2020 has been a hard year for people in all walks of life, as many have had to cope with a slew of unfortunate circumstances. In such a year as this, the loss of a pillar of any community or industry hits even harder.
It against this backdrop that the sudden death of poker legend Sam Grizzle has shocked people in the poker community.
A Legend Passes On
The 67-year-old Grizzle apparently died of complications from a sudden massive stroke, as announced by his family on Wednesday, October 21st, 2020. Speaking further on the issue, Todd Brunson, an accomplished player in his own right and close family friend, gave more details on the entire set of circumstances surrounding his passing.
Brunson confirmed that earlier last week, Grizzle had suffered a massive stroke that immediately sent him into the ICU. As the situation worsened, he entered into a coma. Doctors told the family that he had suffered considerable brain damage and, as such, had slim chances of waking up. The family elected to take Grizzle off of life support shortly after.
The Man and His Unique Game
Sam Grizzle will always be known as one of the first truly exceptional players from televised poker’s early days.
Despite having played professionally since the 1980s, his emergence onto the mainstream national poker scene happened at the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event. The self-named “poker brat” took center stage and starred in the competition.
Grizzle has a unique poker playing style that was characterized by an unwavering poker face and his signature brashness at the table.
As Todd Brunson said, “Love him or hate him there’s no denying Sam Grizzle was one of the most colorful characters in the poker world. A stark contrast to many of the ‘robots’ of today’s game. We are worse off without his sometimes annoying but usually hilarious witty lines.”
An Accomplished Career
Looking back at his career and up till his death, Sam Grizzle’s greatness is also manifest in his outstanding tournament result ledger. With a career spanning more than 35 years, he managed more than $1.3 million in total prize money.
Befittingly, his biggest win came a few months before his passing. At the WSOP.com part of this summer’s bracelet series, he finished third in the $600 No-Limit Hold’em MonsterStack, winning $77,725.
No one knows the future. But this turn of event has many thinking that perhaps, that last big win meant that old Sam wasn’t yet done with the world of poker, and could have given fans much more over the coming years.
According to Phil Hellmuth, his long-time friend and rival, “Sam was quite clever, and 80% of the time he was the funniest guy in the room. He had a super dry sense of humor, and went at the other players with all of his considerable full force! I appreciated the cleverness. When you played poker with Sam, you ended up doing a lot of laughing!”
Sam Grizzle will be remembered for his sheer dedication to the craft, a brilliant sense of humor, and his unique way with words.