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Poker world mourns friend Jerry Buss

19 Feb 2013

By Howard Stutz
LAS VEGAS -- The death of Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss was felt not only in the sports world, but within the poker community.

Buss, who died Monday at 80, was an active poker player in Las Vegas, especially at the World Series of Poker, where he was a participant for decades.

Buss had four career cashes at the World Series of Poker, including a third-place finish in 1991 in a seven-card stud limit event. His total earnings at the WSOP came to $45,926.

In 2011 Buss played in 22 events, World Series of Poker spokesman Seth Palansky said.

In a statement, he said players enjoyed interacting with Buss.

"Jerry epitomizes what makes the game of poker so great," Palansky said. "Everyone is on equal footing when you enter a poker tournament. And Jerry Buss acted and carried himself as a dignified gentleman throughout."

According to, Buss played in big-money cash games in California and appeared on the television show "High Stakes Poker." The website reposted a 2011 podcast interview with Buss.

Buss told ESPN in 2010 that he thought about playing poker professionally.

"Whether I can earn a living at it is questionable," Buss said. "I can't think of too many things I can do as easily as that and be competitive at my age."

Poker Royalty CEO Brian Balsbaugh said on Twitter he negotiated several promotional deals for Buss to wear advertising logo patches during televised tournaments. But the money was given to charity.

Poker players took to Twitter with fond memories of Buss.

Eric Mizrachi tweeted a photo of himself with Buss taken at a tournament. Wrote Mizrachi, "Jerry Buss will be missed in the NBA and poker community. He was a genuine guy. RIP."

Poker player Maria Ho added, "RIP Dr. Jerry Buss. He was always a shining example of humility, kindness and generosity to those who knew him."

Thirteen-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth Jr. said he never heard Buss say anything negative about another poker player.

"Jerry was a great limit hold'em player and he held his own against the best players in the world," Hellmuth wrote on Twitter. "Jerry, I will miss you, my friend."

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