Born Thomas Austin Preston, Jr. in Johnson, Arkansas in 1928, Amarillo Slim is known by some as “the greatest poker player ever”. One of the most colorful legends of the game, Slim has the reputation of putting poker on the map and bringing respectability to the game. At the age of 16, he first became famous as the youngest World Billiards Champion. He worked for the USO and flew all over the world entertaining American soldiers abroad.
After beginnig to play poker at the age of 25, Slim would go on to win the World Series of Poker in 1972. Twenty years later, he was elected into the Poker Hall of Fame. He has four World Series of Poker bracelets and came in second place at the 2001 World No Limit Heads Up Championship.
In addition to his success at the poker table, Slim maybe best known for the crazy “proposition” bets he’s won – including playing one-pocket pool with Minnesota Fats using a broom handle, golf with Evil Knievel using a carpenter’s hammer, ping-pong with Bobby Riggs using an iron skillet, beating Larry Flynt at poker for $2,000,000, and beating Willie Nelson for $300,000 playing dominoes. He has also played poker with presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, and drug lords Pablo Escobar and Jimmy Chagra.
Now 70 years old, Slim resides in Amarillo, Texas with his wife. Though not playing much poker these days, Slim stays busy golfing, quail hunting, and going to sporting events. He has his own golf course in his back yard, along with a professional tennis court and a king-sized swimming pool.
A true celebrity, Slim has appeared on the Tonight Show more than eleven times. He is one of the most quoted gamblers of all time and seemingly has a one-liner for everything. Slim’s biography – Amarillo Slim in a World Full of Fat People – is currently available at bookstores. There has also been talk of a cinematic adaptation of the book. Nicolas Cage is rumored to star in and produce the film.