won the main event in fine style and followed up his maiden win with three more WSOP bracelets over time, two of which were for Pot Limit Omaha

A decade later Amarillo Slim hosted the Second Annual Poker Classic, a tournament just behind the WSOP in importance. It proved to be a major success and under a new title, the Super Bowl of Poker, it continued right up until 1990.


Slim has had his fair share of controversies – whilst in Colombia on poker business he was kidnapped by henchmen loyal to drug lord, Pablo Escobar but was soon released in a reported case of mistaken identity! Arguably the one incident in his life that has caused the most negative publicity is his indictment on three charges of indecency with his granddaughter. These charges were later changed to assault and he was fined $4000 and received two years probation.

Amarillo’s WSOP Bracelets

  • 1972 – $10 000 No Limit Holdem World Championship – $60 000
  • 1974 – $1000 No Limit Holdem – $11 100
  • 1985 – $5000 Pot Limit Omaha – $85 000
  • 1990 – $5000 Pot Limit Omaha – $142 000