The poker world is sadly getting used to losing treasured members of its fraternity in recent times.
With the sad passing of WPT legend and partypoker Chairman Mike Sexton earlier this year, the World Poker Tour family lost another member of its team in Keith Kozar, the tour’s resident statistician. This week also saw the passing of a controversial figure in the poker world and someone who lived his life like he played his poker – pushing for victory.
Sam Grizzle cashed for $1.3 million over his lifetime at the live felt and is credited by many as one of the pioneers of poker at the TV table, with many of his early appearances taking place on screen. Grizzle lives up to his name in some quarters, likely to take an angle where he saw it according to some and more than a divisive figure to some including record 15-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth.
Perhaps Grizzle’s most infamous bust-up with Hellmuth was one that came before the ‘Moneymaker Effect’ kicked poker’s popularity sky-high. The two men allegedly came to physical blows and Grizzle’s temperament was not famed for being the longest. In another hand, this time against poker pro Shannon Shorr, Shorr three-bet Grizzle three hands in a row which prompted the line from Grizzle: “What is this? Revenge of the nerds?”
While Grizzle was a successful player over the course of his career, those live tournament winnings weren’t punctuated with any six or seven figure scores. Grizzle’s best live cash remained the $70,400 he banked for a win at the 1991 Annual Jim Brady Lowball event.
Grizzle, however, wasn’t only a live player and had recently played plenty of WSOP events online. Incredibly, at least according to Mike Matusow, who revealed the lobby screenshot on Twitter, Grizzle was chip leader in the final online event he played when he suffered a fatal stroke and brain aneurysm.
Just a week shy of his 68th birthday, Sam Grizzle was blinded out of chips as he passed away. He’d have – appropriately perhaps – been livid at the very thought of that.