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Poker Legend Thomas Preston Jr. Passes Away

Thomas "Amarillo Slim" Preston Jr. will be remembered for many things, among them will be a passion for playing the game of poker at a high level. Preston died on Sunday in hospice care, succumbing to colon cancer at the age of 83.

Preston is best known for his pool playing days, where he picked up the nickname of Amarillo Slim. His billiards tales include playing the legendary Minnesota Fats with a broom stick. Preston also made his mark in other areas such as ping pong and poker. He has self-proclaimed himself as the "World's Best Gambler," a statement that not many have been able to disprove over the years.

Preston's most celebrated moment in poker came in the 1972 World Series of Poker. Preston won at the WSOP at a time when the poker series was in danger of falling out of favor with players. His win is considered by many to be the defining moment in WSOP{ history, propelling the series to the International fame that it enjoys today.

"He was playing poker until the very, very end," said Bunky Preston, the elder Preston's son. "He was one of the world's most interesting men."

Preston's life, however, was not all to be celebrated. In 2004 Preston was convicted on misdemeanor charges of assault causing bodily injury. Preston later said that he only carried through with the plea bargain in the case to avoid having to see his family be publicly embarrassed. Preston and his attorney both have said later that he would have beaten the case had it gone to trial.

"It would have been easy for me (to win)," said Preston. "But I didn't want my family dragged through a trial and being made my enemy in the court. I didn't want my 12 year-old granddaughter to have to take the stand."

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