Poker Legend Crandell Addington Dies, Age 85


Posted on: April 19, 2024, 05:40h. 

Last updated on: April 19, 2024, 05:41h.

“Limit poker is a science, but no-limit is an art. In limit, you’re shooting at a target. In no-limit, the target comes alive and shoots back at you.”

Crandell Addington, poker, obituary
Crandell Addington, center in Stetson, competes with the late, great Doyle Brunson to his right in an early World Series of Poker event. (Image: Ulvis Alberts)

So said former Texas road gambler and Poker Hall of Famer Crandell Addington, who died last week, age 85. And he should know – until he retired from poker in the 1980s to devote his time to the oil and biotech industries, he was considered to be one of the best no limit hold’em players in the world.

Known as “the Dandy” because of his love of well-tailored suits (he sometimes changed clothes three times a day), Addington was one of the founders of the World Series of Poker.

First WSOP

In 1969, he won the Texas Gamblers Convention tournament in Reno, Nev., which was the forerunner of the World Series. The following year, the event was reincarnated at Binion’s Horseshoe in Las Vegas and given the name we know it by today.

Addington made the final table of the WSOP Main Event almost every year from 1972 to 1979. To this day, he holds the record for the most final table appearances – seven – although it must be said that the fields were somewhat smaller in Addington’s heyday.

Road Gambler

Previously, he had been a Texas road gambler, traveling the sometimes-perilous underground poker circuit of his home state.

We did have weapons,” he said when he was invited to address students at Harvard University in 2007. “It was not really to use on each other. What we really wanted to be able to do was, if we won, we wanted to be able to get back to the car with the money. And so, not only did we have to beat a lot of really good players, but we had to dodge the hijackers and often times the sheriff of the county.”

Addington applied some of the strategies he learned at the poker table to business, when, in the 1980s he went looking for black gold in Texas. He built a successful oil business and later branched out into biotech, co-founding Phoenix Biotechnology in 2003, which develops plant-based medicines for treating human and animal diseases.

Addington was chairman and CEO of Phoenix until he was forced to retire because of ill health.

He supported many good causes in his life, animal charities in particular. He requested that his ashes be scattered among those of the many pets he had outlived, including his beloved black lab, Miss Joey, according to an obituary posted on

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