Amarillo Slim

Thomas Austin Preston, better known as "Amarillo Slim", is probably one of the best-known poker players in the world.

Born in Arkansas in 1928, Preston began his gambling career as a pool hustler and then as a rounder (a traveller in search of high-stakes poker games), touring the West Coast of the United States together with Doyle Brunson and Sailor Roberts. During this time, it’s rumoured that he won hundreds of thousands of dollars in high-stakes games.

It was only after buying a ranch in Amarillo, Texas with his winnings that Preston took on the name "Amarillo Slim."

After starting to join professional poker tournaments, Amarillo Slim befriended many of the top Las Vegas players, including Berry Binion, owner of the Binion’s Horseshoe where the World Series of Poker is played.

In 1972, Amarillo Slim won the World Series of Poker, earning $60,000.

Unlike many other poker champions, Amarillo Slim is far from camera shy. After his 1972 win, he launched himself into a major publicity run. Famous for his flamboyant personality, has appeared on The Tonight Show a total of 11 times, and has made a host of other TV and radio appearances. His popularity – and the popularity of poker – has increased as a result.

In 1980, Amarillo Slim organized the Super Bowl of Poker, then known as the Second Annual Poker Classic, which remained the second-largest poker tournament (after the World Series) for several years. Stu Ungar won the Super Bowl a total of three times – more than any other player.

In 2003, Slim published the autobiography Amarillo Slim in a World Full of Fat People. In his book, he wrote about playing poker with the likes of Larry Flynt, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon.

Amarillo Slim currently lives in Amarillo, Texas. He continues to play poker but has not competed in major Las Vegas tournaments in recent years. 

World Series of Poker Bracelets

Year

Tournament

Prize (US$)

1972

$10,000 No Limit Hold’em World Championship

$60,000

1974

$1,000 No Limit Hold’em

$11,100

1985

$5,000 Pot Limit Omaha

$85,000

1990

$5,000 Pot Limit Omaha

$142,000